If you think you have been associating with a Narcissist read on!

If you are here then there is a fair chance you think you have been associating with an N! Good for you for searching and finding out about it! Let's start with the first thing you need to know - IT REALLY ISN'T YOU! I know you are worried about that! Rest assured you are fine just as you are; you have done your best. It isn't you. But it sure as hell is them!

When I was wondering, my god is it me? Why is she like that? Am I so awful? It took a while for me to actually work out what was going on with my mother. I remember (when she was still talking to me) trying to search online for the answer to why she was the way she was. Back then I didn't have any clue how to word it. I came across narcissism, but it somehow just didn't seem to fit. You kind of imagine Narcissists as being grandiose actors or maybe certain supermodels, Polititans or pop stars! In the film Iron Man (2 I think!) Tony Stark is pleased he is a "text book Narcissist" and it certainly fits with the kind of character he is (although he gets away with it). It is sometimes less obvious that a retired housewife from the suburbs with hardly any friends could possibly fit that mould! However as I soon found out they can and they do.

My first clue to my mother's "problem" was when I realised that if co-workers or bosses spoke to me in the manner she did, they could be taken to court for abuse/harrassment! It was then that I finally typed Abusive Mother into Google and found Narcissistic Personality disorder and various sites relating specifically to Narcissistic mothers which went a long way to show how the 9 characteristics fits with normal suburban folk rather than world famous types!

So the first thing is the 9 symptoms: A person needs to have at least five of these behaviours to be considered to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder -

1) Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g. exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without corresponding achievements).

2) Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, beauty, or ideal love.

3) Believes that he or she is "special" and/or unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people.

4) Requires excessive admiration.

5) Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.

6) Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.

7) Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

8) Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

9) Shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes

At this point you may have read these and feel not sure!

You may be thinking X would kill me if they thought I was even thinking this about them. You may feel guilty. You may feel sorry for them, after all they tell you nearly daily what a hard life they have had, and how it's not their fault, how it was everyone else's fault that life has not been good to them etc. How it may even be your fault?

You are here as your instinct is telling you there is something wrong with the picture you have been shown since childhood (If parent) or since you met this person (partner/boss/co-worker)! Listen to it. There is something wrong with the picture and they should not be treating you this way. It doesn't matter how hard a life they have had, they have a choice to treat their kids or partners (employees/co-workers etc.) decently!!!

So how can these symptoms or behaviours shows themselves in a normal person?

1) Grandiose sense of self importance - this can manifest in a number of ways. It is not necessary thinking she is queen of the suburb, but anything in which they can be seen as "important". If the N in your life has a small existence and isn't a member of clubs or has much of a social life where maybe they would aspire to be chair of the local group, or head of the church cleaning group, or anything which gives them a sense of prestige or position over others, it can manifest in the way they act to people such as waiters or waitresses! If they treat them like dirt that is the self-importance coming out!

My mother always took on things like being involved in committees, e.g. the PTA or as Secretary of the Company for a community of apartments. She was especially at home taking the meetings and seeming important! She was doing quite well for a while as she had more flats that any other owner, until another N came along and equalled her holdings! You should have seen the fur fly then as they battled it out to be superior!

A classic example of this "symptom" was in the form of Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances - she was totally Grandiose, even down to her china "with the hand painted periwinkles"!

I have seen this grandiosity come out as a pre-occupation that others are expected to be jealous of the N. It's quite amusing when you notice it, that there are some N's who live bizarre lives that NO ONE would aspire to or be jealous of, yet the N truly believes that when he/she does X.Y,Z that others are jealous! Actually the normal ones probably think the N is rather bizarre to behave as they do, and jealousy is the last thing they feel; pity possibly!!

They are the kind of person that says, "Oh you should have seen X when I showed up?" or "They were all there watching me!" Or "When I told X their jaw hit the floor!" all said with smug smile! In some cases play along is the best action! "Wow, I bet they were all so envious!" - just laugh quietly inside your head and smile sweetly!

2) Preoccupied with fantasises of unlimited power, success, beauty, idea love.

In my mother's case it was ideal love. Or in reality the man she chose not to follow as she wanted her inheritance and because she didn't, she blamed the man she married all the thirty odd years they were together! Oh but X was the love of my life! Really? But you went for the cold hard cash instead?

It's difficult to imagine how housewives and suburban mothers might have these other fantasies e.g. of unlimited power etc, but honestly it is a dark place in an N mind, so it's quite likely they all have these! However there may be a few bosses, partners and co-workers who think just that, quietly wishing they could plot against the boss etc.

3) Belief that they are special. In most cases with mothers I think this would come out as "you couldn't possibly understand" (said in martyr-ish tone). They make it quite clear that you are nothing in comparison. They certainly want special treatment and I am pretty sure my mother thinks the law doesn't apply to her! She is above it. The rules are made for everyone else but her. For instance she doesn't get out of the way of speeding emergency vehicles and thinks the motoring rules are not applicable to her! She will also rage if challenged! I have yet to find out whether that tactic will work on the policeman that eventually catches her! This characteristic also makes them snobs. Hyacinth in Keeping Up Appearances also thought she was special, wanting to be on the Captain's table, or an invite to Buckingham Palace!

4) Requires excessive admiration. Fairly self explanatory that one, even in the case of suburban mothers! They'll want everything from their hairdo, to their shoes, to their prize pansies to be enthused over. You'll soon know if you haven't done enough enthusing! I think wanting to be centre of attention also falls into this category. The N will always be the one holding court over the table, or if they are short on friends will be the one who just doesn't stop talking! If there are three people in the room, the N will be the one who butts in and hijacks the conversation ... for the next three hours! I know I keep mentioning Hyacinth Bucket but she was such a good example! All the times she invited Liz over just in the hope she'd notice and admire something (except that the poor woman was always scared stiff!).

5) Sense of entitlement. This is fairly obvious - Narcissists expect! They'll expect the world, and better treatment than anyone etc., and they won't say thanks. In fact if you're their child, they will call it your "duty" to do it all for them.

6) Interpersonally exploitative. Again this one speaks for itself. They pit people against one another, their kids included, just so they can get what they want. They also will exploit people's empathy and sympathy to get what they want. And of course they manipulate.

7) Lacks empathy. To watch a Narcissist in action one could imagine they believe they are the only ones with feelings. They certainly do not respect anyone else's, yet faced with the same harsh treatment that they usually dish out they will crumple as if the world has ended or rage like a Banshee. My mother's head would probably explode if she was dealt a little Karma for all the harsh words she has said to me, and happened to get it all back. In fact my mother's version of sympathy/empathy was listening for five minutes, hijacking the conversation, talking for an hour about how bad her life had been and then telling me I had no right to expect better! (Normally finished off with a bout of self pity saying "Well we're cursed anyway!" … don't ask! Something to do with her Grandmother knowing witch-doctors! Actually probably another N with a grudge and an overdose of arrogance!)

8) Envious of others or believes others are envious of them. Again this one can be fairly easy to spot. They will be totally pre-occupied with what others think and of course will believe people are envious of them even if there is relatively little to be envious of! My mother walks around with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp, is miserable as sin etc but you can bet your bottom dollar she will believe someone is envious of her! Another N I know is convinced everyone is jealous of his bizarre lifestyle (see under Grandiosity!).

9) Shows arrogant or haughty behaviours. Mother likes to stick her nose in the air, or walk down the High Street loudly criticising those that don't meet with her approval! Can't get much more arrogant or haughty than that! The last time I saw her she walked past me with her nose in the air, like a stuck-up three old in a sulk!

My mother is particularly strong on 2, 5, 6, 7 and 9!

So what else do you need to know? Three things particularly and these are hallmarks of the Narcissist.

They rage.

They project.

They gaslight.

Narcissist rage: This is what you get no matter how much you try to walk on eggshells around them! Whether it is a yearly event or a weekly event they will blow up over nothing and rage at you. Chances are that in order to rage, they have also been needling at you for some time before the explosion. Basically they rage when they are caught out (either in a manipulation or lie), they rage when you are down (they always know how to kick someone else when they are down!), they rage when they haven't got what they expected (entitlement), give them the slightest excuse and they will rage. Mostly it is about them not getting "supply". Supply is what they need to live. It is their need for attention. This need not be positive attention either, some will quite happily needle and provoke others to get a rise out of them, it is the REACTION they want and it does not seem to matter whether it is a good reaction or not! However the reaction gives them the excuse to call you all the names under the sun. At this point they project!

So if you are suddenly faced with a raging N who is calling you a lousy good for nothing, lazy, selfish, ungrateful, ugly, whore, pathetic, spendthrift, killjoy, to some extent they are talking about themselves (or an aspect of their hidden self). Narcissists take all their fears and deepest insecurities about themselves and project them on to others. It can be pretty demoralising being on the end of repeated N rage but actually all the names they call you are either things about themselves they hate so much they literally can't face so they "put it on someone else" or it is to do with their fears.

For instance, my father told me age 20, "No man will ever love you!" I can tell you that did me up good and proper for more years than I'd care to contemplate. Those words came down to two things, 1) He didn't feel loved so why should I dare expect it 2) He was scared out of his wits some man would love me and I'd escape his co-dependent fruitloop clutches!(He had a charming mix of Narcissism, Paranoia and Obsessive Compulsive!).

With an N the chances are high that you were quietly minding your own business when along they came and demanded "What's wrong with you!" Actually there was nothing wrong with you, you were having a perfectly pleasant day but boy do you know you're in trouble now! I tried various methods to deal with it. None worked! The count to ten seconds doesn't work as they don't give you ten seconds before an insult comes flying. Reasoning doesn't work as they can't be reasoned with. And an outright "There is nothing effing wrong with me!" doesn't work either. All three can be tailored to their want for a reaction! If you have the strength and determination walking away with a pleasant expression may work but chances are they'll follow, needling!

The bottom line with raging and projection is they are trying to provoke a reaction. The best you can do is try not to make any reaction back. Certainly do not appear upset. That is what they are after! While it is no doubt engineered to upset and be hurtful the best thing to remember about it is they are really talking about themselves.

Now to gaslighting! Named after the film Fanny By Gaslight, an old film where the husband tried to make the wife think she was going nuts! Gaslighting does indeed make you think you are going nuts. Your certainly question your sanity, in between pondering whether they have Alzheimers! This is way they will rewrite history or just say things to make you wonder what the hell is wrong with your mind. It is not you. It is them.

An example from my own life was that I was banned from seeing my friends out of school for circa 4.5 years. If I mention this, she will deny it and tell me I had sleepovers! Actually I had two or three sleepovers, before the ban. But for 4.5 years I was not allowed to see my friends out of school, and I was ostracised as a result of it. But apparently I have got all those bad memories wrong, it never happened! They say they didn't say or do stuff or tell you they said stuff or did stuff that they didn't. They will deny your reality and call you mad (projection!!)!

Along a similar line if you had two lessons for something out of school, they will make out they took you day in day out, probably for years, and how ungrateful that you "don't remember". Gaslighting is crazy making. But they are the crazy ones. Rest assured it is not you and you are not losing your mind. And those times when you second guess yourself, it is because your gut is telling you you're right. It's them!

So what else do they do?

The Smear campaign. Chances are if you have got yourself away from your N or drastically reduced contact with them, you will be the target of a smear campaign. They will target your friends and any other relatives. In families they will try to isolate the one who is brave enough to stand up to them by trying to convince the relatives you are the nasty one. If you break up with an N partner the chances are you will hear the words "I will ruin your life" - especially if they were caught out on their evil ways. Cue a manipulative campaign to turn your friends against you, with lies and projections and gaslighting!

If they are not quite up to the smear campaign eg the relatives maybe won't believe it anyway, they will try and drive a wedge. As with all things to do with N's they want the reaction. They get their energy and kicks from hurting people, so the best way to deal with it, (hard as it can be) is not to react. Ignore it. Being ignored is about the worst thing for a N.

They may try another tactic but even the most dogged N will give up when faced with silence and blank faces! After all there are easier victims about so they will go off for an easier target!

Hoovering - This is an N classic. When you pull away, when you realise they're toxic and reduce contact, you may experience "hoovering". They may suddenly be apologetic, trying to be friendly, wanting attention. If it's an ex you may find a little of the old charm coming back. Don't fall for it! It's just tactics to manipulate you back into your old role. It's fake, it won't last, it's not even real!

Flying Monkeys - Similar to hoovering but instead of doing it themselves they use their loyal followers (the "still brainwashed") to do their dirty work. Expect guilt trips but those that have been manipulated to believe all the N lies. They are just trying to hoover you back into the web. Again, it's tricks and deception!

I think I have covered the main points, I may add to this if I see omissions. I will also add links intermittently of articles or websites that cover the subject that I have seen that have good information.

Good luck, the road to healing is possible.

You can live a life of freedom away from this insanity.

You can be happy!

You can live your dreams!

You can love yourself!

You can have the best and you do deserve the best!

MP ;-)

 

 

 

I found these links useful (I have no affiliation to any of these websites) -

www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com

www.parrishmiller.com/narcissists.html

www.willieverbegoodenough.com

www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-intelligent-divorce/201311/the-narcissistic-mother

www.wikihow.com/Survive-With-a-Narcissistic-Mother

www.bandbacktogether.com/Adult-children-of-Narcissistic-Parents-resources

 

Also look on Facebook at

Emerging From Broken 

After Narcissistic Abuse

Freedom From Parental Narcissistic Abuse

Knowing A Narcissist

For useful Information and support