It’s Narcissist Friday!

It appears to be essential for the narcissist to be in control.  The more unpredictable or hazardous their world becomes, the more uncomfortable the narcissists become.  An erratic workplace or relationship, where the narcissist can’t seem to find a stable place, is very undesirable.

While it appears that the narcissist considers himself superior to everyone, most actually feel quite inferior.  They feel as though they must always prove themselves in comparison with others and they must always win.  If they lose, are shown to be wrong or weak somehow, they feel as though they become less than the other person and vulnerable.  But the narcissist has worked very hard to not be vulnerable.  No, the relationship or the environment must be brought under control.

Understanding this need to avoid risk and weakness will help us understand why the narcissist thinks and acts the way he/she does.  This gives an explanation for his attitude at family gatherings where he is not the center of attention.  If he feels intimidated or vulnerable, he can either hide or be in control.  Many narcissists are the “life of the party” when they are in groups.  If they can’t be in the center, they don’t want to be there.  Why?  Because they are frightened.

This helps to explain why the rest of us are ever good enough, wise enough, or successful enough.  The narcissist must be better than the rest of us so he can control the conversation.  It explains the lying, the isolating, and so much more.  When control becomes an obsession, any method is fair.

I learned long ago that some people handle life from the inside, while others handle it from the outside.  What that means is that some people find control within themselves and it doesn’t really matter what happens around them.  Others, however, can’t find that control from within.  They may not want to look inside or what’s inside may be broken.  So they try to handle life by controlling the people and the things around them.  They reason that a secure and subdued environment will give them the peace they can’t find inside.

Now, that may be true of more people than those we consider narcissistic, but it is certainly true of narcissists.  Inside a narcissist is a dark place with a cowering child, weak and so afraid.  Unsure of any relationship, unable to define love, and unwilling to accept the self he/she believes in, the narcissist must find security on the outside.  And, again, when control is necessary, any means, no matter how ruthless or unscrupulous, is acceptable.

And when control is impossible, the narcissist must either work harder or abandon the attempt and move elsewhere.  Many narcissists become psychological abusers and/or serial job seekers and lovers.

This aspect of narcissist behavior is all too familiar to those who read here.  The need to control seems definitive among narcissists, although the methods will differ.  All nine of the classic characteristics of narcissism can be linked to the need for control.  Again, the ways this works out for each individual and each relationship will look different, but it helps to understand the basic need.

Sadly, I have come across a powerful example of this topic.  This story is presented from one side, so take it with a small grain of salt; but it will feel familiar to some of you.

If you read this, come back here and tell me what you think.  So sad to see people hurting so much.


Filed under Narcissism

39 responses to “Control

  1. The link isn’t working for me.

    I see a lot of myself in today’s post. Is that just because I have been so broken by a narcissist that it’s my defense mechanism kicking in? Become like the N in order to survive? Or is it my own sin nature, sometimes leaning dangerously close to that disorder?

    I know I wasn’t always this way. I wasn’t always so needy. And sometimes I’m better and able to love others more selflessly. Sometimes though, I just feel like I have this deep need that can’t be satisfied. I work hard to grasp and hold onto the truth that my security is in Christ. But even so, yes, erratic work environments and erratic friendships just wreck me. I do think some order and stability and good communication and genuineness would bring me more stability. Is that wrong? Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be, but isn’t, because of sin?

    • Troubled

      Repol, I am with you. As you learn about this terrible think called Narcissism you start looking at yourself and others and think who else is going to blind side me. Who else is faking it and Oh my that person has those characteristics and I didn’t even notice before. I am starting to feel more than one is abusing me and yet I look to myself. No I am not an N. I care about others deeply. As Pastor Dave says these tendencies can appear. The test is do you have all 8 characteristics. I know you don’t. Me I am caught in the land of Why Me? Yes my N had control and led me right down the path he wanted to and then very quickly discarded me when I wasn’t following the script. How do we move on?

  2. Maggie

    Wow Pastor Dave. I was mesmerized by the article, the situation, and the law . I am very familiar with this faith group. I think there may be more to the story. For example, that the spouse’s narcissism is likely being medicated in other ways (in addition to control) that are also highly offensive to marriage. No doubt this is evident to the wife and her camp . Interesting that the rest of the story will remain private to protect. The community is brilliant at protecting the community although clearly this wife’s attempt to expose the issues is brave and certainly breaks tradition. She has my utmost empathy.

    I cannot relate to this entirely except to write that my spouse is attempting to control our separation and divorce by implying it is my childhood wounding that KEEPS ME from doing the necessary work to keep the marriage. Sadly as a faithful woman and spouse, who is deeply wounded by betrayal and the n behaviors, I have wasted time ruminating thoughts as to whether or not I have done enough. He knows how critical keeping the marital covenant with God is to me and he uses this relentlessly. It is the ultimate attempt at control… to bring God into it.

    I hope I have not done the same on some level. I have certainly asserted God into many attempts to control him into admitting his cruel and unjust behaviors . I know interiorly I am speaking from truth, not control but in essence if his answer is no and it is no than any further asserting is control..I guess?? Could use some clarity on this. So often the n’s behavior and the non n’s behavior is similar but with different interior motivations. I get my interior motivation but I still cannot wrap my mind around his.

    I like what you wrote about control from within . I get mixed up sometimes on this. I use a lot of energy and frankly control in conversation to stop the effects of the n’s words on me. I hope that is ” good” control…maybe not. I like to think asserting boundaries that may look like control to another is just that, boundaries to control the effects of the n, only. In this way I am controlling from within.

    The recovery from n abuse is a long road. I am happy to have all of you on it.

    • Fellow Survivor

      Maggie, Oh boy, I could have written your post myself.. I know it is not funny and there is a lot of pain, but when you write that he told you it was your “childhood wounding that keeps me from doing the necessary work to keep the marriage” I just about started laughing. I can not imagine a more excellent example of “PROJECTION” I don’t know your background but I am sure he has studied and learned about your most intimate secrets from your childhood so he uses it against you, although it has nothing to do with his abusive behavior towards you. He just put all of his pain onto you, and like I told Repol, its not yours. Its his pain and it belongs to him. And guess what, you don’t have to carry it.

      There was one time when my ex looked at me and said “We could have had it all” meaning a perfect life. Oh, yea, right. I staid home and watched the child, paid the bills, etc while she went out and partied. What she meant is “She could have had it all” No responsibilities but all the fun. It was working out great for her. But like you, when I asserted boundaries, meaning ” I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”, well, they don’t like that very much

      I read a good article today about how they dump there stuff on you and love to watch us squirm. As long as we are upset and still carrying their baggage, they just go off with the new source of N supply and have a grand ol time. The article was saying, return the baggage to them, reclaim that part of you that they stole, and then they will have no choice but to dump their baggage on the next poor soul.

      This is what I am working on right now. Give their crap back to them. We are carrying decent loving people, we are not what they say we are, we are who we are. They are the broken ones, let them deal with it. No matter how happy go lucky they appear to be, it just doesn’t matter. Dump their baggage, its not ours to carry.

  3. David

    I reviewed the nine “Classic Characteristic of Narcissism” you linked in your article. The thought occurred to me — Narcissism is as ugly on conservative politicians as it is on liberal politicians. Both live in the same extremely “hazardous and unpredictable” world. Yet, I believe many Americans are craving honesty and humility from our leaders. Can such quality candidates be found? And could they survive? (No specific further comment.)

  4. E

    The article was very sad. That type of law seems to allow for the fact that its followers make mistakes, offering a way out and the freedom to start again. What it doesn’t compensate for is the fact that not everyone under that law is a nice guy. The “law,” wether civil or religious, sometimes favors and empowers some bad folks. For example, we can pretty much sue anyone for any reason these days. Jesus was a victim of the law of His time. Though His purpose was greater and crucifixion was pre-determined, we can’t help but find fault with the system that trumped up charges and gave Him an express pass to death row when actual criminals were set free. It just isn’t fair no matter how you look at it.

    Bad people exploit “loopholes” all the time. But it’s much worse when they use a concrete legal system to legitimize and validate an abusive hold over another person. I’ve heard stories about civil court being used to get back at an estranged spouse or child. Just the experience of being dragged to court was punishment enough even if the charges proved ridiculous. My own mother took her brother to court. He couldn’t just say “no thanks,” he was now required to appear and legally obligated to hear her out. What a wonderful feeling for the narcissist when she has the law on her side.

  5. L D

    Wow, seems like yet another man twisting scripture to justify his narcissism. So sad. Real love and humility is always lacking with the narcissist.

  6. UnForsaken

    Dave, can’t make myself link right now…probably over-stress, but have seen how Any strict religious group starts to resemble each other in things like that. LD, you got it.
    “Unable to define love” and the control issue are subjects that fill my journal . A very special praise: this week was hard and helda nasty opportunity for some real character damage(socially) . Last min. they decided they were too tired to participate consequently saving me a Lot of pain and embarrassment ! Can’t expect that for the rest of the holidays, but it was a huge answer to prayer !

  7. Rox

    This is an incredibly sad story, and my prayers go out to the author and her young son. This story helps me put my own N situation in perspective. I’m not tied to my N, a cleric and one of my former closest friends, by anything but the love I feel for him as a brother. I have tried with all my heart to get him to see that he is hurting people and endangering himself. I’m heartbroken that he has abused his friends and God-given gifts to try to control everyone. I’m having a difficult time pulling away from this mess because we were friends for our entire adult lives, and I love him very much. I pray that God is with me, and with the author of The Post article, as we try to re-order our lives, which our tornadic Ns sought to destroy.

    • Troubled

      Rox, Although our story may not be as bad as others, it still hurts. A lot. For me to feel you had a friend and then be thrown away in the blink of an eye. It hurts. We own our pain. I work on wanting to outsmart him at his own game, talk to him and ask why, Apologize…I can’t find the right words. He would know I was lying to apologize for calling him judgemental. It makes me wonder is he an N or am I just hurt and want to latch onto something. It is a good excuse maybe Im just not likable. But no. The characteristics….yes he matches all 8. It is too compelling. But I must roll it around, obsess, get over and fall again. It is their trick. He led me down a path and I am not popular enough, smart enough, I’m not enough something to keep him a friend. Just me. It hurts. I know you are hurt and you are justified. That is how I truly know he is an N because it makes no sense and they wont listen. Normal people care and listen. At least that is what I learned here. Thankfully. I suffer less because of here and maybe the answer will reveal itself…of course we all just want our N back in whatever form they were present in our lives. Well let me rephrase some are glad to be rid of and yes for them that is the right choice. Others had a true friend and some had a tormenter. Funny how this same N came be so many different things.

      • UnForsaken

        Dear Troubled, you are traveling down the same thoughts I’ve puzzled over so often. I too hace it “easy” compared to so many…..but I began to wonder why it made me feel just like the descriptions I’d heard for other Real abuse. It made me start to take the resulting stress seriously like you , not ignore it like I had been . If it’s any encouragement, your posts are showing a growing strength that has deeply encouraged me ! We are all going to keep getting better!

    • UnForsaken

      Tornadic ! Thanks for another great phrase, Rox!

      • Troubled

        Unforsaken you are right. I feel like I have learned so much and yet the pain and the why just does not go away. Well it’s easier and I sleep better so I guess. If on a 1- 10 I was like negative 3 in the dumps. Now I would say Im a 5. There is so much wisdom and love here all I can say for any newcombers is search the blogs and you will find your story and some kind soul will leave answers. For me the story goes on. It is a personal battle because I was discarded. There is no working it out with the N. He has assured me I am weird and I am confused. He went from swinging in my office daily to actually treating me invisible…So here I am continueing to seek support but also impart hope at the very least that you can get yourself in a better spot mentally if that is your issue. And yes somedays I feel strong and somedays I am mad at me because it’s so weird and confusing.

      • UnForsaken

        Troubled, although I’m Perhaps a 6-8 now, I was discarded by another N afew years ago….on not so personal a basis as yourself. It took me three years to get past the negative3 stage, so you are doing Really well! I think it’s so cool you’re reading the other articles/blogs too! I just finished skimming and will have to go back and do it again through the holiday season. Great reminder!

  8. Kelly T.

    Dave, I am really trying not to get sucked into the vortex of my mother’s narcissism. I have kept a fair distance. She is moving to a condo after a decades of living in the home she and my dad built. He died 18 years ago of cancer. Her behavior of late, with moving, is OFF THE RICHTER scale. I have nightmares at night about her and all the neglect, passive aggression growing up and her current mean words. My brother does not live here so I deal with her on her business affairs. She is able bodied and well. She is so mean to me. I know how the NPD works because of my divorce of 22 years. Why does it hurt more coming from my mom? Sometimes I do not know how I am going to manage this until she passes away.

    • Kelly, I rarely get to answer on the weekends and I have so little time now, but I want to encourage you. It hurts because it isn’t supposed to be this way. Whatever brokenness your mom has is causing this evil, but she appears quite willing to share it with you. Remember that you don’t have to do what she says when she says to do it. Nor are you judged by her standards. Decide whether or not to answer the phone or to see her. Only do it if you are ready. Since you already know that she will dump on you, you might as well ignore as much as you can. If she can’t reach you or control you it will just make her mad and she will yell at you. So how is that any different than when she can reach you? You see my point. She does not, can not, must not control your life. Nor can she ruin your day. She may see nothing besides herself, but you are not limited in the same way. You have a life and value and purpose apart from her. Each day, tell yourself: I am valued. I am accepted. I am loved. Because you are!

      • Kelly T.

        Thank you Dave. You are right. The outcome with the NPD is the same either way. I will not tolerate emotional and verbal abuse, even if it is my mother.

      • UnForsaken

        Dave, your suggestion is perfect and came just when I needed a reminder along with you Kelly T. . Would you consider addressing the adult child/N relationship more closely in another post? I still have to live with mine and aside from emotional dependence, which I’ve finally over come, have to rely on him for everything . I keep on wanting to shout ,” If I could have left, don’t you think I would have done it years ago ? “And I also worry about what to do if my health actually did improve. As you know, just dealing with the fall-out can be a stress , so I covet any advise you can give.
        Thanks for these words of Life!

  9. Kelly T.

    I read the link regarding the orthodox jewish woman who cannot obtain the “get” from her husband. The thoughts I am having are how a legalistic system hurts people so badly. It keeps them in bondage. She is in bondage because she wants to stay true to the Torah community so by nature of that she will not free herself when she could be free. She is controlled by her family, her friends, her religion. Relationships are the threat and it’s amazing what people will put up with to keep relationships in their lives even if it costs them their freedom.

  10. Kelly T.

    I got ahold of a fantastic book this weekend and have been reading it and am almost done. Its by Karyl McBride, Phd. called WILL I EVER BE GOOD ENOUGH, Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. It is absolutely point on and very very helpful. Just wanted to put that recommendation out there for those of you in this situation as I am.

    • UnForsaken

      Thanks, Kelly T. ! It’s my F , but with “submission” in the mix, it takes the same behaviors for both. A Big hug from me to you!

  11. Rox

    I’ve been caught in a control issue with my N for a while now, and I worry that I’m at my breaking point. Due to the fact that I’m happy (or was, before this), my N, who was once my closest friend, is giving me the dreaded “silent treatment.” I grew up in a very abusive household, and I crack under this method every time, because I can’t bear to NOT address issues. That, to me, just seems childish. I’m hearing from friends that my N has begun using several of his fancy titles in his signature, which to me signals that he’s feeling insecure, and the silent treatment of me is part of him trying to regain control. This is sick, and I’m determined this time not to crack. If anyone has any words of support and encouragement in withstanding the silent treatment, I would be most grateful. I’m so tempted to give in, just to end the deafeningly quiet, disapproving message he’s sending me, but to give in is to lose my soul . . . again. How do others remain strong when the N is mentally trying to end them with this silent killer?

    • Kelly T.

      Rox, I can so relate to your heart break here. My ex husband was an expert stone-waller and so is my mother. I depise being controlled by the silent treatment, it is such a hallmark of NPD’s. Don’t give in, don’t lose yourself. You are worthwhile and deserve to be treated with respect and to be heard. Hold your ground and remember with the NPD, there is no winning with them. You win, when you choose to protect yourself from this form of abuse. Holding you up in prayer.

      • Rox

        Thanks, Kelly. I so appreciate the supportive words and prayers. I’m determined, as you say, to stay strong and to not move heaven and earth to get my N’s approval back. I just can’t believe our once-strong friendship has devolved into these games. The man is a priest, for God’s sake, and yet he preaches about love while simultaneous torturing his friend. There is a lesson from God here somewhere, but sometimes the soul-strangling pain makes it very challenging to see.

      • Kelly T.

        Rox, the soul strangling pain the NPD causes us is a result of their game playing. When we are required to listen to words that don’t match actions then try to figure out what is true, it is crazy-making. I honestly don’t know how to make a relationship work with them. I am still in one with my mother. I divorced my ex husband. They both use “gaslighting” as a valid way to communicate according to them which drove me to near madness. I have recently decided to avoid my mother as much as possible. I lose with her no matter what I do, so I decided to take care of my mental health first.

    • Rox, I just want to say I understand you.
      I too feel like addressing issues is the best way, and the silent treatment is awful. After my former friend (again–I don’t know that he is an N, but there are some traits and tactics that overlap the definition) put me through another series of hurts, which I tried to absorb and forgive along the way, but which were clear abuses of the knowledge about me (how I get hurt, where my weaknesses and needs are) he was privileged to have, I had to detach and separate to heal. But after many weeks, and prayer, and feeling stronger from God himself, and wanting to forgive and see if reconciliation is possible, and even opening my own eyes to consider if asking what’s normal for most people really was just simply too much to ask of him (because of his personal injuries, his personality, and a very oppressive culture he was raised in and still has to fight against freedom and truth to be accepted in), I tried again to make contact. And he shot me down once, very firmly, saying no. I waited and humbly, honestly, genuinely tried again. It’s been only silent treatment. Is this his way of staying in control? If I took time and distance to strengthen myself to stand in his presence, so he couldn’t damage me again, does he now want nothing to do with me? Am I only safe for HIM to interact with if I am also super breakable? If I’m strong, has he lost control?

      These are all questions I’m asking. I think the silent treatment is different from no contact while healing from a wound. But like you, I would NEVER just give the silent treatment. I would (and did) say, I have to separate to heal. I need time to get strong again. I would never just shut up and shut out. But that is what he is doing. There has to be intention to control and do harm in the silent treatment. I don’t see any other way.

      This morning I was reflecting on Peter abandoning Jesus. Turning his back on him, leaving him alone to go to the cross, where he would cry out in loneliness and pain. Peter. Peter who said, “Not I, Lord! I will NEVER leave you!”
      But he did, and Jesus knew he would, and Jesus loved him all the way through the pain of the cross, even prophesying beforehand, “And WHEN you turn again, encourage the others.”

      I still have hope that my friend will one day turn again. The last few days, he put me through the pain of the cross though. Because he has chosen silent treatment, I can’t know why. I can speculate, which is probably unhealthy for everyone. This morning, more than ever before, I gave him to God. I’d love to have my friend back, but not like this. And acceptance is a process, especially when it ought not be this way. I’m on the road to acceptance. God is making me stronger every day–I see that today. I did not see that yesterday. Yesterday was bereft. But today is a bit better. And Jesus knows. He knows even more deeply and personally than we do.

      • Rox

        Repol, I wish I were feeling the faith that you were. It’s not faith in God that I’m lacking; it’s faith in myself. I broke and contacted my N to ask a simple professional question (as I would have without thinking just a few short months ago), and I feel terrible. What’s odd is, I feel guilty, like I’ve done something wrong, and my N is going to make me pay in silence. The logical side of my mind asks, “What horrible thing did I do?” I merely wrote an email asking about a particular painter. That’s hardly a crime. But the other side of my brain is telling me that I let him think, by emailing him, that he has control over me and that his silence will riddle me with anxiety for the unforgivable crime of having once been his good friend. You’re right, Repol, that’s how crazy-making this has become. I’m torn up by sending an email that to anyone else would be a flattering gesture, asking for his expertise. I have to be done with this. I lived through 30 years of torture, with my N family always convincing me me that every move I made was stupid, wrong, or bad. I’m not going through this again for my former best friend. I’m done!

      • Renay

        The silent treatment is 100% about control. That way when they try and squirm back into your life can say – oh, I was just giving you space because it seemed like you needed it. What bothers me most about the silent treatment is he thinks he still controls me. So frustrating!
        I saw my monster the other day driving with his new friend and i swear he was laughing at me. They both looked at me at the same time laughing away. I felt like I was in 6th grade! I know I’ll never get answers and never get the chance to confront him because he knows me too well. He knows I will confront issues and that’s the last thing he wants to do. He is a self loathing, deceitful, coward. And he knows it.

      • Rox

        Renay, I agree completely that the silent treatment is all about control. The N feels he has no control over his own life, so he grabs the life of someone warm, caring, mature, everything that he’s not, and tries to control it. What’s so sad is, like in the article Dave posted, the N flails about wildly, trying to ruin everything in his surroundings that is good and decent, and nice, well-meaning people pay the price. It’s just not fair.

  12. Maggie

    Repol, I am just catching up. Your post here is very relatable to me. Thank you for getting the words out. Some days I am too exhausted with the negative energy around communication because of the N relationship that I do not want to or know how to express exactly what you just did. I too, after feeling strong and safe , because of my own work and armed with Jesus Christ , try to approach to discern what is left or available for communication as we co-parent and need to be in “relationship” with each other for the children. To date , these attempts fail and end in “there is something fundamentally wrong with you”, meaning me. There is always an attack of my intentions and communication skills. It is very sad and very sick. I am not hurt and I am not wounded or re-injured per se . I am simply frustrated and inpatient with the whole communication mess. I MUST grow in the virtues if I am to co-parent and maintain sustainable forgiveness towards this N.

    Does anyone have experience with children and the N? Has anyone educated their children on the N? I would love to hear other experiences.

    • Kelly T.

      Maggie, I am 45 years old and a child of an N. In my opinion based on my experience I think children of an older age need to understand why their NPD parent is a crazy-maker. In a nice way of course. I believe understanding arms them to protect their heart and mind, WHILE still providing the NPD with honor and respect as the Lord would have the child give them. I wish so much I had known why and how my mother was the way she was when I was a young person in the home. It really would have prevented me from marrying an NPD and subsequently divorcing. Knowledge is power.

      • Maggie

        Thanks Kelly T. This is what my instinct as a mother/parent is indicating and how my prayers are being answered as well but I do not have a pathway yet well defined to approach the subject. In truth we have talked around it but I am concerned to be perceived as “biasing the children in my favor “as their father and I are separated and headed to divorce. This is his argument often…”you have turned them against me”. Additionally, he ,the N , is aware of his diagnosis and I believe is willing in some way to discuss this with them but he cannot discuss it with me without becoming defensive and protective and then of course, abusive. He is slow to discuss this with them. I consider that perhaps it is his to own and mine to be there for them with the fallout. I know my intention and I know my heart so I know God will guide me here but I lack confidence in taking the lead, for now. I am interested in learning the best approach to take. The children are older teens and one young adult. I know they are ready and aware. Before the NPD diagnosis I thought he was terribly ruled by grave anxiety and I taught the children age appropriate and respectful strategies as early as grade school to protect themselves when in conversation or relating with him. I tried to do this ‘in love” and I believe that is the message they took away. Sadly , perhaps I taught them tolerance on some level or the least desensitization despite the skills to protect against the “anxiety” he dumped on them.
        It is complicated as 2 years ago I learned my spouse lived a double life that involved addiction and destroyed the marital covenant. The addiction medicated the NPD and our lives were less impacted by his personality disorder until the addiction stopped, the medication went away and the “unmedicated” self presented. His behavior towards me in the last 2 years is very damaging and my response to that before the diagnosis ( about 8 months ago) was not healthy either. I have made amends to the children for where they were exposed to the crazy making and I believe they are capable of discerning what information is missing from that amends…like , the mystery behind the N’s part. It was all very traumatic and hard to discern what is healthy to share and not to share with the children. Praying for answers and more knowledge.

  13. Fellow Survivor

    Kelly T, I have made it perfectly clear to my daughter, that when she meets the man that makes her heart go all “:flutter, flutter”, and they fall in love and all is roses and wonderful, that they both have to come to me.

    These words must be said before I will bless any marriage between my daughter and this new boy/man.

    “Daddy, this is ” loser boy” and I love him. He has asked me to marry him and I said yes. From this day forward if there is ever a conflict between you daddy and him, I stand with him”

    And then “loser boy” shall go with my daughter and say the exact same thing to his Mom and Dad.

    If they, one or both of them, can not do this, then I am out. One or both is still attached to and dependent on their mommy and daddy. It won’t work, I learned this the hard way. My ex’s daddy still calls all the shots because he has the money and the power.

  14. Me Too, you said, of your fiance: “I had noticed my fiance would become jealous very easily and go into a depression where he convinced himself that he wasn’t good enough and I couldn’t really love him. ”

    I am not romantically jealous–in that, I don’t worry about my husband having an affair–but I have those deep-seated fears of not being good enough anywhere, for anyone. That came from my relationship first with my mother–who just didn’t know how to relate to a girl as she grew up into a free-thinking, questioning, curious woman–but most completely from my abusive husband. It changed my personality, and now, that trait in me is at least partly responsible for a rift in another relationship. I needed too much, because I believe I am never enough.

    It’s wonderful how you’re seeing him grow and mature. But he may take a lifetime of you reassuring him and doing or saying (whatever his particular love language is) more than “normal” people need in order to be secure that he is the good enough for you. I guess some people can survive a close relationship with an N, or with a person on the N spectrum, but longterm, it really does change personalities. For his good (and this makes me so sad to say, because I want with all my heart to believe in the big extended family and multi-generations of people in lovely unity, reconciled well together), he may thrive more from distance from his mother. Maybe that’s part of why you were chosen for him by God. Maybe you’re going to help him find himself more and more fully, because his mother won’t accept you. If I were in your place, I’m sure I would be hurt by her. I’m sure I would fear that he would always want to choose her over me. I would respond with the “I’m not good enough” trait that he may have had programmed into him too. I’m thankful to hear that you seem so much stronger than that. May be just what he needs on his side.

    Best wishes to you both.

    • Me Too

      Thank you so much for your encouragement, Repol. I agree with you that there is redeeming power in marriage (it is a sacrament of God!) and my fiance cares for me too in ways that I uniquely need to be cared for, due to my own life story. It is truly amazing to see. Sin has wreaked havoc on this world, but it does NOT have the final say.

  15. dave, thank you for this website. I have been searching tonight. I am married to a narcissist with sociopathic tendencies. I lived for years in denial and still have a hard time with it. we have been separated since may. Been married for 9 years up to that point. The marriage was always always turbulent, from physical to emotional to mental and verbal abuse. I shared the gospel with him 6 months after we met and he claimed he accepted Christ but I never saw a real heart conversion. He cleaned up his act on the outside and got very involved in church but was still the same monster at home. Years ago I learned about NPD but refused to believe he had it. Now I know he does. He exhibits every symptom. I am meeting with him and his pastor tomorrow at church at 230. I have finally grown tired of his incessant lying, and bullying and feel it is time to confront it. He teaches kids in sunday school and on wednesday night. He thinks he has everyone fooled.. The real people pleaser, not GOD pleaser. Cares all about his public profile but has no integrity at all. I do not work and have to still depend on him financially for alimony and health insurance. I really hate we are still married but I cannot do anything about it while unemployed. I did surrender to the ministry in march and have a project I am currently working on. dave, this website has been very helpful to me. You have strong insight into this. I would like to ask you to pray for me. I am nervous about tomorrow. This man thinks NO ONE can outsmart him and he can fool everyone. He makes everyone around him miserable and has no business in leadership. If you have any counsel you could offer about how I should respond I would be so very grateful. Thank you again for sharing your wisdom here. GOD BLESS!

  16. Kate

    Hi folks,
    I too struggle with issues of control — my own. With my friend of 20 years, after failed efforts to communicate my concerns, after trying even harder to please her, after trying to ignore my feelings and just go along with it — all to no improvement — I have now limited my contact with her. I no longer reach out, and in those unbearable social situations (the ones where she’s bosom pals with each of my friends I introduced her to, while I hide in the bathroom crying — for real) I just try to maintain a face of civil neutrality. So, I’ve been insulating myself with no contact and a false public affect. How is this different from the narcissist? How is no contact different from the silent treatment? I can almost guarantee that this is the way it comes off — that I’m giving her the silent treatment and therefore so cruel, and this spin is easy to pass successfully because in effect that’s what I’m doing.

    I guess this is one of my biggest concerns, besides just healing from the hurt and loving despite it all. Am I continuing the cycle of abuse? Am I judging her as selfish, narcissistic, evil-doing, etc, therefore sinning as a result? Well, yes. How do I forgive and continue in this new reality that I still find so hard to accept? And why is it so hard to accept — is it just the feelings of betrayal by a close friend, or is it my bruised pride and ego as a result of my usurped popularity? I’d like to rise above the public exposure fantasies and bitterness that hold so much power over my thoughts, possibly making me the narcissist! I mean, this has become an obsession.

    Dave, I will try to take your simple advice above and say it over and over. I don’t know what else to do!

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