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I’ve been writing a comprehensive book on personality disorders with an emphasis on NPD.  I’m not a psychiatrist but I know someone who IS psychiatrist in real-life and who specializes in personality disorders.  He has agreed to review this book prior to publication for accuracy of information.  I’m also going to request that he write a forward for it.

This book  will define the term personality disorder, it will provide all the DSM-IV (cited) criteria for NPD, with real-world descriptions of each criteria.  Each criterion will probably be a chapter unto itself, since there is such a massive amount of accurate anecdotal material available.

I will also include chapters on Borderline Personality Disorder since that disorder has so many crossover traits with NPD.  Depending upon how long the NPD book is (I’d like to keep it at 300 pages!) I may have to write another on BPD.   These books are being written with the purpose of helping others recognize these disorders and understand what they can do to better their situations if involved in any way with someone who is one of these disorders.

Please remember that individuals who meet the criteria for NPD and BPD don’t “have” the disorder, they ARE the disorder.  Why?  It’s simple.  To have something implies that one can NOT have it.  For an NPD, the realization that they are a disorder will never come, so they don’t “have” the disorder, they ARE the disorder.  For a BPD, there’s a shred of hope, but in most cases, they, too, do not realize that anything is wrong with them, thus they don’t “have” the disorder, they ARE the disorder.

You will learn methods for recognizing those who are potentially NPD or BPD on the first date, but more importantly you will learn an accurate method for analyzing online dating profiles to determine whether the writer is NPD.  It’s a little more difficult to extrapolate BPD from a dating profile and not always accurate, so I won’t provide that.

The book will also contain a compassionate and common-sense guide to rebuilding emotional health during the aftermath of interacting with an NPD (remember, they don’t have relationships!) and it will provide cited research into the developmental phases of a child who grows up to be an NPD adult.  This will provide a glimpse into the why of an NPD and it will allow you to feel compassion for them, while understanding that pity is wasted and it will also allow you to learn your best method for detaching and distancing – for good.

Additionally, there will be anecdotal information based on my personal experiences, interviews with others who have had similar experiences and between each chapter there will be lined pages for you to make notes if you choose to print the book.  The book will be in PDF format and will be read-only, and you will not be able to do a “save-as” so you can make electronic notes.  Allowing that capability is dangerous for an author.

Please note, since this will be my material, garnered from many long  hours of research, and then the effort put forth to write a book that resonates with truth, REAL help and guidance, it will be copyrighted as my material.  If I provide this book and someone wants to use pieces of it in their own work, they will need permission to use it and any portions of it that are used must be cited (as I am doing with all my research.)  I want to help others, and in doing so, I also want to help myself.  If there is enough interest in this as an e-book, when I am finished writing it, I will post it here as a downloadable book at a price of $9.95  for 30 days prior to allowing my publisher to release it (at a much higher price!)

Vote now!

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Another From Search Terms: Does a Narcissist Know They Treat People Badly?

Yes and no.  How’s that for a contradiction?

A narcissist believes they are good.  They have conditioned themselves to believe that they are ALL good and have no character flaws.  They believe anyone who questions their “goodness” is bad.  They believe, from conditioning, that those who are “bad” must be punished.

So, do they know they treat people badly?  I’d say, that deep down, in that place where they have their emotionally arrested selves hidden, they know.  This will never come to light. Not an inkling of it will be allowed out of the locked drawer where the Narcissist keeps everything he sees as a poor reflection of himself.

If a Narcissist apologizes to you for treating you badly, you’d better read the fine print, which isn’t immediately visible because it is contained between the lines.  Mine did it thus:  (bold and italics are mine)

“I apologize if I hurt your feelings, but you know this is how I am and if you take it personally, that’s your fault.  If I do it again, tell me and I’ll apologize, but know that it’s just how I am and that I will do it again.”  

See what he’s done?  First he declines to admit that he actually DID hurt my feelings.  He states “if.”  This is typical of an NPD.  They’re not going to admit to hurting anyone’s feelings, so they use a qualifier that absolves them of blame and places all blame on you.  What this man said to me in that first sentence is this:  “I’m not apologizing for anything.  The entire issue is immaterial.”

Next, he absolves himself of accountability for his actions by stating “you know this is how I am.”  Because I “knew” this was how he was, I was then simply supposed to accept it, smile, and shrug it off by telling myself:  “oh, that’s just how he is. He didn’t mean anything by it.”  I’m not supposed to feel anything but loving acceptance of his little quirks and because (since he’s already told me this in his apology) he’s accepted “how” he is, then something’s wrong with me that I don’t accept it.  I’m supposed to actually support and encourage his unacceptable behavior, because after all, HE accepts it and encourages it within himself because he sees nothing wrong with it.

After that he tells me it’s MY FAULT my feelings got hurt and it’s my fault because I found “how he is” unacceptable.”  THIS little bit of information will be stored away for future use against me.  A Narcissist won’t tolerate anyone finding anything about them unacceptable.

Let me tell you, this piece of it came out about a month later in a long-winded nasty diatribe where he tells me how horrible I am, how undesirable I am as a partner, and that he doesn’t have “romantic feelings” toward me because I’ve “evinced dissatisfaction” with him.  Poor boy.  Oh dear.  See – this is classic NPD.

What I didn’t know at the time is this:

1.  He’s NPD

2.  NPDs don’t HAVE romantic feelings.

3.  I wasn’t in a relationship.

4.  All the stuff I saw in him that I thought was so wonderful was simply him reflecting MYSELF back to me.  He stole my compassion, empathy and any trait he thought was good and could be used to make himself look good and he reflected it back to me.

5.  At the point where his hyper-sensitive, as-seen-on-TV, get-it-now-for-the-low-low-price-of-$19.99-but-wait-if-you-order-in-the-next-10-minutes-you’ll-get a-second-one-free Little Orphan Annie Imaginary Criticism Decoder Ring  scrambled my communications he pulled out every bit of information his LOAICDR had given him, and using the companion LOAICDR Translation Tool for Narcissists, the free gift that came with the rings if you ordered within the next ten minutes he decoded a message that said “My feelings are hurt” to mean “You are a bad person, you’re stupid, worthless, and will never amount to anything.”  You see,  the LOAICDR is extremely sensitive and the companion Translation Tool for Narcissists has only one translation for anything that’s perceived as criticism. That translation is compatible with all the emotional abuse heaped on the Narcissist prior to age 6.

6.  The Translation Tool for Narcissists does provide instructions for keeping this from happening again, which is to immediately spin the situation, deny accountability and project blame for any and all hurt on the victim.  It then tells the Narcissist to react with vicious devaluation of the victim before the victim has time to sort through all the Narcissist-speak.  It instructs the Narcissist to stomp the victim into submission and do it HARD and if that doesn’t work, to simply throw the victim in the trash and go get a new one.   But I digress.  Let’s get back to the deconstruction of my N’s “apology.”

Then he says:  “If I do it again” meaning that there’s doubt he did it in the first place.  He says to tell him “if” he does it again and he’ll apologize, and then qualifies that with the justification (completely rational to him) that it’s just “how” he is, and then he goes on to tell me he WILL do it again.

It’s classic Narcissist gaslighting.  It’s classic Narcissist-speak for: “You’re crazy, I’m not.  You’re bad, I’m good.  You’re worthless, I’m omnipotent.”

Anyone besides me see an issue with this “apology?”   I hope so.

A Narcissist will defend his or her right to treat you badly, and they will do it using a rationale that is only logical to them.  When a non NPD hears the narcissist explaining WHY he or she did what they did, it will ALWAYS come out as an action they could not control because you MADE them do it.  You won’t have time to process it because it will be followed up with more vitriol.  Remember this:  Every horrible thing a Narcissist does or says to you is a projection of what he KNOWS to be true about himself.  It has nothing to do with you, it is not true about you, and the Narcissist has to convince you that it IS true about you, particularly if you are their only source of supply at the time.  They are desperate to stomp you into a submissive little mirror. 

A Narcissist does not own his or her actions.  If they did, there would be no narcissists.

If you are being treated badly by a Narcissist, the odds are very good that you’re to blame.  Didn’t you know that?  (read sarcasm, please).

If you are being treated badly by a Narcissist (not IF – WHEN) it is because you did not reflect appropriately to them.

When you are being devalued by a Narcissist it is NOT your fault.  It is simply because the Narcissist does not view you as anything other than an object with an expiration date.

If you stay with a Narcissist, beyond the point where you realize what’s going on, you will continue to be treated badly, and then it really WILL be your fault, because you made a choice to stay. 

If you stay with a Narcissist thinking you can fix them, you are DELUDED. Get help NOW.

If you stay with a Narcissist because after you had a deep, heart-felt conversation with them, and things got better, you’d better be prepared for an emotional nuclear warhead to plow through you.

Narcissists don’t HAVE “deep, heart-felt conversations.”  They let YOU talk, and they make assenting noises if they’re at the point where they realize they’re about to lose their current supply and they don’t have any other supply lined up.

So – clear as mud?  A Narcissist is a walking contradiction.

 

 

Search Term: Narcissists Aren’t Bad

I saw the search term: “narcissists aren’t bad” in my search engine stats just now.  For anyone who wants to know whether a Narcissist is bad, I’ve written enough here about it to let you know.  🙂

That said:  Narcissists aren’t bad people, they are people who do bad things.  There is a difference.   The school of thought to which I subscribe, because I believe it most accurately presents NPD as we encounter it most, is the one that says a narcissist is an individual whose emotional growth ended between age 6 and 7.

This age has commonly been known as the “age of reason.” It is the age, in most cultures, where a human child is believed to be emotionally developed to the point where he or she is capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong, and is capable of acting upon those differences, regardless their choice of action.

By the time an NPD individual reaches this age, he or she has assimilated emotional (and sometimes physical) abuse into themselves.  They have integrated it into their own personality and for purposes of personal survival, have created clear lines of demarcation for good and bad within themselves.  Generally, they will have been born to, and raised by, at least one NPD parent, if not two.  If they have one NPD parent, the odds are very good the other parent is steeped in the emotional trauma wrought by a narcissist and is not capable of protecting the child because the non-NPD parent is too busy attempting to protect themselves.

The child witnesses this emotional war and defines for him or herself, based upon what they observe and are told, the best method to protect themselves from further hurt.  This protection comes in the form of creating an alter-ego that, within the confines of their own minds, becomes themselves.  This alter-ego is all-good, all-powerful, all-knowing, and many times simply omnipotent.  The child creates an alter-ego that allows them to be God, thus giving them the illusion of control, at least within themselves.

This alter-ego is not to be confused with multiple personalities or schizophrenia.  It is simply a coping mechanism whereby the child, who, at this point has been filled with the terror and humiliation of unrelenting emotional abuse, manages to construct, in his or her childish mind, what they believe they should be based upon what they’ve been told they really are.

Emotional abuse is contradictory.  The child of an NPD may be told one day that they are the sun, stars and moon and that their N parent believes them to be special in a sense that no other child is special.  The child internalizes this.  It goes in the “good” drawer.  The next day, the N parent contradicts what was said the day before and tells the child he or she is stupid, clumsy, and compares the child to the the sibling of favor for that day.  You know the routine:  “Why can’t you be like so-and s0?  So-and-so isn’t stupid.  So-and-so got an A in arithmetic.  So why didn’t you get an A?”

The child internalizes this.  This goes in the “bad” drawer.  The child keeps the “bad” drawer locked as often as possible and only opens it far enough to allow devaluation to slide in and then the drawer is slammed shut and locked.

As the child grows physically, he or she remains at around age 6, emotionally.  An NPD has never learned to integrate the “good” and “bad” into a whole.  This is a crossover trait to Borderline Personality Disorder.  NPD and BPD have many crossover traits, and I’ve found that when the behavior issues are seen in a male, they are termed NPD and when they are seen in a female, they are termed BPD.  This is not always the case, though.  It’s simply what I’ve seen.

Now, think about a six-year-old child.  What is their primary focus?  Their primary focus is themselves.  A normal six-year-old child, raised by emotionally healthy parents will experience emotional growth that corresponds to their age.  A six-year-old child who has a narcissistic parent, and another parent who is too busy attempting to survive the abuse perpetrated upon them by the narcissist, will retain, and further, hold dear, their primary focus, which is on themselves.

The child has constructed an alter-ego who they have come to believe is their “real” self, because at age 6, they subconsciously know that they can’t be as bad as mommy or daddy has said they are.  It is at this point that all the good that might be in that child is sublimated to the alter-ego.  The child grows up believing they ARE their alter-ego.  They also know, but refuse to accept, that the alter-ego is nothing but a construct pulled from what they have perceived to be “good” along the way.  They add to that drawer full of “good” – they add the ability to mimic empathy and compassion, but because they have sublimated their TRUE ability for empathy and compassion, and because the parents have not nurtured this ability, all they have is what amounts to a photograph of it.

So they keep taking photographs.  Enter the mirror.  By the time the child has grown to adulthood, he or she has become very adept at watching others and adding photographs of what they perceive as acceptable behavior to their “good” drawer.  The problem with this is that they stopped developing, emotionally, between ages 6 and 7, so their criteria for good is that which they originally created as a child, and is unreasonable, unhealthy and a total illusion.

These children, who were unloved and abused and who learned to cope through construct, have grown into predatory adults who seek mirrors in the form of other human beings.  They seek love, because it is a driving need for them.  They will never admit it is a need as deep as hunger, but it is what they seek.  Having no foundation for love; no good role model for it, they believe love is defined by all those photographs they have taken of behavior that fits the construct created when they were 6 or 7 years old.

These adults can’t love because whatever love they gave prior to age 6, was repudiated.  Think about a child between the ages of birth to 6.  I can use my own son as an example.  I have never felt more loved or needed in my life, than during those years when my son was between birth and age 6.  At age 6 he began to truly think for himself, to spread his fledgling wings and for those who watched, including me, his behavior was a giddy balance between self-serving action and true remorse when he realized his actions had hurt someone who loved him.

At age 6, my son was learning to assert himself as an individual; he drew from his prior experience with me and his father, and grew in compassion, empathy, and love.  He learned that while he might want always to be the center of attention and so special as singularly “better” than anyone else, that he WAS NOT singularly special, beyond the fact that I thought of him as special only because he was my son,  nor was he always going to be the center of attention.  He learned this was a good thing.

Children of NPD parents do not learn this.  Their journey into adolescence and adulthood is dramatic, traumatic and filled with contradictory information.  By the time they reach adulthood, they have lost the key to their “bad” drawer and their “good” drawer has spawned several more “good” drawers, each filled with a jumbled detritus of what they have deemed, with their six-year-old emotional capacity to be acceptable behavior and character traits.

This is why an NPD is, at first, extremely charming, seemingly compassionate, empathetic and sensitive to your every need.  They are pulling from their “good” drawer those characteristics they have deemed useful to their effort to gain attention.  As they grew, they became more selective.  If they were in a group gathering, they would watch to see which members of their chosen sexual orientation seemed to be having the best time, and then they would watch to see what was causing these people to have such a great time.  They would photograph these behaviors and file them away.

Remember, a photograph is a shutter click in time.  It is not extended reality.  It is merely something that is for a short time.  At this point, an NPD has nothing within themselves to draw upon for normal interaction, because they built their bomb shelter long ago.  Nothing was allowed in that didn’t pass their stringent criteria, because anything that came in had to be something they could recognize as a reflection of what they viewed as “good” in themselves.

Over time, this collection of “good” gets confused.  It is never filed in any order, and it’s never given another thought by the NPD other than as a tool with which they can bring people into their lives.  It’s not a tool that is well-maintained.  It is a tool that is disposable. When it wears out and doesn’t work anymore, the NPD goes in search of more supply.  The “good” drawer is never quite empty because the NPD, like an addict, will see his fix getting low and will become frantic to replenish.

Straight male NPDs will go in search of straight females who exemplify all the qualities they have in their “good” drawer.  Remember, the NPD doesn’t actually have these qualities in himself, he simply has pictures of those qualities, and they are qualities he actually believes are his, not something stolen from various mirrors/prey along his journey to find the perfect mirror.

The qualities the NPD stalks are those qualities that he can only mimic, because in order to sustain the qualities, they have to be an integrated part of the personality.  The NPD stopped integrating anything into his personality at around age 6.

The most dangerous part of all of this is that the prey of an NPD doesn’t know they are prey until they have fallen victim to the NPDs abuse when they stop mirroring what the N wants, and believes he is entitled, to see.

The N believes that all the qualities he sees in his prey are HIS OWN qualities.  Because he sees them as his own qualities, he cannot sustain any form of relationship, as relationships are all about give and take.  They are about compromise and reciprocation.  An NPD does not compromise and he does not reciprocate.  He pretends to those things, for a very short time, because those are qualities he knows nothing about other than having seen them, briefly, in someone he held in esteem for a short period (because that person mirrored his beliefs about himself so well).  As soon as anyone evinces dissatisfaction with the Ns behavior, they are instantly and ruthlessly devalued and discarded.

That’s not the end, though.  The N has programmed himself to destroy anyone or anything that might reflect poorly upon him.  After the first session of D&D, the victim will probably believe she truly DID do something to hurt this wonderful person and will set about attempting to right something that she never did wrong in the first place.  The N will complacently sit back and watch, ever-vigilant for a slip-up.  He will direct the victim’s actions, controlling everything and at the first inkling that the victim might step out of line, the N stomps.  HARD.  The devaluation gets worse, it becomes vicious.  Sometimes it becomes deadly.

Herein lies the truth:  The NPD is not stomping on the victim.  He is stomping on a MIRROR that is reflecting what he  knows and understands to be his true character, and he is destroying it so that he does not have to look at it.  To look at it; to confront it, would mean deconstructing his safe-house; it would mean tearing down all the carefully constructed walls that took decades to build and an NPD does not have it within themselves to do that.  It is not possible.  Some say it is.  My observations show otherwise, but I’m not a psychiatrist.

Narcissists didn’t start out bad.  I don’t believe they are, at a soul level, bad.  I do believe that the young age at which they built their defenses dooms them to behaving badly for their lifetime.

Learning the Truth

Allison, whose blog is Pieces of the Heart, wrote the following as a comment to my post : Narcissists Fold Spindle and Mutilate.  I thought it was worthy of its own post because it is full of the wisdom of experience.

Leaving an abusive and/or narcissistic relationship is difficult and once gone, an individual can many times be presented with an issue that is almost just as difficult to deal with:  that of “outcast mentality.”  Leaving the abusive relationship doesn’t mean the abuse magically vanishes.  It simply diminishes.  It is up to us to make it stop.

I don’t want to write too much here, other than to let you read Allison’s reply to my post.  This is a woman who has chosen her battles and has won or is winning the war.

“Not being accepted after leaving these types of relationships causes greater “outcast” mentality. When I finally pulled up my bootstraps and decided for a better life, it took me a while to really understand that I was not all the things that had been said to me in those non-relationships and by those who judged my decisions. The ONE thing that kept me centered through obstacles and continued abuse, even after I separated myself from it, was seeking a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, my higher power. I learned that I was truly loved, NOT from what someone told me, but from what I understood from a thirst to know. I researched and studied the Bible on my own, so I would know the truth personally.”

This comment could only have been written by someone who has sought the truth of her situations and came to personally know that truth.  Learn the truth so you will know it, personally.

 

Narcissists Fold, Spindle and Mutilate: Where and how to get help

I just read a post entitled  No Longer Dead and I knew immediately what this woman was dealing with based on the first half of her post.  My assumption is that the second half is her, telling herself that she will not accept this individual any longer until or unless he acquiesces to her completely legitimate and emotionally healthy demands.

If this woman has been dealing with an NPD, she was dead to him from the beginning.  She never truly existed as a human being worthy of love, respect, dignity and empathy.  She was simply this person’s mirror.  It appears she spent years being devalued and discarded and then finally got sick of it, found her strength and decided to move on.

This is a good post to read.  Many times, when we are the focus of devaluation by a narcissist, we don’t know what the heck is going on.  All we know is that nothing we do seems to be good enough; everything is our fault; we are crazy.  Nothing is wrong with the narcissist and he or she makes it very clear to us that we are the problem.  Still, when we’re in the middle of it, it’s difficult to step outside the fishbowl and peer in.  Objectivity seems to be the lowest on our list of priorities, with survival of a relationship that never was being our top priority.

Even if you’ve been married to an individual for most of your adult life, if you are being treated the way the woman in No Longer Dead was being treated, you haven’t had a relationship.  A relationship takes two people.  A Narcissist absolves themselves from relationship responsibilities before they engage with another individual.  A narcissist doesn’t have relationships; he or she merely has mirrors.  Even if you’ve been married for 30 years to a narcissist, it sadly means that you’ve been a mirror (and nothing more) for 30 years.

Narcissists can’t love another human being.  They don’t love themselves, even though their surface would indicate that they do love themselves – too much.  Scratch that surface and you find nothing.  Narcissists are fragile shells and to keep their shells intact they abuse before they can be abused.  This is why they are hyper-vigilant for the slightest criticism.  They twist and spin words that they believe might be critical (even if they aren’t) and deliberately make them critical so they can set about stomping the purveyor of those words into submission.

Narcissists are emotional vampires and they have memories like elephants.  Those who share emotions, who show they have emotions, who are compassionate and empathetic, are considered weak to a narcissist, ergo; they are FOOD.  A narcissist will suck you dry, and when you finally realize what’s been going on and stand up to the narcissist in your life, they will pull out every emotion you ever shared with them, twist and spin it and fling it back at you with deadly accuracy.  When they see their mirror has gained strength, thus providing the mirror the means of seeing the narcissist for what it truly is, they will move in for the emotional kill.

There is a point at which you, as a mirror can avoid this emotional kill, if you truly see what’s going on.  It’s a nanosecond in the scope of a 30-year marriage, or a many-years-long “relationship” with a narcissist, but if you see it, and flee when you see it, you will have a slightly diminished time frame during which you have to heal and rebuild your emotional health and strength.  If you don’t see it (and many of us don’t, and no one but you can say when that point is) you will be so emotionally crushed that it may be years before you have the strength to bootstrap yourself out of your situation.

If you are experiencing any of the issues described in the first half of No Longer Dead you MUST take a step back, grab your journal if necessary, and start assessing things.  Just start writing, and don’t worry about how things come out.  This will allow you to re-read and identify what’s truly going on.  If you don’t write, see a counselor.  Talk to a trusted friend.  Get an objective view of your situation.  While you’re doing this ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND THAT A NARCISSIST NEVER CHANGES.  THIS IS NOT A RELATIONSHIP; YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO SAVE YOURSELF, NOT A RELATIONSHIP THAT NEVER WAS. 

I don’t recommend seeing your family pastor or priest.  Why?  A pastor (and especially priests) are trained to keep the marital unit together regardless the circumstances.  If you see a priest you may be told it’s your responsibility (if you’re female) to act in submission with your husband’s will, regardless his will.  Depending upon your denomination, a pastor may tell you the same thing.  Fundamental Christian pastors may tell you (if you’re female) that you’re the one with issues since you’re not acting in accordance with “God’s” will or your husband’s will.  Trust me on this one, I’ve been there.

Most religions don’t recognize personality disorders as an acceptable reason for divorce.  My experience has taught me that when religion enters the picture, it is the woman who pays a huge price when her mate is a narcissist.  If there are children involved, you must get them away from the daily influence of the narcissist or you will have children who grow into damaged adults.

I believe that faith in a higher power is essential.  Many don’t believe that, and I respect their choice. For me, though, if I didn’t have faith in a higher power, I’d never have made it this far in life.   If you don’t have faith in a power greater than yourself, all that’s left to see you through your turmoil is whatever reserve of inner strength you may have.

My best advice for getting free of a narcissist (and you are with a narcissist if  all or most of the first half of No Longer Dead applies to you) is to seek secular help.  Prayer works, regardless your form of worship or faith.  Positive thinking works, but getting there is difficult.   Narcissists have many crossover traits to alcoholism, as well as to Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder.

Even if the narcissist in your life doesn’t drink, that doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t have alcoholic traits.  It’s very easy for someone to believe they are not an alcoholic simply because they don’t drink.  Alcoholism is defined not only by the consumption and need for alcohol, but by a very clear set of behavior patterns and those behavior patterns align with the way I’ve seen narcissists act.

If you are with a narcissist who does not drink, the odds are good you have a dry drunk on your hands.  Al-Anon is a great place to get the help and support you need in dealing with a dry drunk and/or a narcissist.  Please open the link for dry drunk to read the characteristics.  You will see that they align clearly with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

If the narcissist in your life drinks, it’s very important to get help through Al-Anon.  There are meetings everywhere and while some view it as a betrayal to the person with whom they are involved, that is simply misplaced loyalty.  Most of us who wind up with a narcissist in our lives have had prior experience with some form of emotional dysfunction in our lives, probably during childhood, when we are most malleable and taught to accept behaviors that are truly self-damaging.  Regardless your faith, if you believe in a higher power you must ask yourself if your higher power would find your situation acceptable, and would that higher power believe it to be something that is good, healthy and uplifting for you?

Remember this:  Martyrdom is not the glorification of God or any other higher power.  It is the glorification of EGO.  Many times, we have our egos too invested in who we are; that which we allow to provide us our criteria for life is our ego, not our SELF, which involves listening to the still, small voice and acting from within a higher level of knowledge with regard to self.  If we act from within the self, and not the ego, martyrdom to the cause of a narcissist becomes anathema to us.  In martyring ourselves to another’s abuse of us, we deny that which has been universally given to us:  love, in all its forms. Martyrdom is not love.  It is the glorification of our own egos, and that is not a good thing.

If you are with a narcissist, and you have sublimated yourself to that individual’s monstrously sick manipulation, you are martyring yourself.  STOP NOW!  

If you don’t stop the madness now, you may find yourself dealing with a massive case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Trust me on that one, too.   PTSD can result from recurring, consistent emotional abuse.  Couple that with the physical abuse that some experience when with a narcissist and you’ll wind up with a full-blown case of PTSD.

I Drove 330 Miles…and I’m So Glad I Did!

Like many of us, I see a psychiatrist.  I’ve seen the same doctor for 16 years, and when I first started with him, I really DID need him.  I was a mess!  With lots of support, encouragement, and good advice, I found myself healing from some serious childhood stuff.  I think my Doc is my medication now.  I was without him for almost two years after being transferred out of the area by corporate America.

I tried to find another doctor.  Folks, you can’t replace someone who has been there for you; who has been your ROCK for 16 years.  You just can’t.  It’s almost like a marriage, only with the professional boundaries in place.  So I decided, after trying yet ANOTHER shrink, that I was going to chuck it all where I am and go back to what I knew and trusted.

I drove 165 miles one way to get there today.  While sitting in his office, Doc _____ looks at my file and then looks at me and says:  “has it really been that long????  I could have sworn I’d seen you just a couple of months ago!”  I wasn’t sure what to make of that, so I asked him.  I said:  “hmmm – is that a good thing?”  Apparently, it was, because his reply was:  “Yes!  It means our rapport is so excellent that we can pick up where we left off, almost two years ago.”

My session with him was excellent and so worth the time, drive, traffic, and money.  I told him about the N, and described the situation to him.  I asked what he thought about it.  His reply:  “What do YOU think is wrong with this man?”   I replied that through research, I’d come to the conclusion the man was NPD.  Doc concurred.  He’d come to that conclusion simply from hearing me recite email conversations – and I surprised myself that I’d memorized them.  I was concerned about that because I thought maybe I was obsessing.  Doc told me no, I wasn’t obsessing, rather; I was doing what I do best:  analyzing and processing.

We discussed my primary relationship history.  Doc is a funny man.  He said:  “Okay, so far, with regard to primary relationships in your life, you’ve lived with a psycho domestic abuser, you married a dry drunk, you divorced the dry drunk and involved yourself in a long-distance relationship with a man who was very safe because neither of you had to invest anything in the relationship, then you married a man with Bipolar Disorder, you divorced him and it nearly killed you, then you moved in with a passive-aggressive Momma’s boy, and when that didn’t work you stayed away from men for awhile and started healing.  Now you tell me you found an NPD.  Are you done with men now?”

Yes, I’m done with men.  My judgment is obviously not at a level where I can trust it.  Unless the universe plants just the right man in my path, and gives me a sign that he IS the right man (and it would have to be something planetary, like Jupiter, aligning with Mars or something along those lines) I am done with men.

I don’t need a man.  I’d like one, but I’m fine without one.  I’m not emotionally needy now, although at one point in my life, as a young adult, I was extremely needy.

When I first started seeing the Doc he diagnosed me with borderline traits.  He told me this today.  I didn’t realize that.  He said he didn’t feel I warranted a formal diagnosis of BPD, because I was a high-functioning individual with a shitty childhood history to overcome.  He told me the that my official diagnosis was PTSD. I’d never thought to ask.

Without this man, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.  He told me why his formal diagnosis was PTSD with borderline traits and looking back over my life (I’ll be 50 in a few days), I can see how right he was.   I still experience issues with PTSD, the most common issue being what Doc refers to as “ghosting.”

If I have a choice, I never sit with my back to a door.  There were things that would happen to me as a kid and with my first live-in if my back was turned.  To this day, I will sometimes feel as though someone is behind me and I’ll whip around, in fight or flight mode and no one will be there.  People have seen this “startle” response in me – I whip around and go into a slight crouch, my muscles tensed and I’m told I have a panic-stricken look on my face.  That’s “ghosting.”  I don’t think it’s really a medical term, but it clearly describes what I’m feeling.  I’m feeling the ghosts of my past; I’m feeling them so strongly that adrenaline kicks in and my brain sends me immediately into both an offensive and defensive mode.  My posture becomes defensive and my mind pulls forward into the offensive, bringing all the rage I had and still have toward the people who hurt me.  The rage is there, but I’ve learned to control it, as opposed to allowing it to control me.  Life wasn’t always like that.

Doc helped me work through all the garbage that caused that response; he helped me work through to my SELF, to bring the good and bad together and merge them into the person I really am.  He was there through two divorces, three downsizes, an immeasurable amount of heartbreaks; he got me through the teenage years with my son, and all the way through it, he was there to let me know I was okay and that I would be okay.

So, given all that, why on earth wouldn’t I drive 330 miles round trip to spend time with such a supportive and encouraging individual?  Why did I think I could ever replace him?  I’ll probably still be seeing him when I’m 85 and he’s 90, provided, as he said:  “I’m still alive, all the grey cells are working and I don’t need my Depends changed too often.”

I always marveled at how stable his marriage was (and is).  He got married at 21, has four grown children that he adores, and judging from the photos in his office, a wife he adores and loves as much as the day he married her.  Well, I know that, because he’s told me.  He would be lost without his wife.

That’s what I always thought I would have.  I told him that today.  I’ve been very conflicted about this turning 50 thing and mentioned that it’s really bothering me because I’m not where I thought would be at this point in my life.  He replied:  “Maybe you’re not seeing the forest.  Do you think it’s possible you’re exactly where you need to be?”

Yup.  Right again.  I thought about that on the drive home.  I AM exactly where I should be and where I need to be – for me.  I can’t compare my life to anyone else’s life.  I can’t judge myself based on someone else’s accomplishments or what society has decreed to us is defined as “success.”  I AM successful.  I’m here, writing this, still alive, and an emotionally healthy individual who has, at this point, minimal emotional baggage.

I’ve accomplished one hell of a lot in my life, but most would see me as largely unsuccessful because I don’t have the material acquisitions that our society values so greatly.  I don’t own a home, I’ve been laid off 3 times in three years, I have no retirement or savings because I ran though it all through various terms of unemployment, and right now I’m past due on my car payment because my (former) boss turned out to be a total asshole and at this writing, I have $25 to my name.

Know what, though?  It’s okay. I got an email today that is going to change that financial picture.  My entire life I’ve always had what I needed, when I needed it.  I may not have always had what I wanted, but I ALWAYS had what I needed.  That should really be enough for anyone.

I find, as I age, that the things I want are intangible.  They are things only I can provide myself.  Peace, happiness and contentment.  Value of myself FOR myself.  Self esteem without entitlement.  The knowledge that when I look back, 40 years from now (because I WILL live to be 90) I will know that for most of my adult life, I’ve worked to do the right thing, even when it didn’t feel good to do it.  I’ll know that I succeeded in becoming what I truly want to be:  A human being who works to help and heal others, because through that, I help and heal myself.   It’s an ongoing process…

More A.A. Milne Deconstruction – Winnie-the-Pooh

First, take a read of these Character Descriptions of all the primary (and some lesser known) characters in the Winnie-the-Pooh series.  The link will open in a new tab or window, depending upon your browser.

Now, re-read my post on A.A. Milne’s poem “Disobedience.”

Okay, we’ve all grown up thinking Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin were the most amazing children’s stories.  Having researched A.A. Milne, I’m seeing something a bit more sinister.  It’s not a terribly far reach to see this in these characters.

Remember, these are all Christopher Robin’s “friends.”  We know that Christopher Robin is a good boy, who never does anything wrong, who is always right, who is kind, generous, loving, obedient, etc.  Christopher Robin is practically perfect in every way.  His friends, however, seem to be lacking a bit…

1.  Winnie-the-Pooh:  He’s known to live under the name ” Mr. Sanders.”  Milne goes on to state that this means he lives beneath the name Sanders which is inscribed in gold over the door to his home.   First, Milne intimates that Pooh’s name is really Mr. Sanders, and then he invalidates this with humor that is actually devaluing and cruel by stating he’s not really Mr. Sanders, he simply lives in a house with that name over the door.  What, did Pooh steal the home?  Is he a squatter?  Why didn’t he paint over the name Sanders if his name is REALLY “Pooh?”  Why does Milne allow him to seem to be a bumbling idiot, when he’s so very obviously not?  Why did Milne state his REAL name and then immediately take it away from him, replacing it with the ludicrous “Pooh?” Milne’s characterization of a loving, gentle, easily frightened bear who loves the simple things in life is “bumbling idiot.”  Can you extrapolate?

2.  Piglet:  He’s a small, timid pig who used to live at Trespassers Will, 100 Aker Wood, S.W. in a Beech Tree.  He tells people Trespasser’s Will refers to his grandfather, who he calls Trespassers W, which really stands for Trespassers William.  Milne goes on to inform us through description of the sign before it broke, that Piglet is lying about having a grandfather named Trespassers William.  Milne tells us Trespassers Will, before it broke, stood for Trespassers will be Prosecuted or Trespassers will be invited to dinner.  My guess is prosecution.  Piglet is also the nervous sort.  Gee, I wonder why?  His entire existence is based upon a whopping lie.  Maybe he’s afraid he’ll be found out.  He’s always sidling up to Pooh, seeking comfort and reassurance, and he daily wonders what will be exciting that day.  Liar, nervous, needs constant reassurance,  twitches and wonders about daily excitement.   There you have some classic Borderline Personality Disorder traits.

3.  Eeyore:  Oh please.   Invert NPD.  Say it in your best Eeyore voice:  “I’m so depressed.  I’m so unhappy.  My birthday is coming and I bet no one notices.  Oh gosh, thanks for noticing me.  I’ll just put my tail back on and trudge back to my unhappy home where no one pays attention to me, no one loves me, no one cares about me.”

4.  Tigger:  Well gee.  Do I need to interpret?  Maybe.  Attention seeker.   He’s bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.  He hates all the things that Pooh, Piglet and Eeyore love to eat.  Specifically those things.  He loves to play detective, because that’s what Tiggers (Narcissists) do best!  Tiggers are wonderful things!  The best thing about him is that he’s “the only one!”  Tiggers also never get lost and they’re great at locating “lost” friends.  His friends get lost and he has to ‘rescue’ them.  Then he makes them pay by annoying the shit out of them.  My guess is that they wanted to be lost.

5.  Rabbit:  Oh this is enlightening!  Pushy and decisive. The best speller of all the animals. His life is made up of Important Things. Likes to organize things and take charge of group events, even if nothing gets done. Becomes disoriented very quickly in unfamiliar surroundings.  He has friends “too many to count.”  Do you know anyone like this?  I do.

6.  Owl:  He speaks eloquently, everyone thinks he’s the wisest, he tells stories to anyone who will listen and sometimes he’s a real bore. Gosh.  Gee.  Are bells clanging?

There are more, but these should give you a clue.   A.A. Milne has projected personality traits on to stuffed animals – traits that may exemplify his own worst characteristics and since he can’t acknowledge them in himself, he projects them – in these stories – onto stuffed animals.  His adult writing does the same thing.  Read some of it.

Then there’s Christopher Robin, the good boy.  The boy who never does anything wrong, who always reflects the positive traits a narcissist so wants to believe himself to have.  Christopher Robin is the polar opposite of his friends.  Christopher Robin never makes mistakes.  He always does the right thing.  He is known to chide his friends when they’ve been “bad.”  He shoots down ideas, he walks away from “bad” ideas, and I don’t believe I’ve ever read (in the original writings) where he was ever accountable for any misadventure, even though he participated in a LOT of them.

Some of you may think I’m reaching too far, because Christopher Robin and the Pooh family may have been some of your favorite childhood characters.  I’m not denigrating your favorite characters.  I’m stating that the author of these stories had a few issues with which you might be well-acquainted, and those issues are clear in his character development.

Recovery: Staying Off the Rollercoaster

This post is written from the position of remaining free from your recently ended relationship with an NPD, but you can use these methods for healing yourself from almost any unhealthy relationship. 

So you’re free.  It may have been your choice, or you may have been permanently discarded.  Either way, you’re FREE.  Janis Joplin sang:  “Freedom’s just another word for nuthin’ left to lose…”

The aftermath of a relationship with a narcissist leaves you in an emotional state where you might feel you really don’t have anything left to lose.  Good.  If you have nothing left to lose (because the narcissist took it all from you), then you can start rebuilding your emotional strength.  Remember:  there’s a silver lining everywhere.  If you can do it, reach down and find that reserve of strength – think of your strength bank like your gas tank.  When the gas light in your car comes on, it means you’re on empty, according to the vehicle’s sensors.  You’re not on empty, though, because you can still drive at least far enough to get to a gas station and gas up, right?

It’s the same situation with your emotional strength.  When you feel you’re on empty, there’s always a teeny bit left.  There is just enough to get you to the strength bank so you can refill.

Narcissists attempt to totally destroy a person before discarding.  It’s a torturous path because the devaluation begins with your first meeting.  It’s insidious.  You won’t recognize that you’re being devalued until you’ve spent a significant amount of time with this individual.  One day it will all seem too much for you.  You won’t know what this person wants.  You’ll do something right today and tomorrow it will be wrong.  You’ll be criticized for things you weren’t aware you did and you’ll turn yourself inside out attempting to right imaginary wrongs, because by the time the criticism escalates to this point, the N has brainwashed you into believing that there truly is something wrong with you.

1.  Tell yourself, over and over, even if you don’t yet believe it that nothing is wrong with you.

2.  Find some way to channel the negative emotional energy.   For me, it’s writing.  For others it may be exercise, therapy, cleaning, taking up a new hobby.  Do whatever you can do to NOT sit around and castigate yourself for “screwing it up,” because the N will have quite definitively told you that the reason the two of you are no longer together is your fault.

3.  If at all possible do not maintain any contact with this person. You may continue to receive phone calls and emails from the N, but those are simply attempts to either devalue you even more or entice you back into the pairing (it’s not a relationship), so the N can begin the cycle again.  Ns hate to lose their narcissistic supply, even after they’ve   used, abused and discarded you.  They go looking for new supply, and if they can’t find it, they’ll come back to you.

4.  In my case, writing emails THAT WERE NEVER SENT was incredible therapy for me.  I would pull up a random email from my N, hit “reply” and remove his email address from the “to:” field.  Then I’d begin deconstructing what he’d said in the email and I’d write my reply to his bullshit.  I’d slam his ass against the wall, pick up my figurative steel pipe and bludgeon him until he was bleeding and crushed, slithering down the wall, like the squashed insect he is.  Then, so I could track my healing progress, I’d save the email to my drafts.  I never clicked “send.”  Don’t ever send an N your emotions.  You will find them being used against you with more brutality than you knew existed.

 Below is an example of what I did with one of his emails to me.  This never got sent:

On 7/30/2011 2:10 PM, Narcissistic Bastard wrote:

Your prior email and phone calls had and have elements of anger, damming analysis and insulting conjecture of my character. It is disturbing if you cannot see it.

I imagine it IS disturbing to you, asshole.  Guess what?  I “cannot see it.”  I notice you say “it is disturbing” rather than “I am disturbed…”  That’s quite telling.  You’ve just projected on me again.  Translation:  “You’re a disturbed individual because you refuse to accept my indictment of you as your own reality.”   Oh, btw, your selective memory is showing.  My “prior phone calls” (which I’m assuming are calls you believe happened within the past week) consisted of ONE phone call that YOU made, while you were drunk, where you unleashed enormous amounts of vitriol on me in what you probably considered was a charming and light-hearted manner.  

 When I detect this type of anger and criticism, I retract rather than argue which is why I did not want to (and still do not) talk to you personally about it.

When I detect a control freak, I run like hell.  I’m not going to talk about it.  I dumped your controlling ass, or have you forgotten?  Oh wait, it doesn’t count if I dump you.  You have to dump me for the “relationship” to be over.  Silly me.  I pity the woman who falls for you and stays with you.

 As far as I knew we were friends and I tried to make that clear repeatedly. Something is making you angry and it is now feeding on itself. The below said clearly that you were and are angry (insults are a pretty good indicator) and are very dissatisfied with me as a person in now many many cited ways both in your phone messages and email.

Insults?  Phone messages? WTF kind of drugs are you ON, idiot? “Something” is making me very angry and it is feeding on itself?  Snort.  I told you what made me angry.  It’s not feeding on itself.  You can’t stand that I found you lacking in any way, and it makes you angry that I would dare to tell you about it.  Sorry bub, that’s the way life goes.  You’re gonna be one lonely man.  

I do not care to have these things keep appearing from you.

What things?  The drugs must be good.  Are you like Alice, with the “drink me” bottles?  Oh, I now I see.  You have issues with math.  One email telling you how I feel translates into several “things” onto which you project your own anger and lack of self.  That’s right.  You’re incapable of empathy.  Even your rage and control are copies – you copied them from mommy.   When you look in a mirror you see nothing, that’s why you need people.  A static object reflects emptiness to you, but a warm-blooded, vital, confident and loving woman translates to feeding time for you.  

I have tried now on several occasions to ask you to stop sending these angry things but you will not.

When?  What things?  Oh geez, I’m a stupid woman again, aren’t I?  I’m such a bad mirror.  I keep forgetting that YOUR reality is the only one that exists and you make it up as you go along.  And look!  There you go with multiplication again.  I’m guessing you sucked at word problems in grade school, because the word problem:  “if my human mirror sends me one email expressing emotions I don’t want to hear about, how many emails expressing these emotions have I received?” got answered in the plural.   You failed, li’l buckaroo.  Miserably.  Wait.  That’s what you do.  You only appear successful because you’ve stolen that appearance from other people. 

I will ask for one more email from you.

It will contain only one thing.

 An agreement that you will take the next three weeks of quiet to cool.

And we can maybe try contact again if your anger has settled.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. OMG.  You’re serious.  Come to me pathetic insect, so I can squash you beneath my steel-toed boot, thus freeing your airspace for others, who are of worth, to breathe. 

 This is the last email from me that will have any content from me for at least three weeks or longer if you so desire.

You think this email had “content?”  What, you’re going to send me MORE emails without “content?”  Sweet bleeding Jesus, man, step away from the keyboard and shackle yourself to your crawlspace.  Better yet, take your inflatable kayak out into some class 5 rapids.  That way the stench of your decomposition won’t create issues for your neighbors.  Oh darn, I forgot again.  You only TALK about shooting class 5 rapids in your inflatable.  You tried to convince me that information from one of the top kayakers in the world is all wrong, because you know everything. 

I wrote this but did not send it.  I have a million other replies to this particular email, because after spending much time deconstructing it, I realized it encapsulated the horror that is this monster.  He showed himself to me; he showed his complete alignment with the DSM-IV criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.    Try it.  It might just help you.

5. At first, you will still be on the rollercoaster and you’ll have to take it at your own pace.  You might feel strong and empowered for 15 minutes and then feel like you’re the worst person on the planet for the next 3 hours.  When this happens, force yourself to remember the horrible things this person did to you.  Remember the kindness, love and compassion you gave this person and how those gifts were treated.

6.  You’ll spend a bit of time checking your email and phone to see if your N has contacted you.  If that person has contacted you, please, please, please heed this advice:  DO NOT REPLY IN ANY FASHION if at all possible.  If you are divorcing an N, and there are children involved, you may have to reply.  Check with your attorney first and if you can, have your attorney reply.  If you feel your children are in danger, do what you have to do to get them away from this person.  Contact your attorney, first, to make certain that everything you do is legal, because if it’s not, your N will delight in using your actions against you.

7.  Reach out to your support network.  If you don’t have one, and you might not have one at this point, because Ns love to manipulate their victims into withdrawing from their support system, get one.  Call all those people with whom you may have lost contact during your prison sentence with the N, explain the situation. Those who are truly friends will always be there for you.

8.  Seek group counseling.  If you can find a Co-Dependants Anonymous meeting near you, please do.  Here’s the link to their home page:  CoDA .   I know they don’t have a lot of meetings, but they do have online groups.

Something I’ve noticed in my journey:  Many of us who fall victim to Narcissists fall into a group I like to call Adult Children of Dysfunctional Parents.  I’m an adult child of alcoholics, and if you are familiar with the behavioral issues inherent in alcoholism, you will recognize that they are crossover traits to NPD.  Many alcoholics display Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Disorder traits.  Regardless the category in which our parents or other authority figures in our lives are placed, the odds are excellent that we experienced such horrendous emotional (and sometimes physical) abuse at their hands that we left home emotionally paralyzed, with poor self-esteem, and we engage in self-sabotage by setting goals for ourselves that are well above our reach.  This is typical, since our parents or authority figures did that for us – we were well-trained.

It’s going to be tough, but you will have to re-invent yourself.  This is not a superficial process t that is grounded in image.  This is a very deep and painful process that is grounded in SELF.  If you’ve been involved with a narcissist, particularly for an extended period, you have been emotionally damaged.  It’s now time to heal and deal.  The first step is to acknowledge the abuse and allow yourself to FEEL your feelings, regardless how painful they are.  Don’t dwell on them, simply allow them to come, feel them, cry, scream, go run a mile at top speed, punch pillows – do whatever you need to do to let them go.  You cannot hold onto these feelings.  They MUST go.  Do something that will allow you to feel good about yourself.  If your N said you were incapable of doing something, and you believed it, go DO that something.  Whether you succeed or fail is of no importance because what the N was truly saying to you is that you don’t have the guts to TRY.

You may go through a period of deep depression.  I did.  I elected not to take anti-depressants.  I’m very familiar with depression, and I know when I’m cycling too far down to be functional.  I allowed myself to be depressed; I allowed myself to feel the feelings and then I’d say “enough.  now DO something.”  Then I’d get up and do whatever made me feel good about myself.  That feeling would last until the next round of pain washed over me.  I’d feel it, sometimes wallow in it, and for me, I’d write it.  Writing is my therapy; it clears my head and releases pain I didn’t know I had.  Do whatever allows you to release pain.  If you don’t know how, just go take a brisk walk.  That’s a great start – exercise releases “feel good” endorphins.

Whatever you choose to do to heal yourself, do NOT – I repeat – DO NOT – let your N know you’re doing these things.  Do not send “I’m healing from you” emails.  DO NOT make angry phone calls to that person just to make yourself feel better.  You want this person out of your life for good.  Treat them as though they do not exist.  Regardless how close they may live to you, make that distance a universe.

You can do it.  You’re free now.  That means you have been given the gift of life.  Being with a narcissist is the death of Self.

Three deep breaths.  1. 2. 3. GO!

 

How to Spot a Narcissistic Personality Disorder Before the First Date – Online Dating

It’s hard.

Email might give you some clue, but odds are good he or she is on best behavior so you won’t see the signs.

Phone might give you some clue, but odds are good that he or she is on best behavior so you won’t see the signs.

That said, here are some pink flags that will probably turn into flaming red flags if you’re interacting with an NPD:

1.  There’s a lot of use of “I” and “me.”

2.  She or he states they feel completely comfortable with you; like they’ve known you for years.

3.  You feel completely comfortable, like you’ve known this person for years.  Odds are you have – in your last relationship or marriage, through a parent, or even through friends you might have.

4.  There is a great deal of emphasis on this person’s accomplishments followed by self-deprecating “humor.” (fishing trips)

5.  The individual seems to present as a victim of circumstance.

6.  The individual will be all OVER you in email and phone.

7.  The individual will rush you; he or she will make statements that lead you to believe they’ve developed a serious interest in you.  (you haven’t even met yet, remember?)

8.  If you have to reschedule your first meeting due to a legitimate conflict in your schedule the individual pushes you to meet them on the original day, anyway.

9.  The individual’s profile reads like “extreme” goodness, empathy, compassion, etc.  He or she has “extreme” interests, and their listed interests have more extreme high-brow and obscure literature, film and music references than you would expect.

10.  The first email from the individual isn’t introductory, rather; the person has zeroed in on only one aspect of your profile and then proceeded to ask questions as though they are an expert on the subject.

11.  The individual shrugs off your opinions, or becomes argumentative.  Usually up front, they will shrug off your commentary and very adroitly and charmingly turn the conversation back around to themselves.  This is a sign they don’t want to hear about you.

12.  There is little flow to the conversation.  Your input is generally negated (but in a passive and gentle manner – for now!).

13.  When you ask a tough question, they won’t answer it.  The subject will be changed.

14.  Most importantly:  Listen.  You will hear yourself being repeated back to you.  What you think is warm, loving, giving, compassionate, witty, or socially graceful conversation will likely be the N pulling from the storehouse of information he or she already has about you.  They are very perceptive people, superficially.  They have to be, since they can display no emotion that is truly theirs other than rage.  You will find this person wonderful because you are being reflected back at you.  The N has no capacity for empathy and has no real feelings of his or her own.  The wonderful person you think you are talking to is yourself.

There are more flags, but this is enough for now.

Remember – READ those profiles.  Get a friend to read them with you, particularly if you are contacted by someone who is easy on the eyes, charming, witty, and does NOT send an introductory email – but sends one zeroing in on only one aspect of your profile.  Anyone who is truly interested in YOU will comment on most, if not all, the aspects of your profile that they found admirable or interesting.  They will send a well-thought-out and well-written email, not:

“Ay!  Do you do large metal sculpture in the style of (someone they’ve searched on Wiki)?  Are  you familiar with (something they’ve searched on Wiki).”

Beware of any email that begins “Ay!” (snort!)

Are You Dating a Control Freak? Worse, do you Think You are Dating an NPD?

If you can answer yes to more than half of these questions, you’re dating a control freak.  These are people who have a driving need to control everything around them, primarily because they are so out of control of themselves.

1.  Were you immediately charmed by this person?

2.  Did you feel, even after meeting them only once, that you’d “known” this person for a long time?

3.  When you were with this person, did he (I’m speaking from a female perspective) lean back in his chair, put his arms behind his head, and have his legs stretched out or spread?

4.  Was he looking at you, but his feet were pointing away from you?

5.  Was he early and standing or sitting there looking at his watch, or pulling his cell phone out of his pocket just as you walked up?

6.  Did he “humorously” chide you for being “late” even though you were spot on time?

7.  Did he make a statement (smiling, of course) that you’d kept him “waiting” an entire minute (or however long he’d been there?)

8.  Does he make passive-aggressive comments cloaked in humor?

9.  When you are eating at his house does he put the food on your plate for you without asking what size portion you’d like?

10.  When you are eating at your home, does he insist on “helping” in the kitchen by hovering and asking questions like:  “why are you chopping that onion like that?”  (translation:  you’re doing it wrong,)

11.  When you are out to eat, how does he treat the wait staff?  Is he demanding?  Does he cloak his demands in a wheedling tone, even though the wait person is clearly uncomfortable giving in to his requests?  Does the wait staff finally give in?

12.  Does he tell you how nice you look and then follow it with “but?”

13.  Does he shower you with attention and then inexplicably withdraw when you reciprocate?

14.  Does he tell you he wants to explore a long-term relationship with you after the first date?

15.  Does he make statements like:  “call me any time you want, and I mean ANY time” and then never answer his phone?

16.  Does he hurt your feelings and when called on it, apologize and then shift blame to you?

17.  Does he seem to hold everyone but himself accountable for his actions?

18.  Is he always too busy when you ask to see him but sound hurt when you won’t turn on a dime when he decides he wants to see you?

19.  Does he “correct” you – usually cloaking it with a laugh – for slight mistakes that anyone would make?

20.  Does he accuse you of doing things you know you’ve never done?

21.  Do you find his communication confusing?  (i.e. – says one thing and does another?)

22.  Do he seem to get happier after “humorously” criticizing you?

23.  Does he play “good cop/bad cop?”  By this I mean, is he nice one day and withdrawn and sullen or totally unavailable the next day?

24.  Does he seem to forget things you’ve talked about and then tell you that you never mentioned those things?

25.  Does he always seem to have to have the last word?

26.  If you even slightly criticize him, with a gentle spirit, does he blow it out of proportion and withdraw from you?

27.  Does he play “punishment/reward” games with you?  (i.e. – cold shoulder until you start “behaving” as he thinks you should?)

28.  Do you find yourself censoring not only your words but your thoughts when you are with him?

29.  Have you begun to change your own behavior when around him for fear of his reactions?

30.  Does he make up rules that you find out later only apply to you?

31.  Do you find out, after doing something completely normal that is part of your daily routine, that he suddenly has a “rule” about that and he berates you for doing that thing?

32.  Do you find yourself saying to friends:  “but when he’s nice, it’s sooooo good!” ????

33.  Do you find yourself making excuses for his behavior when he acts like an ass in front of your friends?

34.  Does he attempt to keep you from seeing your friends?

35.  Does he start out praising your accomplishments, but as time progresses, he begins to criticize those accomplishments, to the point of negating them?

36.  Does he email you constantly, but not respond when you reply to his emails?

37.  Does he consistently say he’ll call you, and then doesn’t call you?

38.  Does he make vague plans with you and not nail them down until the last minute?

39.  Does he get peeved that you won’t change your plans so that you can be with him for his last minute plans?

40.  Does he throw you “carrots?”  (i.e. – he tells you he’s told his friends about you but somehow those friends never materialize and you never get to meet them?

41.  Over time does it seem that nothing you do is good enough?

42.  Do you feel your self-confidence eroding when you are with him?

43.  Do your friends tell you to dump the damned loser?

44.  Do you tell your friends they’re all wrong about him and if they’d only meet him, they’d understand why you want to be with him?

45.  Does he tell you stories about his past where he is always the hero?

46.  Does he trash his ex, even though he spent years with her, and become offended when you ask him why he stuck around if she was so bad?

47.  Is he always calm?  Does he make a show of being “balanced” when you can see he’s obviously internalizing anger?

48.  Is his logic faulty, and your intuition tells you it’s faulty but you can’t quite describe how it’s faulty?

49.  Does he cut you off mid-sentence when you’re talking about something important to you, only to inject something anecdotal about himself?

50.  Does he seem to be searching for the next thing he’s going to say rather than truly listening to what you have to say?

51.  Is his home chronically neat and tidy?  Does everything have it’s place and do you feel as though there is no place for you in his home?

52.  When you look around his tastefully appointed home do you suddenly realize that it’s been quite studiously put together, that there is no dust anywhere even though he’s got tons of collectibles, and that he puts everything back in it’s “place” immediately after using it?

53.  Does he make all the plans, always shooting your plans down in favor of his?

54.  Does he unaccountably blow up at you when you suggest doing something different from the norm, and then tell you that you’re being selfish and maybe HE wants to do something else, thus accusing you of daring to attempt to control your interaction with him?

55.  Does he send you mixed signals?  Is he physically affectionate, without making sexual overtures, thus driving you to the brink of crazy because you’re not sure WHAT he wants and then when you attempt to talk to him about it he tells you that you want more than he can give?

The list actually goes on ad infinitum, but I think these 55 are a good start.  If you can answer yes to most of these questions – even to half of them, you’re involved with a control freak, and possibly a Narcissistic Personality.

These are general characteristics.  You’ll have to interpret them according to your own situation.  But if most of them fit, I have one piece of advice for you, and it will save your sanity.

RUN LIKE HELL AND DON’T LOOK BACK.