It’s Narcissist Friday!
In the summer of 1999, Andrea tried to kill herself several times. She had four children, lived in a motorhome, and followed an ultra-fundamentalist preacher. Her engineer husband got her to a psychiatrist who promptly put her on medication and urged the couple not to have more children. In November of 2000, Andrea gave birth to her fifth child, after removing herself from her medication to protect the baby in utero.
When Andrea’s father died in March of 2001, she stopped taking her meds again and began to neglect the youngest child. She became incapacitated and had to be hospitalized. Her doctor warned her husband that she was suicidal again and should not be left alone with the children. But, on June 20, 2001, Rusty Yates left for work, entrusting the care of his children, all under seven years old, to his mentally and emotionally ill wife.
On June 20, 2001, Andrea Yates drowned her children, one by one, in the bathtub.
The next few years were spent in hospitals and courts. Rusty expressed his love for Andrea and his concern that he would never be a father again. He blamed the doctors, the insurance company, and the drug manufacturer for her actions. He apparently did not acknowledge his own contribution to her actions, particularly the fact that he encouraged her to continue having unprotected sex and chose to leave her with the children so that she would grow back into her responsibilities as a mother.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Rusty and Andrea divorced in March of 2005. Rusty said he still cared about Andrea, but, “I couldn’t live that way.” He began dating and expressed his desire to remarry and have more children.
In March of 2006, shortly before Andrea was to face the court again to determine whether she was insane at the time of the murders, Rusty married a woman he met at church. He said he wished Andrea the best.
Now, almost all of this can be found in an article on Andrea Yates in Wikipedia. You can check out the details for yourself, but most of these things are common knowledge, particularly for anyone who followed the case over the years. What seems incredibly obvious to many people is that Rusty Yates exhibited multiple signs of narcissism.
I remember watching the news reports of this case at the time and noticing that Rusty seemed almost indifferent to the fact that all of his little children were dead. He seemed artificial in his commitment to Andrea. In fact, he seemed artificial overall. His responses to the media were strange and distant, like he was a spectator and not intimately involved. I know that trauma causes similar reactions sometimes, but Rusty appeared very much like a man I had worked with, one I strongly believe was and is a narcissist.
Every part of me wants to hold the narcissist accountable for his or her actions. I have seen and read so much pain expressed by the victims of narcissists. But so few narcissistic abusers will, in this life anyway, be held accountable. How many suicides and murders have been prompted by the persistent cruelties and mind-warping depersonalization narcissists have committed? Perhaps far more than we know.
But, you see, this is where the narcissist super-power comes to save them. They manipulate the way others see them. No one but their victims believes the cruelties. No one can point to anything the narcissist has done to cause the problem. They manage to stay separate from their actions and, when it comes crashing down around them, they have prepared others to take the fall.
Oh, there are narcissists in jail, usually because of how they handle money. Because they see themselves as untouchable and others as stupid, narcissists often underestimate the ability of auditors or law enforcement to discover their indiscretions. But in personal relationships they are nearly immune from accountability. Even if their victims manage to escape or tell others, the narcissists simply move to other sources for their supply. It means little for a narcissist to give up a family. He may not wish to lose a battle, but people don’t matter to him.
Now I know that this is bringing up feelings of anger for those who read this from a victim’s perspective. But please hear me: you cannot take on yourself the responsibility of making the narcissist accountable. In other words, as plainly as I can say it, Please don’t go out and do something to the narcissist! Anything you do will come back on you. There are other ways.
I will leave you with two things: First, you must rescue yourself. Find the strength and support to get away from the narcissist. Get healthy. The best thing you can do to fight back is to find freedom and strength for yourself. Find a good counselor (and don’t stop looking until you find one who listens and understands) and maintain strong boundaries. Don’t let the narcissist run or ruin your life.
Second, you can reach out to the other victims of your narcissist. They are out there. I have heard some amazing stories of ex-wives reaching out to current wives. (You can find one of those in the comment sections on this blog.) You might not be able to stop the narcissist, but you might be able to rescue some victims or even potential victims. And don’t be afraid to report things that are illegal. Be careful that he hasn’t implicated you, but speak up when you see financial “irregularities.” Narcissists often break the law and hurt people who trust them. Maybe you can do something about that.
And remember that there is a Judge who sees the truth. The narcissist will not go unpunished. In his quest for control, the narcissist rarely submits to the Lord. Evil will end and justice will be done.
Thanks for reading this long post. The Lord loves you and accepts you. Come to Him and find the freedom you need. There is peace in Jesus.