Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

Actually, this post is to myself.  You’re welcome to read it and comment upon it, which is why I’m posting it on my blog.  🙂

This evening, as I made my simple dinner, which consisted of cracked black pepper turkey, banana peppers, and an orange pepper from my garden on a whole grain sandwich thin, it occurred to me that every single ingredient in this sandwich, down to the pepper plant in my garden, had been purchased and provided by my ex Narcissist.

I looked around and saw the grill he had bought for me, the toaster oven, the electric can-opener (because my hand-crank one wasn’t good enough, apparently), the stand mixer, the microwave, the vacuum cleaner, the case of Yuengling beer that I’ll never drink, all the boxed and unhealthy pre-packaged meals in the pantry, every bit of “phude” in my freezer – all but the chicken does not qualify as real food to me – was purchased by this man.

I saw the third “mondo” fan in my living room that he’d purchased because two weren’t enough.  I saw the Pampered Chef apple corer and peeler, complete with stand, that he’d purchased, saying I could re-engineer it into something to use with my jewelry-making business.  A wire twister (which I already have), perhaps.

On my drive home from work, I saw my ultra-bright headlights – special ones – that he’d bought and installed, saying I needed them, even though I drive a small SUV that sits me up higher than most sedans and that already had perfectly good lights.  As I was getting out of my car, I saw the two, now emptied, $50 gas cards he’d bought me in early May.  I tossed them in the trash can on the way in.

On the way up my steps, my raised garden, which he “surprised” me with on his day off by working all day in the hot sun to have ready for me when I got home that evening, stared me in the face.   As I entered my home, the bag of rock salt in the corner of the foyer grinned up at me – it’s been there since winter – he bought it. There was the tray of Kentucky Coffee Bean Tree seeds that he’d collected and brought over to give to me thinking I could incorporate them into jewelry. The list goes on and on and on.

I never asked for these things.  The garden I simply mentioned, in passing.  Last April, I’d said I was going to have some soil brought in and build a raised garden out front because I love to garden.  I was going to do it.  I wanted the satisfaction of knowing I’d done it myself.  

This is what he did.  I asked him to stop, repeatedly, and he wouldn’t, citing as a reason “it’s what I do.  I see a need and I fill it.”

I started to feel as though perhaps I’d misjudged him and then I backed myself up.  Whoa.  Reality check.

While the food I ate tonight was healthy enough, the majority of the food he brought in here, against my protestation, was unhealthy, full of additives and chemicals, and high-calorie.  I remember coming home one Wednesday, early in our relationship, before he had a key to my home, to find bags of groceries spread out on a table in my basement.  Not only had he bought groceries, he’d brought a table to lay them out on. I opened each bag to find it was full of things I wasn’t supposed to eat.  I’d told him on our first date, when I’d made bruschetta, which I’d told him about beforehand, and to which he never replied that he didn’t like tomatoes, that this was the way I ate.  I ate as many whole foods as I could, and I tried never to eat anything that was processed or pre-packaged.

I remember dishing out the bruschetta and as I did so, he said, “Hmm.  I don’t usually eat tomatoes – don’t like them, but this looks different.  I’ll give it a try.”  I remember thinking “why didn’t he tell me he didn’t like tomatoes?”  I’d described the dish to him, so he knew what was in it.

I didn’t need the grill.  I never even thought about having one.  HE used it – not me.  It’s a dust catcher now.  I didn’t want a toaster oven.  I wanted a TOASTER.  I’d mentioned I was going to go to the local discounter and pick one up for $9.  I don’t toast that much, but when I wanted toast, I wanted toast.  In he came with a shiny new toaster oven.  I don’t use it much.  HE used it.

I had a microwave – but apparently it wasn’t good enough.  It was good enough for ME – all I ever used it for was quick-thawing and occasionally making whipped eggs for egg sandwiches.  In came a brand new microwave.

I didn’t have a “normal” vacuum cleaner.  I used a shop vac.  I live in a converted church that is very old, has the original wood floors and drops a thin layer of dust daily.  So I would shop vac everything.  It was quick, powerful and easy.  In came a “normal” vacuum cleaner that’s cheap, doesn’t hold much dust or fur (I have two cats that shed mightily), and needs to be emptied before half a room is finished.  He insisted it was too much for me to carry the shop vac up and down stairs and that I use his “normal” vacuum.  There went that form of exercise.

I didn’t need the apple corer/peeler.  I don’t core or peel my apples – and I rarely make apple pie or any kind of sweet with apples.  I certainly wasn’t going to re-engineer it to twist wire since I had a perfectly good wire-twister, which he’d already seen me use.

What I realized, during my reality check, was that this man had insinuated himself into my home, set it up the way HE wanted it, and in doing so, intimated that the way I was functioning wasn’t good enough for him (or anyone, apparently).

Last June, he brought me an a/c window unit that he casually told me he’d removed from his attic, since it wasn’t needed there.  I was grateful, until he dumped me, when he informed me that he’d taken the cooling source from his young adult children’s rec-room and the attic, where the pool table and all the gaming equipment lived, was now too hot for anyone to use, and he wanted it back.  No dice.  Sorry.  It’s mine now.

I have other items that he “stole” from his family home.  A dehumidifier.  A humidifier.  The “mondo” fan.  The stand mixer!  I read recently that domicile theft is a not-widely-known characteristic of those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

At one point, when I had asked him some questions about things I’d read in the Bible, (he was actually a pastor for many years!), he said he’d bring a bible over and we could go over them.  Next day, he shows up with two bibles – one for him and one for me.  He handed me “mine” and I opened it up to find it inscribed to his wife from her mother!  I immediately handed it back to him and told him it was inappropriate and “bible study” could wait.  He got snarky about it and attempted to shrug it off by saying “well, she doesn’t use it – she has tons of them.”

Excuse me?  Did the inappropriateness of his gesture totally escape him?  Yes, it did. He saw nothing inappropriate about stealing from his wife to give to me.

So much for thinking I’d misjudged him.

This was my evening after work tonight.  A lesson.  Just because someone does things that seem nice, it does not mean that the person is doing those things from a kind and pure heart, and for the sole purpose of “filling a need” when the “need” is seen.

I spent the first four to five months of this relationship in pure bliss, thinking I’d finally found Mr. Right.  The red flags were waving at me like a toreador dancing around a bull.  It’s not that I chose not to see them.  I flat out DID NOT see them.  Not until about the middle of month five and definitely month six.

I’m a private person who enjoys living alone and likes having quite a bit of “me” time, yet I allowed this man to take over my life almost every day of each week for 15 months.

I truly enjoy coming through my front door now, knowing that I don’t have to scramble to clean the kitchen, vacuum, cook dinner and be all “beautiful” in the 45 minutes before he would show up.  I enjoy walking through my door into my home, putting my handbag and shoes where I want, gliding into my CLEAN kitchen (because it’s not full of dishes he left the night before), feeding my kitties, preparing a simple and HEALTHY meal for myself, sitting down at my table to read my email and eat, and then going into my living room to make jewelry or read or DO WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT TO DO WITHOUT FEAR OF CRITICISM.

Don’t ever allow someone to take over your life and your home.  I won’t do that again. Ever.  If you see it happening, take a deep breath, step back and try to view it objectively, even if you are head-over-heels for the person who is doing it. Even if you think you LOVE that this person is taking such “good” care of you.  Stop and think and assess.  Ask yourself why this is being done.  Ask it many times.

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Living With a Narcissist

I found a wealth of information here:  Out Of The Fog

The bit below has been copied and pasted from that blog and I encourage you to click the link and browse the blog.  There is so much good information there.  This bit describes what it feels like to live with someone who has NPD.  I found I could relate  very well!  I hope it helps you!

What it feels like to live with someone with NPD

Contributed by Aames

Living with or being involved with a narcissist can be mentally and emotionally exhausting.

It can feel like you have to perform “mental gymnastics” from dealing with the lying (even when confronted with undeniable proof ), the gaslighting, the triangulation, the projection, the constant contradictions, the manipulation, blame-shifting, the charm they lay on, the inflated sense of self – even subtle forms of torture, such as sleep deprivation, these people inflict on their victims – appears to be conscious and calculated to push the target of their “affections” past their limits, into surrender – and ultimately into total compliance – as a source of Narcissistic Supply. 

Children, spouses, friends, lovers – those closest to the Narcissist – are not considered individuals in their own right by the Narcissist – but rather extensions or, in the worst cases, the property of the Narcissist.

Even after finding out that you are dealing with a mental disorder, if you don’t protect or remove yourself from the situation, you may find yourself entering into a state of mind where you instinctively try to fix or fight the narcissist’s illogical attitudes and behaviors.

You may find yourself becoming hyper-vigilant, trying to second guess them, trip them up, lay down ultimatums, call them on their lies, or constantly trying to stay one-step ahead of their ever-changing rule-book. You may even find yourself trying to mirror their behaviors to some extent in order to manipulate them, as they have manipulated you. This can be both futile and attractive to the narcissist, as they often relish the challenge.

If you ever do manage to get “one-up” on a narcissist, it is likely to be a hollow “victory” at best. They may rage, play the victim, or disappear. None of these outcomes gives the victim any true satisfaction.

More than any other disorder on the PD spectrum, narcissists are like psychological vampires, attaching themselves to you in a way that drains you of your resources (emotional, mental and financial) and leaves you questioning your own worth and sanity.

Often, narcissists are able to imitate or approximate caring about others when it is convenient for them to do so. However, they typically do not perceive that anything outside of their own sphere of wants and needs matters. It simply doesn’t occur to them to consider the needs of anyone else, or the long-term consequences of their own behaviors.

Narcissists can be highly intelligent, witty, talented, likable, and fun to be around. They can also elicit sympathy like nobody’s business.

Narcissists are opportunistic. They can make a show of being “generous” but their generosity usually has strings attached.

They tend to isolate their victims, sucking up their time and energy, many times robbing their own families, spouses and partners of an external support system.

Narcissists are excellent liars and many prefer to lie even when telling the truth would be more beneficial to them; which suggests that lying is a hallmark of this pathology.

They are often highly competitive and argumentative. They lash out when presented with opinions that contradict their own or when confronted with their own lies or bad behaviors.

They can be calculating and extremely persuasive and susceptible to erratic thinking and impulsive decision making .

Narcissists can be self-destructive as often as they are destructive to others. They have a great deal of trouble accepting responsibility for their own actions, under any circumstance.

Narcissists are addictive personalities and narcissism is commonly co-morbid with addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex, food, spending and gambling. It has been suggested that Narcissists have a higher rate of ADHD than the general population.

Narcissists are rarely alone. They like to feed on the energy of others, and to have an audience to reflect back to them the person they want to see themselves as.

Narcissists are good at pretending, but typically do not feel compassion or empathy or consider the feelings or well-being of others. They tend to be singularly focused on getting their own needs met, at the expense of the needs of others.

While narcissists generally portray a lack of conscience, they typically have an intellectual awareness of what they are doing and how they hurt others. They simply do not care.

Being kind to a Narcissist in the face of their maltreatment is a common approach of family members and partners. However, this can result in further frustration as it is rarely reciprocated and tends to feed their sense of entitlement, opening the door for more abuse.

Here are some other feelings that you may experience when dealing with a narcissist in the home or at work:

  • You may feel like this person readily puts you down just to elevate themselves.
  • You may find yourself avoiding them because trying to communicate with them leaves you feeling confused, put-down, reduced to a lesser status and emptied of all that you know you really are.
  • You may feel overwhelmed, “out-gunned”, tongue-tied or overpowered in the presence of this person.
  • You may feel blown away by their powerful personality, self-assuredness, self-belief and self-confidence.
  • Your own legitimate needs may be taking a back seat to their own frivolous, self-serving ambitions.
  • When receiving a compliment or apology, you may be left feeling patronized, demeaned, brought down to size and even humiliated.
  • You may attempt to compromise with them only to realize later that you are the only one who gave any substantial ground.
  • You may feel like your hard work and contributions are only being used, abused and and distorted to meet the selfish ambitions of another.

Living with a person who has NPD can have a devastating effect on the self-esteem, confidence and quality of life for family members, friends and partners.

People who live with an individual with NPD sometimes feel as though the Narcissist is refusing to ” grow up” or will revert back to childish ways whenever it suits them to do so. The Non-Narcissist often feels used, cheated and taken advantage of by the NPD in their life.

The blog from which I lifted this text has it right on the money.  Those of us who have lived with someone who has NPD tend to become extremely co-dependent, living our lives on the edges of eggshells, wondering what we can do to stop the next round of abuse.  We turn ourselves inside out trying to make life calm and peaceful and become frustrated when our efforts are for nothing.  

We will alter our own behavior; we will become someone we are not, in effort to stop the cycle of Narcissistic abuse.  By the time we’ve come to realize we must escape the torture, it’s usually too late.  We’ve allowed ourselves to become who we are not and the healing process is painful, to say the least.  All that said, once healed, we CAN come out on the other side as the whole human beings we started.  Once burned by a Narcissist doesn’t mean it will never happen to us again.  We need to find what it is in us that draws the Narcissist to us – what is our primary weakness?  Are we lonely?  Needy?  In financial distress?  Are we at an emotional low in our lives for whatever reason when the Narcissist starts “grooming” us to be his/her next victim?  I believe, for myself and for all others, that it is necessary to figure out what traits we exhibit that draw these individuals to us.  There is something they see that they believe they can exploit.  If we can figure this out, heal it, and become strong, whole and “npd smart” people, we won’t allow this to happen again.  We’ll spot the N from a mile away!  And I need to keep that in mind myself!  

Narcissism Fits Him Like A Glove

I need to remember to read and re-read my own freaking blog.  Taking the characteristics listed below, this is what I saw, but remained blind to (get it?) from the start: They’re not in order of Zamoracatalina’s list, but this is how they played out:

1. Very charismatic and charming at first…

Oh yes.  Oh my oh my.  You know – I thought it odd, that after inviting himself on my hiking trip (which turned into a stroll) as soon as we got out of the car, and started walking, he puts his arm around my shoulders.  I can’t walk that way, and I told him.  He apologized, saying maybe he’d been too forward.  Well, yes, but that’s not what I said.  I said I couldn’t walk that way.  As we were crossing a causeway, he did it again, and I shrugged it off.  He went silent for a bit.  I just toodled along beside him, pointing out all the glorious sites up in the mountains.  He wasn’t the least bit interested.  He didn’t speak again until he got close to the lake and spotted some tadpoles, so naturally, I had to come look.  Good thing I did, huh?  

He showed up at my house, the next day, uninvited, bearing a grocery store gift card for $100 and a gas card for $50.  When I exclaimed that he shouldn’t have done it (and I needed it BADLY – finances have been my weak point and he exploited them), he continued to hold them in front of me – he was standing behind me so his body had to be close to mine and both his arms were around me waving these cards in my face.  So I took them and set them on the counter.  He tapped them and said something to the effect that I wasn’t to forget to use them. I thought it was very kind of him, but at that point, I wasn’t really sure I wanted physical contact.  By the end of the week, he’d charmed me into that, too.  I was smitten.  Totally. 

2.  Exaggerates personal achievements

Well, where do I start?  He told me he was a pastor.  Well, he was.  To a congregation of 12.  Now, that’s not an easy job, especially when you have only 12 folks in your congregation and you have to deal with them almost daily.  He talked about performing marriages (found out later he’s not licensed to do so – and he’s not an ordained minister), and performing funerals, and about how oh-so-many years after he left the church, an elderly woman died and wanted “HER” pastor to do her funeral.  He complained that her children were attempting to block it, and he had no idea why.  I bet I know. 

He told me he was a “master” trainer where he works.  He said he was given that title because he “developed” the training program that the company has used for 15 years.  Not true.  He helped with the development but “master trainer” isn’t his title.  It’s just “trainer.” 

He boasted of sitting on a board where he and other deacons doled out available money to indigent folks who came asking for help.  He said that was his “all time favorite job.”  Of course it was.  He had control over these people’s lives.  He said that he would deny help if he thought the individual had “smoked all their money away,” or “if they didn’t seem organized enough to run errands efficiently so they could save gas.  Stupid stuff.  I’m sorry, if a young couple comes in, with a child, and their income can be verified and they need food for the baby and diapers, and one of them happens to smell like cigarette smoke, is it not possible that the smell of smoke was from a cigarette that was bummed from someone, or that they just walked through a bunch of smokers?  Anything is possible – and around here – most people who smoke roll their own, since buying pre-packaged is waaaay too expensive.  He loved to judge others.  Just LOVED it. 

3.  Denies he has issues to work on…

When we met, he told me he and his wife had been separated for more than a year.  He told me that he went to marital counseling with her for 9 months (I think it was probably far less than that) once a week, and finally just stopped because his wife and the therapist would “beat up” on him and he actually said:  “I’m not the one with the problems!  SHE is.  WTF?  It was like I never did anything right and I did everything in my power to make her happy and she damned well knows it!”  Uh huh.  Right down to walking out on her mid-sentence when he sensed a criticism and then giving her the silent treatment for days until she begged for his attention, at which time he would grant it  provided (according to his telling of it) “she’d seen what happens when she turns into a bitch.”  

Nothing was ever his fault, even in the face of irrefutable proof.  He was and is the king of spin.  I could tell him he said something, he’d deny it, I’d pull up the text to prove it, and he’d say that wasn’t proof, because I could have altered it.  Yeah, right.  Okay. 

4.  Exaggerates the truth or blatantly lies. 

OMG.  Where do i start.  He told me he was separated and living with his sister when I met him.  Two months later, he said something that pointed clearly to the fact that he’d moved back home.  When I confronted him with it, he said he’d had to move home because “she” had to spend a month taking care of her mother.  So I asked why he didn’t move back out when “she” moved back home.  He told me his sister didn’t want him there and he didn’t have enough money to live on his own, so he was “stuck” but he rushed to assure me they weren’t sharing a bed.  Uh huh.  Right.  Her schedule was wonky enough that it WAS believable and he told me he was sleeping on the sofa.  Well, one evening he texted me a photo complaining of the “mess” his wife had left in the bedroom.  I asked why he was in the bedroom.  He said:  “We take turns sleeping here, one week she does and the next week I do.”  HUH?  Yeah – I swallowed it. It was that wonky schedule again. 

He promised me his wife was well aware of the separation and that there would be no reconciliation.  Turns out she wasn’t quite as aware of the “no reconciliation” part as he was, since on Jan 1 of this year, she asked him where he saw them this year.  What would make her ask that, I wonder?  Hmmm.  

He started spending Saturday nights at my house.  He started this on my birthday weekend and when I asked him how he was able to do it (at this point, I knew he was deathly afraid of having his wife find out about me), he shrugged and said:  “I told her I’m spending saturday nights out with friends and am going to crash with whatever friend i’m with – I told her it was MY night.”  I should have kicked him out of my bed.  Nope.  Didn’t.  Should have thought “damn, if he lies to HER like this, what are the odds that anything he tells me is true?”  Nope – didn’t let it surface. 

He told me he loved me.  BIG lie.  He told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.  Bigger lie.  See, what he wanted was the ideal of me – the perfect woman, who catered to his every need, who told him he was fabulous – he wanted the static illusion – the fantasy he’d built in his head of what a great relationship would be.  Only…I’m not static.  I’m not a blow up doll.  I’m human.  He didn’t like the human part. Not one bit. 

5.  Does not take criticism well and becomes defensive easily.  Is easily hurt or insulted. 

HAH!  He could dish it out but boy he couldn’t take it.  Once, I actually tried to have a conversation with him about all the lies he was telling his wife and to see if I could move him toward telling her he was involved with someone else.  According to him, she’d asked enough times.  He always told her “no.”  He turned his face away from me, his jaw started working hard, he drummed his fingers on the side of the sofa, picked up the remote and started channel surfing.  I asked him not to do that and to please pay attention, as this was important to me.  He tossed the remote on the table, got up, got his car keys and wallet and left.  Later he texted me that he didn’t want anymore questions like that because he’d told me “at least a thousand times” that he couldn’t tell his wife.  Yeah, but he’d never told me why…

In January, I caught him in a blatant lie.  He received a text from a woman who used to work with him and with whom he admitted he “came close” to having an affair with.  His wife used to babysit her child while she was at work, and this woman had come to pick him up, went in the living room with the N, sat on the sofa and apparently they almost started kissing while his wife was in the other room getting this woman’s child ready to go home.  Why the eff wasn’t this woman helping her???  I know why. 

So when I saw the text pop up, I saw her photo right along with it.  IT was a LONG text.  He immediately hid his phone in his pocket.  I casually said:  “Got a text?”  He replied:  “No.”  My jaw dropped and I said:  “yes you did – I heard it and saw it.”  He said:  “No I didn’t, that wasn’t a text.”  Me: “Yes, it was – and it was from Nicole – I know it was.  I saw her picture.”  Him:  “No – it was from a woman I worked with 15 years ago.” Me:  “I know everyone you associate with.  You’ve talked about them often enough and in not very glowing terms – except for Nicole.  But you’ve never mentioned this woman. It wasn’t some woman who you used to work with – it was Nicole, admit it.”:

So he admitted it and I demanded to read the text.  He deflected by saying:  “she just wanted to know how my day is going.  Friends ask those things, you know.”  I replied:  “That was a very long text – please show it to me.”  He refused.  When we got to my house, I refused to allow him to come in and he got angry with me for that, squealed out of the driveway, and sped up the road.  Later, he said he was angry at himself, but that was only because he knew he’d been caught and he feared losing his supply over his stupidity. 

6.  Shows no remorse or guilt for mistakes or hurt he dishes out. 

The only real apology I ever got from him was when he saw the email I’d sent to his wife and where I’d told her I was sending her a copy snail mail.  Then he was all over me in apology.  He specifically said:  

“now that you have me at your mercy, I’m begging you not to send that letter.  At least leave the paragraph about Nicole out of it if you feel you must send it.  I haven’t talked to her in over a year.  I don’t want her life ruined, too. I’m everything you said I was, and I’m so sorry I’ve ruined your life (he has the power to RUIN my life!!!!), and I’m going to tell “her” (his wife) tomorrow and ask her, since she can’t get health insurance on her own, if we can just stay married in name only and be free to see who we want. Please please please give me a few minutes of your time so we can talk?”

Stupidly, I took the call.  He immediately began accusing me, and then backed off when he saw I was dead serious.  Then he says:  “I’m going to tell her in a couple of weeks about the staying married bit – but not tomorrow because she’s had a lot to deal with lately and I don’t want to add to it.”  

Excuse the eff outta ME?  He showed ME no such consideration when he dumped all kinds of abuse on ME earlier in the week.  

So I sent it snail mail and restricted delivery to recipient only.   Mean old me.  I probably “ruined” his life, you know.  That was the ONLY time he ever apologized and he didn’t mean it.  He was sorry he was going to get caught.  Asshole. 

7.  Frequently humiliates or abuses others although he doesn’t see it as abuse. Considers most others in the world “idiots.” 

Yup.  The “idiots’ he interviewed.  The “idiots” he works with.  The “stupid cunt” and “worthless bitch” he was married to.  The “jackass at radio shack who sold him his new phone.  

8.  Sulks when he doesn’t get his way. 

OMG.  OMFG!  Yes.  Toward the end – back in June, he’d started withdrawing – getting even more distant and cold.  Typical.  He was getting ready to discard me if I didn’t fall into line.  I asked him to  PLEASE tell me what was wrong.  This is what he said:  “My tank is empty.  I’d like a toe-curling kiss and a home cooked meal from you.”  That’s not such a terrible request – only he said it when he knew I was freaking over money, he was withholding financial support, I’d gone 6 weeks without income because my state couldn’t seem to figure out how to file a combined state wage unemployment claim and my food stamps got screwed up.  He said it when I was sleep-deprived and he knew it, and when he knew I was extremely vulnerable and when I told him I understood how he might feel neglected because at that point I was taking care of MY business and not him, and that I felt it was kind of bad timing on his part, he blasted me.  “See?  See what happens when I Tell you how I feel?   You just use it against me.” He may as well have added “you bitch” to it.  I know he was thinking it. 

When we finally broke up – I’d told him I felt we needed a break and I didn’t think I wanted to see him any more.  He had to have the last word.  He “dumped” me in text by saying “I can’t do the boyfriend thing anymore – my tank is empty.  I failed you by not fixing your financial situation (huh????) and my bills are too much as it is.”  He did this the day my niece committed suicide.  

He did it the one time I really COULD have used his support.  He just tells me I’m a financial burden etc.  Oh, and he also told me earlier in the year that he’d taken a loan from his 401K so I wouldn’t have so much to struggle with.  5000K.  I saw maybe 500 of it, in the form of HIM paying things.  He never actually GAVE me any of it to use as I saw fit.  During one conversation he told me he’d cashed out insurance policies to support me.  I think that’s a lie.  Still, I included it in the letter I sent his wife, along with the info about the 5 grand.  

9.  Is unable to demonstrate or understand empathy or compassion/lacks conscience. 

Oh yeah.  My feelings never counted.  Once, I asked him if he would PLEASE just sit down and allow me to talk about my feelings without jumping in and attempting to fix things and/or make the conversation all about him.  He replied:  “I’m not that emotional guy.  I don’t get it.  If you want emotion, I’m not that guy.”  

He never once offered condolences regarding my niece; never asked how I was holding up, yet last saturday, he thought it was appropriate to text me a photo of the new car he’d just bought.  

Yup.  Mr. Financial Issues, just bought a brand new shiny car.  See – he got rid of me, so now he can afford something REALLY nice. 

Oh hell – I’m tired and I think you get the picture.  I could cite many examples of each of the criteria, but I feel like I’m beating a dead horse.  Literally.  The man is dead inside.  No spark of real life.  Just what he’s culled from his supply over the years.  He has no idea how to be human – and this guy was a pastor.  

Part of me hopes he goes back to his wife, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the women out there are safe.  He told me he never cheated on her but I don’t believe it.  He told me I was only the second woman he’d ever been with, sexually, in his life.  He married very young.  I don’t believe him.  He wasn’t THAT naive in bed – for a man who said he only had sex 3 times a year – on Christmas, his birthday and his anniversary, and then it was always missionary and over in 2 minutes.  He admitted to watching a lot of porn “to make up for the sex she withheld.”  

I’m sure he’s back having sex with his favorite two-dimensional porn stars now, cuz he sure ain’t having sex with me.  Maybe Nicole (who is married, btw) is servicing him now.  Who knows.  I don’t care.  I hope he rots in hell.  REally.  That’s not anger – that’s a genuine wish, ROFL.  

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Site

Narcissism and Relationships Blog

I’ve linked you guys to a great blog, full of REAL recovery advice, how to handle “no contact” how to get OUT of an N abusive relationship and much much more.  I stumbled on her blog while doing a search myself.  She’s also got a Facebook page.  If you’re a facebooker and you are in need of a community of support, please like her page.  You can do that from her site.

She’s well worth the continued read.  Sign up for her newsletter – it’s full of great advice.  I’m needing it myself right now!

Emotional Constipation. NPD? Maybe.

How long can a narcissist keep the  mask from slipping?  The longest I’ve seen is about 4 months, but there are moments during that time when I’ve thought I saw part of his face twitch and slide a bit.  Yup, turns out I’ve got myself someone who seems to fit  many of the diagnostic criteria for NPD.  

I’m not certain about it and I don’t want to “label” just yet, and besides, I’m no psychiatrist, but there are signs and have been signs for months.  I’ve been seeing this person for 15 months.  When we met, he told me he’d been separated for a year and was planning to file for divorce at the end of 2012. 

As a hard and fast rule, I have never dated any man who was simply “separated.”  He had to be divorced.  For more than 2 years.  I broke my rule.  I’d heard from mutual acquaintances how great this guy is, how horrible his marriage (24 years) had been and what a douche his wife is.  I was told I “couldn’t do better.”  

For the first 4 months, I believed these statements.  He was kind, loving, giving but he was also smothering me.  We had our first date on a Sunday and were supposed to go hiking.  When we got to the mountains, I find out he doesn’t hike.  So we walked around the lake, talking, etc.  I did notice he wasn’t much of a nature boy.  I’m a nature girl.  Still, I figured I could work with that – and I could and can. 

On Monday, I left work, came home and started cleaning the bathroom fan filter.  I get a call that says:  “I’m 20 min away.  Whatcha want for supper?”  I freaked.  On the phone.  His response was to simply say:  “My car just pointed itself in this direction.  No worries.  I’ll bring supper.”  We’d made no plans for Monday, he’d said nothing to me, and I’d counted on an evening alone.  Yup – I let him come over.  New relationship and all that.  RED FLAG! He just assumed I’d be okay with it.  I wasn’t okay with it but I didn’t say anything.  My bad.  So, every day thereafter, with the exception of Wednesdays, he did the same thing.  Came over, brought food, gave me grocery gift cards (I was trying to make ends meet on a low-paying temp job), gas cards, killed all the weeds outside, painted my bathroom, painted my kitchen, cleaned, did laundry, and was all-around wonderful.  Only he never asked me if it was okay and I thought I’d won the lottery and felt as though I’d have the money taken away if I challenged him on his ever-presence.  So I stayed mum.  I’m not so healed from NPD after all, am I?  I don’t seem to recognize the red flags when they’re ON my face, smothering me!

Fast forward to the end of 2012.  No divorce papers filed.  Can’t get an answer from him as to why not.  That’s when I find out he’s moved back into the family home, but she’s supposedly moved in with her elderly mother who needs care.  He’d moved back in 2 months prior and hadn’t told me.  I have no clue when she moved out.  Even now, I don’t know. 

When I asked him about the divorce he would get angry and withdraw.  He’d stare straight ahead, drum his fingers on the arm of whatever piece of furniture, and say something like:  “I’ve answered that question a thousand times already and I’m not answering it again!”  Well, no, he hadn’t answered it even once.  He’d tap danced around it, ducked and weaved, side-stepped, and changed subjects with lightning alacrity.  

The “discussions” begin – but they weren’t really discussions.  I’d talk and he’d get pissed off.  He’d tell me to get off his back.  He’d throw out some reason or another why he hadn’t filed for divorce yet.  His final reply about it was:  “I’m afraid to, okay?  You happy now? You just emasculated me!” 

Um, no, I didn’t.  I deserved an answer and that answer isn’t and wasn’t good enough.  By this time, I’d become dependent upon him for financial help.  I’d been laid off again and unemployment wasn’t paying enough to  pay bills.  He would make my car payment, pay my electric bill, pay my phone bill and buy food.  I’d do the rest with my UE check.  

Life begins to hammer me.  Lots of crap happened – temp job started; temp job ended.  Was told I’d be hired at one job after leaving on a friday and by monday I was unemployed. Unemployment screwed up my benefits and I didn’t get paid anything for almost 2 months.  Nothing.  Dept of welfare screwed up food stamps and those were a month late. They cut me off for July stating they never received “appropriate” documentation of my income.  Yeah they did.  My state is staffed with incompetent idiots.  They received it more than once. I gave up on them. 

Then my timing belt broke and took out a lot of engine parts.  New engine to the tune of $1,824.  There I was, totally dependent up on this man – no money, no food, no transportation.  Do you think he offered to help pay for my vehicle repair?  Nope.  I was totally dependent upon him for transportation.  Why would he help me become independent again?  He would bring food, but nothing healthy.  Even after telling him I can’t eat certain foods, he ignored me.  Just brought what HE wanted. 

Then we got in a huge fight and he decides not to tell me he’s volunteered for the local fireman’s carnival for three weekends in a row.  We didn’t spend much time together as it was – he was over almost every evening after work, but would always leave by 9 because he had to go home and get his “shit in a pile.”  Yeah, it’s a pile of shit, all right. 

So silly me, I go out and buy a couple of books on male/female communication – give one to him and I read the other one – this was prior to the carnival.  He’s had that book for 3 months and hasn’t cracked the binding.  He SAYS it’s because he doesn’t want to take it in the house since “she” might find it.  WTF???  Excuse me???  

I was still unemployed so I gritted my teeth, knowing I needed this man’s support. I still do – just started working again, but I’m no where near being back on my feet.  I hope to be there within 3 months.  Meanwhile I’m making nice with someone I don’t even want around me anymore,  Luckily for me, I don’t have to make excuses for not wanting to sleep with him.  It’s been too hot to sleep in my bedroom upstairs and so I’m sleeping on the sofa or an air mattress in the a/c in the living room.   He’s noticing something though because he’s trying harder these days to be super nice-man again.  I’m not buying it.  He sees his supply diminishing and knows there is no one else to get it from, so he’s trying to reel me back in.  Keep in mind, and I didn’t say this up front,  this man is extremely inexperienced with women.  He’s spent his adult life married to the same woman and if I wrote his life story here you’d understand why I totally believe him when he says he never cheated on her.  Ever.  Anyone who knows him will back that up – while it hasn’t been impossible for him, he has spent his married life caretaking for a woman who has had illness after illness after illness and once she got better, she refused to work.  He’s spent his adult life working extra jobs to support her and the two kids.  He pays almost all the bills, even though on Jan 1, (she’s working now!) they agreed to split the bills exactly in half. Almost immediately his wife’s mother needed round the clock care and so his wife couldn’t work full time.  So he’s paying everything again.  I tried to explain to him what was going on, but he doesn’t care, won’t listen.  Why?  BECAUSE HE’S NOT GETTING DIVORCED.  EVER.  He hates his wife, and he did finally file, but she’s contesting and he’s just ignoring it.  He won’t ever go through with it. 

So, how stupid am I?  Pretty stupid.  I’m in too deep and I’m attempting to extricate myself. At this point, 15 months later, he tells me he can’t provide me emotional support (yeah, like he ever used to????) because his “tank is empty” from all the time he spent caring for his unappreciative wife.  

I don’t feel sorry for him.  I’m not going to kick myself anymore.  I’m just working toward extrication.  It ain’t easy.  After this, though?  I’m probably done with relationships.  I can’t seem to pick a man who is good for me.  I thought this man was, since after 3 years of not dating and just taking care of ME, we met totally by coincidence.  I wasn’t looking and he wasn’t either.  (so he says.)  

Used to be I could do no wrong.  Now, I’m just another harpy like his wife.  No – he’s never called me that name, but he’s articulated on many occasions that his bad behavior and negative reactions to my needs are due solely to spending “the last 20 years dealing with that shit.”  Uh huh.  And he was a pastor, too.  Oh yeah.  You read that right.  

He says he does what he does because he loves me.  I’m supposed to be totally happy with financial support, food I can’t really eat, and his presence a couple hours a day.  I’m not ever supposed to ask about the progress of his divorce, or anything that might upset him. I’m supposed to just be a good little mistress, sit down, shut up and smile.  Tell him how wonderful he is.  Oh, and I’m also supposed to make him “feel like a man.”  I got told recently that I don’t do that enough.  He told me this in the middle of my most recent layoff, when I was freaking out about money, and was having other issues that I needed help with. He didn’t help with any of them – he simply intimated he wasn’t getting enough sex or home cooked meals.  He hasn’t had any since.  He’s not happy about it. Gosh.  

I’ll get out of it.  I just need to get all my ducks in a row and very coldly and calculatingly use him for what I need until I can move on.  If he won’t talk, won’t be honest, expects me to read his mind, won’t divorce, yet expects me to always be there for him – he can sleep in the bed he’s made for himself.  

Wish I had time to tell the entire story.  It’s a tale.  I don’t have the time,  though.  

And while I do have empathy for anyone who is primary caregiver to an ailing family member, the fact is that it’s not my fault he never sought help; it’s not my problem that he allowed her to drain his “tank” and it’s not my fault that I’m a normal woman who would like a man who interacts on a normal level, emotionally.  This guy is about 14, emotionally.  I already raised one teenaged boy.  Not raising another.  What’s galling about it, and I know better than to write this because it’s normal N behavior:  he would say he’s been nothing but fantastically wonderful to me.  He can’t look in his own mirror.  What he’d see would be too much for him to process.  

Oh – and when he and his wife were splitting up he agreed to counselling. He says he went to 9 sessions and walked out on the last one because each session was all about what he was doing wrong and how he’d treated her like shit.  Well, if you’re close enough to smell that it’s shit…(and I am!)

 

If You Feel Stupid…

…and were involved with a Narcissist, know that stupid is exactly  how the N wants you to feel.  Know that and allow yourself the luxury of mourning what might have been, had the individual been different; mourn the illusion, but then dry your eyes, know you’re NOT stupid and move on.

When you feel stupid and naive, it’s because that’s how the N has set things up.  You were never “good enough” for him or her.  You were nothing more than a mirror and at some point you start reflecting his or her poor qualities.  You didn’t act your part, you bad mirror.  What happens to mirrors that don’t reflect correctly?

They get discarded.  They get thrown away.

Keep your eye open.  Don’t give your heart to someone until you have dated them (not slept with them, not made out with them, not played house with them) for months.  Watch the person.  Be alert for behaviors that seem odd.  Be alert for all the characteristics inherent in NPD.

Remember this, as you date:  All of us exhibit some qualities of narcissism, but it’s not a way of life for us.  True narcissists use, abuse and live their narcissism.  Don’t ever forget that as you journey through the murky waters of the dating pool.  🙂

Narcissism In The Work Place – Redux

I see a lot of search terms in my stats that include “narcissim in the work place”  and “how to spot narcissism in the work place.”

The first and best bit of advice I can provide is this:  It’s just as difficult to spot it, initially, as it is in personal interactions.  Narcissists abound, within and without the workplace.  So be aware; prepare not only for the technical aspects of your interview, but have a small list of characteristics beneath your note-taking page to remind you what to look for.

When you first interview for a job, you’re usually so excited that you got the interview, and you’re so focused on doing your best in that interview that you don’t notice body language, tones of voice, and/or certain other behaviors that could be dead giveaways that you are interviewing with a narcissist.

Before I discuss that, though, let me say this:  If you are interviewing and/or work in corporate America, you can bet your sweet little bippie that you are surrounded by narcissists.  Perhaps your department isn’t rife with them; perhaps the individual in the cube next to you isn’t one.  You can rest assured, however, that at some point, you WILL run into one.

I suggest you first read this post.  It will open in a new tab.  Read it before you go on an interview.  Read some of the other posts I have here on NPD and Narcissists.  That won’t guarantee you won’t wind up working with a narcissist, but forewarned is forearmed.

As a rule, you don’t recognize a narcissist until they’ve already damaged you.  The average non-NPD simply doesn’t think the same way a narcissist does, and many of us have experienced the devastating fallout that comes from working with a narcissist, to the point of losing our jobs.

Narcissists will win.  Even if you manage to block a move or two, they will manage to tap dance around you, and the abuse will escalate.

Even in these tough times, I advise getting out if you find yourself in a nest of narcissim, or if you are working with one powerful enough to destroy you.  You’ll know, because your stress level will be intolerable, you will find that you are questioning your sanity where you never did prior to working with this individual and you will find that you have become grist for the rumor mill.  You go in as grain and you never come out . You simply keep getting ground.

It is better to be poor and have your self-esteem intact; to be happy with who you are, than to be financially comfortable and in constant fear for your sanity, health (stress will kill you), and miserable.

We all have choices.  Some may seem very painful at first and we don’t like pain.  No one does. Sometimes the most painful choices are the ones that are best for us and our families.

Jus’ sayin!

 

Narcissists ARE Evil.

Narcissists ARE evil.  Reasonable doubt doesn’t enter this picture.  While there are reasons that a narcissist acts the way he or she acts, those reasons do not excuse their CHOICE to act that way.

A narcissist will never do anything that does not benefit him or herself.

A narcissist makes conscious decisions; he or she makes the CHOICE to harm.

If a narcissist and his latest supply walk into a bar and the narcissist gets drunk, and then disorderly and is thrown out of the bar, whose fault is it?  If you answered “the victim’s fault” you answered correctly and this means you understand how a narcissist’s mind works.

I have posted here that I’m not certain whether a narcissist truly knows he or she treats others badly.  The reason I say that is because a narcissist, in choosing to treat another badly, makes the choice believing, in their twisted psyche, that their choice is right, good and moral.  That choice will always contain projection of their own accountability for a situation onto whomever (and sometimes whatever) they find to be their nearest victim.

While sane people KNOW a narcissist treats others badly, and does it on purpose, the narcissist has no knowledge at all.  All he has is a delusional belief system that tells him he is NOT treating others badly.

What a narcissist believes is of no relevance.  A narcissist’s mind is twisted, sick and dangerous.

What a narcissist believes is a delusion; it is a construct within which there can only be one “good” person.  You know who that person is.

A narcissist will always do only what is right for him or herself, and that action, regardless the harm done to any other individual(s), will be justified in the narcissistic mind as right.

A narcissist knows the difference between right and wrong only as it pertains to him or herself.  No one else matters.

None of the above is a justification for the pure EVIL that a narcissist perpetrates on his or her victims.

Narcissists do not and cannot love.

Narcissists do not care about you or anyone else.

Narcissists are very good at hiding all of these things – for short periods of time, usually the length of time it takes to suck in fresh supply.

Narcissists do not have relationships.  With anyone.  Period.

Narcissism is rampant in our society.  It is rampant because our culture not only encourages it, but supports it, through the venue of pop-psychology and the “gotta take care of Number One” mantra.

Narcissists do not want the best for you or anyone other than themselves.

Narcissists do not help anyone unless they can be certain it will be known by as many as possible that they have “helped.”   If you  need an example of this just look at corporate philanthropy.  That’s an entirely different post, though.

Narcissists are the embodiment of all we have been taught is morally wrong; EVIL; and they are excellent at cloaking their behavior in the guise of goodwill and self-sacrifice.

I just wanted to make that clear, in case anyone was wondering where I stand on this issue.

Narcissism in the Workplace: Moral Compass Malfunction?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be a paradox.  Maybe.  If we think about what it means to have a moral compass, or a moral agent, we can come up with at least two logical philosophies.  The first is Immanuel Kant‘s philosophy that states one must be rational to engage in morality.  The second is a philosophy put forth by the Utilitarian philosophers that states morality cannot be tied to a rational thought process; rather, that it is tied more to the avoidance of suffering.

I tend to align myself with the second philosophy for a number of reasons, the most prominent being that a Narcissist is programmed to avoid suffering at all costs.  A Narcissist’s actions will have a direct correlation to the amount of discomfort he might feel in any situation.

I’ve worked in corporate America most of my adult life.  No one warned me about narcissism in the workplace, because 30 years ago, no one knew to do such a thing.  Instead, people would tell me to stay away from so-and-so; never to get on the “wrong side” of someone else, and with one particular supervisor, to make certain that I place a copy of each of my completed projects on his boss’ desk at the same time I placed a copy on his desk.  The reasoning behind this was simple.  I was told if I wanted credit for my work, I could not just hand it over to my supervisor, because at the next staff meeting, all my work would be presented as his.

If someone in the work place tells you this about someone else, lend credence to it.  Assess the co-worker who is telling you this, watch how they interact with others and if your gut tells you they are on the level, listen to them.  I have experience with not heeding such advice and in one instance, during the early 80’s, was actually fired because I spoke up for myself in a meeting, stating the work being presented was mine and pulled out evidence to prove it.  I was fired that afternoon and no one said a word.

Narcissists in the work place are just as bad as they are outside the work place.  Have you ever had any of the following happen to you?

1.  Your work is presented, at a meeting to which you were not invited, and you found out later that your contribution to the effort was either not mentioned, or was stolen from you and presented as someone else’s work?

2.  You are provided direction for a task or process, you write down all instructions provided, and once completed, it’s determined by your supervisor’s boss that something is wrong.  You are called in to explain why you proceeded as you did, and you explain that you took direction from your supervisor, and oh-by-the-way, here are the detailed instructions, that you wrote down.  You are then told that you wrote the instructions wrong – your supervisor will read them, immediately see where he or she screwed up and rather than own accountability, will deflect blame to you, stating YOU misunderstood and your notes are wrong.

3.  It feels as though you are constantly being thrown under the bus by a co-worker, but you are never able to actually prove it.

4.  Several co-workers are also thrown under the bus and they have the same issue.  When you compare notes it all points to one person, but there is no real proof.

5.  You find, when comparing notes with co-workers, that the extremely vicious statement made by someone with regard to someone else was also made about you, and then you all realize that the same person has been setting each of you against the other.

6.  You are working in a group, and you make certain that everyone in the group is included in all communications, but you continually get emails or correspondence from one person in that group; the communication from this person seems to target you in some devaluing fashion, and the rest of the group has not been party to it.

7.  You are working in a group, and when you ask a particular individual who is hyper-critical of your efforts to please send his or her thoughts via email, they refuse.  No paper trail, no proof.

8.  You know you are doing your job well and correctly.  You are never late, you don’t take sick days, you work late when you know it’s necessary, because for some reason, the work isn’t getting done, and it’s not your piece that’s not getting done,  you are a team player, yet your direct supervisor, who arrives at work later than you do, who you know is very tight with one particular co-worker, suddenly requests a meeting and writes you up for being late, chastises you for not working smart or fast enough and shoots down your statement that your extra time has been used to complete tasks that were part of the group goal and weren’t being finished.  Then you are written up for not meeting the group goal in a “timely fashion.”

9.  You notice that a co-worker is getting preferential treatment, and getting it consistently.

10.  You’ve been “reported” for breaking “rules” and even though you can prove you did not break “rules” your supervisor tosses the proof aside and states that he or she has “evidence” that you’re at fault.

11.  One co-worker, or supervisory figure is praised for his or her work, you look around the meeting table and you see your other co-workers grimacing, because they know what you know:  that this person stole your work, lied about you, curried favor, threw you under the bus numerous times, and everyone knows that no one can truly prove it.

Those are some of my experiences.  I’m sure you’ve got others.  Narcissists in the work place function exactly as they do outside of the work place.  They curry favor with those they feel can be of benefit to them, they have no moral compass when it comes to the good of the group versus their own good.  It’s not a case of a moral compass malfunctioning.  It’s a case of having no moral compass at all.  They work very hard – at making you look bad so they can look good.  They gaslight in the same manner they would gaslight anyone else.

Many times a work place narcissist will target one person; they will target the person they have deemed the weakest.  That would be the individual who displays accountability, who works hard, doesn’t break the rules, and has an exceptional work ethic.  A work place narcissist can’t abide anyone working with them who might appear to be better at anything than they are, so they set about devaluing this individual to other co-workers and to management.

They are insidious about this process.  They don’t run to management with an issue about the person, rather; they simply sow seeds of doubt, seemingly at random.  They’ll do it at a company gathering; they’ll do it over lunch, or while chatting in the hallway.  They will cause seeds of doubt regarding the individual’s character to germinate.

They will drop a casual remark-in one instance that I witnessed, it was regarding the fact that a co-worker always wore black to work.  I heard the comment:  “I wonder why she always wears black.  I’ve never seen her in anything but black, even her mascara is really black.  Did you notice that?”

I was at the lunch table when this was said, in the presence of 9 other people, but presumably it was said to only one individual.  Heh.  Hardly.

A month later, I found that the “woman in black” who I worked with closely, had suddenly turned into a departmental pariah, rumors were flying about her personal life, and the narcissist who had started it all had even searched for her online and found that she was a member of a motorcycle club.

No one would ever say that it was the narcissist of the group who found the online information but I knew it.  No one else cared until she started her insidious devaluation of this co-worker.

Naturally, this must mean “the woman in black” is a bad person.  It must mean she does terrible, immoral things.  It must mean she cheats on her husband and is an unfit mother to her children.  It must also mean that she’s a poor reflection (like that word?) for the company, and it must also mean that she’s got personal issues.  Stands to reason, right?  She wears black, she’s part of a motorcycle club so it naturally follows that she’s a sleaze bag mom who is unfit to raise her children and the by-product of that is that she’s unfit to work for the company, even though she is one of the best workers they’ve got.

What it really meant is that the narcissist found this woman’s presence intolerable, went searching for something that she perceived as a weakness; something that could be manipulated and spun, and proceeded to infect 7 co-workers and our supervisor with her poison in an effort to get the person fired.  It worked.  Only two people didn’t buy into it.  One of those people was yours truly.  The other was the “woman in black.”

All it took was two months and a woman who had worked for this company for 11 years was fired; she was fired based on lies, a deliberate devaluing of her character based on speculation and the seed of doubt that this woman was doing the great job that everyone else thought she was doing. This was done by an individual who was transferred into the department at the beginning of those two months.

In two months, a woman who had 11 years with the company, in the same department, was fired, and since the state in which we worked was an “at will” state, the only reason she was given was “you’re not a good fit.”

The narcissist wasn’t finished though.  She’d managed to get rid of one mirror that wouldn’t reflect well for her, so she began watching for others.  I was next in line.  By this time, I knew the importance of documenting everything with regard to this woman; from the time she came in to work, to what she said in every meeting, to what I overheard her saying to others.  I refused to interact with her in any way that didn’t have a paper trail.  So how did she get me?  Easy.

I’m one who doesn’t bring my personal life to work.  No one knew much about me, other than that I was a single mom with a teenage son.  They didn’t know who I dated or if I dated.  They didn’t know if I was involved with anyone.  What they did know was my name and my son’s name.  They knew where he went to school – the usual stuff that co-workers share.  I never shared anything I didn’t feel couldn’t be printed on a bulletin board.

All it took was one comment from me, empathizing with another co-worker at lunch, who was going through the terrible teens with her child.  Just ONE comment, stating that I truly understood, and offering information about a program that was available for troubled teens.  My son wasn’t troubled – not like this woman’s was.  My son was a relatively normal and rebellious teenage boy who did the normal stuff teenage boys do.

Within a week, rumors got back to me that my son was in this program.  Then more rumors that my son was in the program because he’d been caught dealing drugs at school.  When I heard about the rumors, from someone in a totally different department, with whom I was friendly, my reaction was a completely flabbergasted:  “HUH???”

Then I got popped for a random drug test.  I came up clean, as I knew I would, but bells were clanging in my brain.  Two weeks later, I got a call from my son at 1:00 in the afternoon.  He’d been in a bad car accident,  and was part of a four-car pile up in the westbound tunnel of the area where we lived.  He was fine, car was totaled.  I raced out of the office.

That was a Thursday.  When I came in on Friday everyone wanted to know what happened.  I was cautious with details – none of it was my son’s fault – but I just don’t give out a lot of details at work.

The following Monday, I heard a rumor that my son had been arrested for DUI as a result of that accident.  Not true.  You can’t quash a rumor like that.  It bred on itself.  Over the next two months, my son’s accident went from “thank GOD he’s okay” to “her son caused a four-car pile up in the tunnel because he was stoned and he almost killed 3 other people.”

During the next month, I found out that some work I’d done on a project, that was housed in a location where everyone could access it, because they HAD to access it, was all cabbaged up. I found this out because my boss emailed me that he was getting corrupt data when he used the database involved.   I sent an email to everyone in the department stating that they were not to use the database on a particular server until I’d fixed it; that something had gone wrong causing relationships and table links to disappear.

I always kept a clean copy on my laptop, which I backed up daily.  I overwrote the corrupted database with the clean copy, sent an email less than ten  minutes after being notified, that it was okay to start using the database again.  Situation solved, right?

The next day, I came into work to find my laptop on and that someone had logged in as “admin.”  I questioned everyone.  The narcissist in the group turned around and said:  “Oh, I had to get hubby up here to help run some reports and he used your laptop.  He was a peach to do it, since I knew you’d be too busy today to get to them.”  Her husband was in our IT department.

My head instantly spun like Linda Blair’s.  I calmly thanked her, turned to my laptop to find an IM from a co-worker who sat behind me.  It said:  “check the database on the server – it’s all screwy again.”  I checked.  It was corrupt beyond corrupt.  I IM’d back:  “no problem – I’ll just overwrite it.”  I went to the folder where my clean copy was always kept and it was gone.  I checked my restore point – it had been changed.  I frantically checked the cds where I kept a daily copy (it was a small database, but crucial to operation of the department and company), and an entire 5 days worth of cds were missing.

I couldn’t restore the database with current information.  It was my JOB to be able to do that if it was deemed necessary.  I went to my boss to tell him.  He told me to shut the door and proceeded to tell me that he’d been advised that I was having difficulty concentrating on my work, and that there had been several mistakes found in the database, even when the copy was “clean.”  I asked him who told him this and he refused to tell me who.

I knew who had done it.  He then went on to say that he felt it was in the best interests of the company if my relationship with the company was severed, since it was apparent that my “personal” issues were causing too much pressure on me to be able to function with the accuracy necessary for my position.  He chastised me for it.  He stated that “others” had noticed my “work was slipping” and when I again asked who had noticed, he refused to tell me.

So I asked WHAT personal issues.  Our friendly departmental narcissist had done her job well.  My boss, who knew me to be reliable, productive, knowledgeable and who used me as his go-to person for anything requiring data, told me that my son’s “drug-related car accident” seems to be causing my focus to slip, and that this had been brought to his attention several times over the preceding three months.

He stated that since my service to the company “up to this point” had been exemplary, that he would give me 30 days so that I would have time to find a new job.  I replied to that with:  “If you are going to fire me, please fire me.  I won’t quit; not now, and not in 30 days.”  So he fired me.

Narcissist won.  She got me out of there.

She got one other person out, after she was finished with me.

Guess what?  Two months after she got her last “tarnished mirror” out, she was part of an enterprise-wide downsize.  SHE was given no notice, was told, mid-day, when a security guard came to her desk with her pink slip, stood over her while she packed her personal belongings and then escorted her to her car and watched as she drove off the lot.

It’s small comfort, because her actions with regard to me, happened in 2009, just after the economy began its downward spiral.  I found a job, moved out of state for it, and it evaporated before I could start.  I was living with family in that state, so at least I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to keep a roof over my head.  Three months later I found a job.  A week into it, I was told that office was closing and my options were an 8 week severance package or a transfer to the city where I now live.  I took the transfer.  A year later, I was downsized.

And here I am, 7 months later, unable to find work.  Would I have been caught in that initial enterprise-wide downsize that the departmental narcissist was caught in?  I don’t know.  The odds are pretty good, I’d have been transferred, or something would have been found for me, as that’s what was done for those who had an exemplary record and seniority within the department.  Had the narcissist not been transferred into my department, I might still be working there.

Might, maybe, what-if?  Who knows.

This is a cautionary tale.  I know of no way to protect oneself against a narcissist in the work place.  I’ve tried.  Documentation doesn’t seem to do any good.  If you are targeted by a workplace Narcissist know this:  They have NO moral compass.  They will steal from you, lie to and about you and if you appear in any way to outshine them, they will set about devaluing you in a most insidious fashion and you won’t realize the bus ran over you until you look down from your out-of-body perch on the ceiling to find the bus didn’t accidentally hit you.

I wish I had answers for you.  I don’t.  Corporate America breeds an environment that is conducive to narcissism.  It breeds an all-or-nothing environment that deliberately places co-workers in competition with one another.  Throw a true NPD into the mix and all bets are on the N coming out on top – at least for the time being.

The carnage will be horrific, and the N will be standing triumphantly over it, beaming beatifically at your former boss, while surreptitiously fingering their fake moral compass that always reads correctly, because that compass is missing the mechanisms that a normal compass would have.   That compass tells the Narcissist that true north points at him or her and since it has no magnet to move the hand, it will always point at him or her.  A Narcissist’s moral compass will always show him the way – and that way is toward his own glory.

The compass doesn’t malfunction.  It is an empty housing, just like the Narcissist.

 

 

Vote!!

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!