The Narcissist’s World

It’s Narcissist Friday!   

 

If we were to truly see the world the way the narcissist sees it, I suspect we would be shocked. It is a world full of monsters and enemies, users and competitors. The narcissist looks out on the world, from his tiny and protective cave, and fears the pain it causes. He wants the happiness and peace he sees in others, but believes it all to be a lie. In fact, he blames others for the fear he feels.

Perhaps you have noticed the conversations the narcissist has in his/her own mind. They fight battles with unsuspecting foes. Long before the boss criticizes the work, the narcissist has argued and fought and called the boss all kinds of names. After the phone call, the narcissist continues the conversation with defensive words of ridicule and anger. Rather than confront directly, the narcissist peeks out from the safety of her shell to do battle when no one is around.

There is little need to learn the perspective of others if those others are simply categorized as enemies or monsters. There is no relationship with competitors or users. There is only strategy and manipulation. Reality lives only in the cave, and love exists only in the shell. Relationship involves only self and reflections of self.

Perhaps there was a time when the little child thought others were kind and helpful and accepting, but those thoughts and hopes were ripped apart again and again—until they disappeared. Now the golden rule of the narcissist is: Do unto others before they do unto you. Now the narcissist strikes first and understands that others are either users or to be used.

By the time of adulthood, many narcissists have built invisible shells around themselves so they can interact with others in safety. They have developed weapons of personality—attractiveness, ruthlessness, and ambition. They quickly categorize the people they meet. Some will serve as reflections, narcissistic supply, to spoon feed acceptance and appreciation. Others are instantly enemies, posturing themselves against the narcissist. Still others are invisible, or nearly so, and not worthy of the narcissist’s notice. And no one gets into the shell. No one.

The boasting and critical narcissist may build a golem, a puppet-self for others to see so there is no risk of them seeing into the shell. The golem, or image, is beautiful, strong, wise, superior in every way. And competitors should concede, monsters should fear, users should serve, and everyone else should bow in worship. The image represents the desires of the narcissist. From the safety of the cave/shell, the narcissist manipulates the puppet-self so that others do his bidding.

But the narcissist knows that the world outside the shell is not real. Even the image can never be real. No matter how much the narcissist builds and worships the image, reality can only be known inside the shell. And inside the shell is a place of fear and inferiority.

So all others must remain outside the shell, in the unreal world. Hurting others means nothing because they cannot be real. Using others is nothing more than moving chess pieces or children’s toys. The feelings of others touch nothing inside the shell because they cannot be real.

If all of this is depressing, you have understood something of the perspective of the narcissist. There is a darkness in the heart of the narcissist. We, from the outside, might feel compassion or, even, grief for what they suffer. Yes, we should pray for them. But we must always remember that their struggle cannot be repaired or even adequately helped by us. We are outside, and we are not real.  The narcissist’s world is inside the shell.

The narcissist will hurt you. He/she probably already has, if you are here reading this. You will not find love or value in your relationship with the narcissist. The narcissist doesn’t have it to give.

52 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

52 responses to “The Narcissist’s World

  1. Laurie

    So sad, so true!

  2. Rachel

    Yes, so very true! That was my first thought. Sam Vaknin describes the existence of the N as a perpetual present in which there is no peace. No memory of past, good or bad, no vision of future, just an unending, Hellish present.

    Yes, we pray for them, no we can’t heal them. But can the Blood of Jesus? Can His healing Spirit touch their hearts of stone? The Bible says yes.

    I don’t know how to square this with both the depressing summary of how long it would take to “cure” a N even if they were willing to be healed through channels of psychotherapy and other such things, and the determination of a N not to be touched, even if is would help them. Where does the topic of evil come into this evaluation? Is this destruction of the personality/character the work of the devil?

    Sorry to ask so many taxing existential questions, I’m a contemplative Melancholic!

    Any thoughts really appreciated.
    Meanwhile prayers and blessings to all and thanks Dave for another rich post.

    • Onward

      My response, qualified only by my in depth answer-seeking and crying out, personal pain and experience with an ex-spouse N is that this type of vexation and ensuing sin pattern can only be healed by the saving grace and blood of the Lamb. As statistics show and or perhaps an awakened knowledge reveals, N tendencies in our population is on the rise. I never thought of myself as a spiritual warrior or that I wanted anything to do with spiritual warfare; however, I believe that is what has and does sustain me. Specifically meditation on Proverbs 4 and Ephesians 6:10 – 20 have helped me to survive. Proverbs 4:1- 13 GET WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING (God bless you for your significant contribution Pastor Dave). Proverbs 4:14-19 BEWARE OF THE WICKED ONE (s/he does exist). Proverbs 4:20-27 WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER THE WICKEDNESS (keep your wits about you and guard your heart). And continue on with Eph 6:10 – 20 to understand the battle and to know what to do. I too believe that our mortal enemy found an opportunity and took residence in human woundedness and through the N works to kill, steal and destroy. While I can’t apologize for my zeal in this matter, I would encourage all to get Biblical wisdom about the enemy of our souls and join in prayer to do battle against this spiritual wickedness for those who are vexed by narcissism and for those who were, are, and will be victimized. If you are a believer, you’re already in the war, might as well accept a specific battle assignment. Ok, now ask me how I really feel! 🙂

      • Wow u hit the nail on the head! I am married to a N and have to small children and have fought and fought the enemy prayed and prayed, fasted and fasted some more! I cant tell you how many times Ive cried to God to help me and heal my wife but still nothing. Am I wasting my time here? The bad part about it is my wife is a “christian” also. Lately Ive been having suicidal thoughts which is crazy because I would never do that. I just feel like giving up and I see no happy ending. If some one has any advice please by all means. God Bless

      • Carol

        jharley5

        My heart really goes out to you. Suicidal thoughts are a serious red flag. I hope you are seeing a therapist regularly because it sounds like you are nearly in over your head. By therapist, I am referring to a professional who can be a sounding board for you. Someone who has experience with narcissists, hopefully, who can help you sort out what is going on in your world. Not for seeking help with your marriage or to fix you so that you can adapt to your N. If you realize that you are a great deal unhealthier than you were 5 years ago, then you need to find a refuge for yourself. Hopefully your therapist can be a safe place for you to honestly sort out what is going on and where some of it stems from. Also, you must get as strong as you possibly can be if you are going to travel through the divorce process with a N. It will be tough. From experience, divorce is sometimes the only way to come to the other side where suicidal thoughts no longer occur. I say that with great sadness.

        Another sad thought is that many Christian therapists do not have a provision for divorce in their belief system and for that reason, a non-christian one might prove to be more help to you as you consider all of your options.

      • Yes I had one session with a professional counselor and he recommended divorce. Ive tried leaving twice but I miss my kids too much. Im just going to really seek God and see what he tells me to do.

      • Carol

        jharley5
        If a therapist tells you that your answer is divorce in one session, I would ask for my money back. I was suggesting that you spend some time with a professional so that you can off load enough stuff so that you can hear yourself and decide for yourself. There are no quick fixes or answers. As I said, you must be as strong emotionally and mentally as you can be to begin to walk through a divorce process with an N. And you must be certain that it is right for you.
        Please don’t give up finding a therapist just because this one wanted to give you a quick fix and/or solution. You mention that you miss your kids when you are apart. I am not certain why you left without them. What did leaving serve to accomplish? You need to be well defined with what you are seeking to accomplish and then use the tools you learn with a seasoned therapist to be able to stand firm and not look back.
        It you, personally, decide that divorce is for you, it would be wise to be well read on divorce with children in your state. There is quite a bit you can be proactive on by educating yourself, including advice so that you have the best chance for getting custody of your children. And at the same time, getting healthy and strong enables you to navigate the process of give and take of parents sharing custody of children. The courts probably will not recognize narcissism as a part of a divorce settlement.
        What I am trying to suggest is that your relationships are complicated with enough confusion to think about suicide. It is not the right frame of mind for making a major decision. But it is the right frame of mind to tell you that you need to be very proactive in gaining ground within yourself to be able to make decisions that are long term. You simply can’t do it by yourself. We all need help navigating life with a narcissist.
        I don’t intend to speak harshly with you. These words without seeing a kindness on my face can be misconstrued. You are in a very difficult relationship. Caring for children in the midst of is must seem nearly impossible at times. Thank you for loving yourself and your children enough to desire change, no matter how hard it is to.

      • grace551

        Jharley5, I sympathise with you. I am married to a N and also have 2 children (now both over 12). I would say, ask God for wisdom and to show you what he wants you to do. (Stay/leave/whatever.) Then do it.

        I would also say, God won’t heal anyone against their will or if they don’t think they need healing. Your wife would have to really want to change – I don’t know if she does?

        My H has insight and I think part of him has been wanting to change for a while. But there have been many false starts – times of improvement followed by relapses. I think he is now more committed to change, but time will tell. If he goes back to prolonged periods of destructive behaviour I will leave.

        Please don’t give up. You have the Lord. There can be a better time ahead. I have prayed for wisdom and guidance for you, and for all the help and support that you need. I prayed for your children too.

  3. Pam

    WOW- I am speechless! When truth is read, it hits deep. God has given you insight. thank you again for taking the time to write this.

  4. Recovering

    Yes exactly. My ex husband told me when he left that his heart was full of darkness and could not feel bad for what he was doing to me. His exact words. He remarried and said he found his true soul mate….NO, he found a new supply for however long that works for him.

  5. jodi

    This is all spot on!! My question is, why is the narcissist so good at knowing what I’m feeling and thinking? Its like my friend knows me before I know me sometimes. She definitely lives in darkness, but has such a keen ability to see through me and use it against me.

    • This is a really interesting question and I’d be really interested in the answer as well.

      I think they are good at really watching how people act and react. They listen to what they deem necessary so that they may be adept at using it for their benefit at some point. I think they study people. And since they are likely not feeling much themselves in any given situation, unless they’re raging, then they are calm enough most of the time to really take in what others are doing around them. Many are sharp and just pay intense attention.

      This is just a guess though. And a generalization.

      • Still Reforming

        safirefalcon,
        I think you’re right about their studying people. Thinking back to years past with my now ex-husband, he used to kind of hover behind me in group situations, which always just felt “odd.” I remember at a wedding, when the women were all circling around yacking, and some men were scattered around the hall, my husband just shadowed me, right behind my shoulder, and just hovered – not communicating with the women, but just eerily hovering. I don’t know how else to describe it. After a while, I suggested that he might want to go see how the men are doing, because the women were all yacking about women stuff and it made me uncomfortable for him to just be hanging there without participating, and just…. there. It wasn’t the only time he did that either; He’d do it at church when I’d be talking with some lady or a friend, he’d just come and stand behind me – just off to one side and just wait there. It always felt odd because there were usually plenty of people around with whom he could have engaged, but… he never did. It would never have occurred to me then that I was being… studied. But it makes sense to me now.

    • Onward

      Hi Jodi. I don’t pretend to know the answer to your question regarding ‘narcissist knowing’ but I do know what you mean. It struck me as I read Dr. Dave’s blog today that just as my ex-spouse N has the gift of projecting his negative emotional issues on to me (accusing me of what he is guilty of), I think he can also use what he is experiencing in his lost dark world to attempt to tap into me. To read his writings or expressions in greeting cards, one might think that he is hopelessly in love with me (as he has professed to me and others) but I know better because his actions towards me oscillate between those expressed by both love and hate. To answer Tina’s question “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! (at least not love for me). Getting back to his ability to appeal to me emotionally related to his actions of projection, I think he actually taps into his own emotional longing in his secret place and then uses that to reach me. Just as he projects his ill behavior onto me, he projects or makes his emotional longing – mine. To the unknowing, it seems very romantic and touching. And even for those of us who know better, it could possibly suck us back in because after all, we all just want to be loved. As I think further about the lyrics of Tina Turner’s song, it comes to me that it may well be an anthem for the Narcissist…”Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?”

    • She may know you much better than you know yourself, especially in the areas she wants to use.

      Remember Dr. House from the tv series? An incredible ability to observe and analyze with no ability to care or interest in caring – unless caring made the situation or person useful in some way. We always wanted House to change. We grabbed onto anything that made him a little more human. But caring always eluded him.

      Narcissists are usually experts at understanding people. They observe and learn and adapt, but they do not care. And when they do not care, they don’t connect – and we don’t understand that. For us the two go together so naturally. We call it empathy. For the narcissist, empathy is impossible.

      • jodi

        Thank you for all the thoughts. It truly is amazing how they can be so aware of everything about you and not care as soon as it doesn’t benefit them. In the winter my N ignores me then in spring she turns on the charm and asks if she can go to my families vacation home!!!

      • Penny

        Dave~ once again you have given us something so simple yet profound: “when they don’t care they don’t connect”. They can PRETEND at caring, they can even PRETEND at connecting, but if you have the nerve or audacity or even the misfortune of calling them out on it, their feigned empathy disappears like fog and you see their fangs. They will even attack you in your darkest hour and add to your pain if their is the slightest chance of their being exposed as fakes, as frauds.
        Example: I have been in deep grief for the past several weeks due to an near-fatal accident of my adult son (who is single). This occured on Mothers Day. My narc MIL, who has produced a narc daughter, who also produced a narc daughter–3 generations of women who are all Narcs, is pretending to care, thus pretending to connect. My birthday is next week, and my son is still in the hospital in serious condition, with complex life-threatening situations & severe complications from surgery, yet needing more surgery, and these crazy women have all sent me bizarre, cheery “celebrate your day” birthday cards. But not one of them has lifted a finger to ease our pain, or that of my husband or our other son who is disabled. Not one of them is capable of empathy, or even compassion. So when I made it clear that I found these cards to be inappropriate given the circumstances, guess who got attacked? Yup, they attacked me for daring to point out that their “caring”, their “connecting” was, shall we say, a tad askew. They added to my pain, and when I said “that hurts”, they caused even more pain in their efforts to keep their masks on. They simply could not say “I’m so sorry, that was rather thoughtless of me.”
        It’s surreal.

  6. grace551

    This is so wise and perceptive. I’m awed. Thank you.

  7. Alice

    Excellent an so very true!

    At the same time, it is very sad… for everybody involved. I am this writing from a narc abuse victim perspective, but I have reached a point in my journey where I have detached from the disordered person, and where I even feel some compassion for him. He has been stuck in depression, alcohol, online sex/chat addiction and anxiety for almost ten years now. He has destroyed his family, missed out on half of his kids childhood, messed up his work environment, lost almost every friend and every chance on a good, trustful intimate relationship (not only with me but with his wife and at least one other woman before me) and is about to lose his prestigious work.

    He has been on sick leave for the last 5 months, undergoing some kind of treatment against depression in some remote psychiatric clinic, but is still totally unaware and has no clue whatsoever regarding the core of all this dysfunction in his life. His entire reality has become such an abyss of hopelessness. He has completely retired from the real world and obsessively “escaped” into a delusional, imaginary online sex fantasy world. This man is highly intelligent, he was an excellent investigative/war journalist.

    So sad.

  8. Still Reforming

    Indeed.

    I wonder how the narcissist would think if s/he read this article. Would s/he acknowledge the truth in it – or more likely cast blame on others (real or imagined) for the reality?

    • Onward

      My vote would be – blame others. Therein lies the paradox and the snare. As someone once said, you can’t fix what you don’t first acknowledge. For believers praying on this matter, consider – 2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

    • I think the narcissist would flippantly deny all of this. To admit this would be to let us peek into the shell. Not going to happen!

      On the other hand, Sam Vaknin has admitted to some pretty dark thoughts. Lauren at http://luckyottershaven.com/ might have something to say on this.

      • Onward

        Thanks for the reality check!

      • Great post, but sad and daunting for those of us who were targets of a N. I am learning to forgive and move on, but there are days….. When I finally went to a knowledgeable counselor He told me that I would never have a relationship with my N h – only interactions. In a split second I understood that that was the awful truth. When I think of all the times I looked for my stbx to ‘feel’ for me, to consider me when I had been hurt or wronged or to just think of ‘me’ instead of immediately making whatever it was about him, it truly boggles my mind. In an odd way, it feels good to know the truth and to have all the questions I had all these years answered. There is pain, too, but I am free, I did nothing to cause this, I wasn’t crazy, cruel, uncaring, unkind, deceitful, manipulative, harsh, mean, angry, unloving or fake. All those actions and more belong to him and him alone. And I don’t have to live in a ‘cave’. Funny you should bring up the show “House” – my N h absolutely loved that show and watched it all the time – I never did.

      • Hi David,

        First of all, I want to say I love your “Narcissist Friday” posts. I like the way you stay reasonable about the disorder of NPD and don’t dwell in hatred and bitterness the way I’ve seen some ACON bloggers do (which is understandable), without condoning their behavior or stooping to enabling or “narc hugging.” I like the fact you acknowledge that for SOME N’s there may be hope if they allow Jesus to come into their lives and change them. I dislike the way some bloggers (especially those with MN parents) automatically label all N’s as inherently evil, demons and that they will never change, even if they want to. I’ve been on enough forums about NPD (and have received personal emails from a few low spectrum narcissists who are desperate for a cure) to know some of them know they are narcissists and HATE their disorder, and that some of them really do suffer. I’ve seen some comments like that on your blog too.

        As for your question about Sam V, I haven’t actually had much personal contact with him beyond a few comments of his on my blog a few months ago because he shared a few of my posts (as he has done with yours). He doesn’t reveal much on a personal level. However, I have studied him a lot and read most of his journal entries and other writings, which show a vulnerable side to him. In his journal entries, poetry and short stories — which are very dark and emotional — I think his true self comes through. I do know that he is very sensitive, which of course most narcs are (about themselves). Even though he says he loves to be hated, he is extremely hurt by criticism. Maybe he likes the pain? He has said (in his writings) he is masochistic and feels like he deserves punishment so maybe that’s why he “enjoys” it. I don’t know. It’s hard to comprehend something like that. He’s very mentally ill, though brilliant.

        His childhood could break your heart. From what I’ve read it seems he was a sensitive, almost empathic child (he says he cried when his mother was upset and tried to understand other people’s feelings) who was so abused by his psychopathic mother (who was envious of his mind) that he chose narcissism at about age 4 or 5 as a way to cope with the hurt. I’ve come to believe most N’s started out as more sensitive than normal children, even those of us who become codependent or develop other disorders such as Avoidant or Borderline PD (both of which I have been diagnosed with). At least we didn’t have to lose ourselves compeltely and adopt a false self as a way to cope with the world. They have no other defenses and that’s why they construct a false self.

        You probably have already seen them, but if you haven’t you can read his journal entries where he goes into great detail about what it FEELS like to be a narcissist: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal1.html

        Poetry is here: http://samvak.tripod.com/contents.html

        Now, don’t get me wrong. While I have some empathy for self-revealing narcissists and the pain they feel, I do not have empathy for them in general or the way they act. I’ve been accused by some of being an enabler because I attempt to understand where they are coming from, but I do NOT condone their behavior. Like you, I am a Christian (I recently accepted Jesus Christ into my life after being agnostic most of my life) and I do pray for their souls. I pray for a cure, and I believe God could step in and heal a narcissist IF THEY WANT that. I know some forms of therapy (reparenting) actually do work beyond just changing behaviors (such as CBT) if the narcissist is open to being completely vulnerable during therapy. Most will not be. But with a combination of faith in God and a dedication and willingness to experience a lot of emotional pain as the false self falls away, I don’t think they are completely hopeless. I do not agree with some that they are al “seared” and destined for hell. I don’t believe in predestination anyway. (I don’t know what your beliefs are on this).

        That being said, I don’t believe malignant narcissists and sociopaths/psychopaths can be cured–but of course God can do anything and I’m sure even a psychopath could be cured if God willed it.

        I am not sure if Sam V. can be cured. Yes, he is very self aware and evidently hates his disorder (and self awareness is the first step) but he hates himself to a point where he hangs onto his disorder because he thinks he deserves it. He has exiled himself to Macedonia where he lives a hermit’s existence, away from people except his wife who is very codependent. He will not have children because he and his wife have agreed he would not be a good father. (I think that shows signs of a conscience).
        I also don’t believe he’s as malignant as he says, nor is he a psychopath. I would guess he’s a mid-spectrum narcissist who has an outlet through his writings where he can reveal his pain, but he’s not willing to let go of that.

        Of course, these are just my opinions and I have no proof that what I said about him is actually true, it’s just a feeling I have on a gut level.
        Hope this helps! God bless.

      • Still Reforming

        luckyotter,
        I hadn’t read anything about Sam Valkin before reading his name on this thread. I’m grateful for your informative comment.
        I just wanted to pop in to suggest something in what you mentioned Sam said and an alternative view based on my own experience for more than two decades with a narcissist husband.
        That is this: If Sam said that he and his wife wouldn’t have children because he wouldn’t be a good father (and you interpret that to suggest signs of a conscience), may I offer another suggestion?
        In my experience, my narcissist husband was VERY good at knowing his audience and what to say in order to impress (or as I’ve read in literature about the disorder – to “charm”) his audience).
        When I first read that Sam said he wouldn’t have kids because he and his wife agreed that wouldn’t make a good father, I’d be a bit wary of information he puts out there. It could be given to impress. (“Wow – what a great guy – he’s concerned for the kids he would have had.”)
        Another lesson learned from my now ex-husband of 20+ years is that he was (and remains) a VERY adept and experienced liar and manipulator. So…. if Sam is indeed a narc, I’d be wary about the truth of what he writes. As with my husband, not everything he said was a lie, but anything could be.
        Anyway, I don’t know the Sam Valkin, and I’m not as well-read on him as you are, but I just wanted to throw those thoughts out there as a possibilities based on my own experience.

      • I’m taking what he says at face-value, but of course there is validity in your comments and he might be tailoring the things he says to get people to trust him, so who knows? Thanks for your comments!

      • Rachel

        Hello Luckyotter, it was me that posted the question about Sam Vaknin.
        Thanks for your response to that, I found your insights very helpful. I tent to concur with you that Sam V is a mid spectrum N, not malignant or a psycho or sociopath. He has too much insight into his own condition for that.
        I also valued your thoughts on “cures”. You are right that the good Lord could in fact cure anyone, even a psychopath. My N is a psychiatrist and unlikely to be prepared to do the work involved in looking painfully inside. He also has a problem with apologising and is I believe at the extreme end of the N spectrum, so I don’t think a “natural cure” is a realistic option. But I do not stop praying for him as he needs this (as we all do) perhaps it would all be much worse without the prayer and Grace that does happen?

  9. Alice

    I guess that I am aware that my previous comment displays my own co-dependancy, LOL;-) I am going to 12-step CoDA meetings, doing psychic chord cutting and inner child healing work, and educating myself the best way I can about the ‘toxic tango’ between narcissists and co-dependants, in order to face and heal from my own dysfunctions. But at least I am aware that I have to work on those issues, whereas the narc is unable and totally Zwilling to confront his own demons. I guess that is the difference: co-dependants do have feelings, empathy, and are in Touch with their true selves. They want to heal and grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally. They want to give, share and receive love and light in a healthy way.

    The narcissists do not. As Sam Vaknin said in one of his videos: “what a sad life.”

    • Carol

      Alice, you communicate very well. It is an extremely complicated life you have lived. I don’t doubt that you will continue to do everything possible to be the best that you can be. My N relationship is not like yours, but I hear myself in your words. Your topic of codependency is mentioned in Thursdays Thought on the site ACFJ, A Cry for Justice. I am experiencing a great deal of healing as I spend time with their writings.

      • Alice

        Thank you, Carol! I will definitely check out that link.

        I am not a native speaker (in fact, I am French but living in Germany) so it can be a bit challenging to comment on English-speaking blogs:-) But I am SO happy that there are so many great blogs like this one out there in English, as there is very little, almost no information available in German or French. I have studied narc abuse since mid-September 2014 when “my” narc started devaluing me – I realized for the first time that I was truly dealing with evil! I was shocked – I saw this cold, hating, pityless expression, that *reptilic glance” he threw me… my heart froze… By chance, I discovered a blog called “Baggage Reclaim” where the author Natalie Lue mentioned narcissism in one of her posts. Something clicked although I had never heard about NPD before (besides the Greek myth, but I had never truly digged into the behind-the-scenes of that one!) I found Melanie Tonia Evans blog and she referred to Sam Vaknin. I googled him. Watched ALL of his videos on YouTube, read his blog, his journal, his poetry, listened to his radio shows. That is my obsessive side;-) I am probably one of the only persons im Germany who has delved that deeply into his work (hello luckyotter, I get your fascination for this persona- they give us a real clue and kind of compensate the void that was left by the N in our lives: SV is our substitute N, the one we can hear admit & acknowledge all the stuff our Ns never admitted, the one we can talk to and be heard regarding what happened… he kind of “heals” the abuse all the other Ns did, like a blood lamb). Anyway, so discovering SV’s work was like a BIG BANG realization: “Wow, you have been seduced, trapped, conned and used by a narc! That was abuse!!! I couldn’t deny it any more. But that was such a relief and validation!

        I did more research online. I started to follow Kim Saheed, Zari Bellard, Carrie Reimer, Kaleah La Roche (I very much appreciate her radio shows on Blogtalk and Sedona Talk radio, they are so very helpful)….

        I listened to other NPD YouTubers: DelusionDispellar, TheSpartianLife, and others (I forgot the names). It all fit together!

        I also found someone else in Youtube called “NPDrecovery”. Like SV, this Youtuber is a narc (or claims to be one), so that is very insightful. It is done in a cartoon-style (sometimes, I wonder if it is just another SV channel in disguise?) Anyway.

        One piece of the puzzle fit into another! In parallel, I was researching (his) online sex-addiction issues, and started to look more closely at 12-step forums such as SLAA or SA. Hm, well… By chance, the full SLAA Ventura County audio book was (illegally) up on Youtube at the beginning of this year, and I listened to the entire 14+ hours. Twice. WOW – that was him! And I had been the co-dependant enabler! I had read Pia Mellody’s book “Facing Love Addiction”, “Facing Co-Dependancy” and “The Intimacy Factor” before, in fact only a couple of months before I met the narc. And they spoke to me. They were first sign of the divine, I guess. Today, I believe that my Higher Power tried to warn me. But obviously, I wasn’t ready to hear that protective voice. Instead, I started dating the narc only a week after finishing Pia Mellody’s book “Facing Co-Dependancy” and John D. Moore’s “Confusing Love with Obsession.” LOL! Isn’t that strange? I sprent 15 months on a crazy-making roller-coaster with that man (the N). All the signs and all the red flags were there, right on from day 1. But I chose to ignore them, or rather: I wanted to be blind-sigthted (both literally and in a metaphorical sense). And OMG, he did blind-sight me in every possible way. I allowed him to. I even invited him to do it. If only I had understood what is the “the toxic dance” earlier… the dünne thing is: I had read about it. But it obviously took the narc experience to *process* it. Life is stranger than fiction!
        Today, I get what Ross Rosenberg and other narc-CoDA analysts mean when they explaining that dance.

        I too like “It’s Narcissist Friday” very much, because (a) it is written by a man, (b) it is sharp-sighted an spot-on, (c) it comes from a spiritual place and finally (d€ suggests to focus on growing and healing, instead of complainig, blaming and staying stuck in the victim role.

        That being said, I know how incredibly difficult it is to get out of the rabbit hole. Apropos rabbit hole: Alice in Wonderland always fascinated me. Today, it is quite obvious to me why! I suggest that Lewis Caroll wanted to give us a glimpse at what ‘the Narcissist’s World’ (as opposed to reality) feels like.

  10. Sandra

    Wow such a powerful article. Thank you very much, this helps me a lot.

    BTW, my N uses the word ‘monster’ very frequently, and I always felt that was very odd.

    May I add ‘poison tongue’ to your list of ‘weapons of personality’?

    Sincere thanks,
    Sandra

  11. Sandra

    I just wanted to add that I always get a kick out of the title “Its Narcissist Friday”. Of course, they should have a whole day of their own! Naturally! Nothing else matters in this whole world, right?

    That we can poke some fun at this problem is also a welcome victory which is savor each time I read I read tis blogs title.

    Thank you,
    Sandra

    • Still Reforming

      Sandra,
      Thank you! I don’t get that much opportunity to laugh – and I haven’t much over the past two decades living with a narcissist husband (although finally divorce is official as of last weekend – yay). So I greatly appreciate it when I can. Thank you for the laugh! I shall remember that next Narcissist Friday; Yes, of course they should have a whole day of their own. (Let’s not give them any ideas, however, lest they demand a whole week or month. 😉 )

    • Rachel

      Hi Sandra, I love your comment about Narcissist Friday! My children also know about this blog as I am always excited when the Friday post comes out, we have a giggle about the title too! Teehee!

      • Sandra

        Dear Rachel,
        Thanks for sharing. Yes, its good we can have this little victory.
        Teehee!
        Sandra

  12. Laurie

    I am particularly intrigued by your sentence:
    “It is a world full of monsters and enemies, users and competitors.”
    When the N is your mother it’s an incredibly distorted upbringing. She’s 87 and still going strong. As I child we look to our mother’s to show us unconditional love, support and encouragement. From the time I can remember, she was competing with me in the nastiest of ways….. verbal put-downs, body-shape analysis, sibling comparison and I was always the loser. She didn’t ever want to do housework….. not to worry, she had me to clean the house for her. And, I would gladly do it for a “morsel” of attention. Then she would crave my adoration for her and devise ways and manipulations to get me to tell her what a wonderful mother she was. When you’re a child, you think this is normal. Thankfully, God saved me. It has been a long and hard road! I am an overcomer! Thanks be to Almighty God! And thank you Dave for this website! It is incredibly helpful and insightful.

  13. Laurie, I am so saddened by your reply, what you experienced with your mother is tragic, and I am sorry you had to experience that. I agree and rejoice that God saved you! What is meant for our harm by the evil one, can be turned around by God and only Him, and we can be healed and strengthened because of it. Such a mystery for those who do not know Him. I have been separated from my Narc h for over a year now and some tell me I look ten years younger! Praise God, your physical appearance will even change once the fog is lifted with knowledge and truth! And you run to Him for help and healing; but it is a road that we must travel and surrender to in order to find real peace. I have two sons from this union who are wonderful people, grown now, and they know their father was abusive, harsh, self-centered, etc. But, not the reasons why and my question to you is, if you don’t mind (and or anyone else who might want to weigh in or have experience with this), should they know the honest awful truth about who and what their father is, a Covert Narcissist? They were very supportive of the split and fully understand it, but I’m just not sure how much I should say and will it set them free or burden them further? I have been thinking about this a lot lately, timing is everything I know, but just not sure how much to tell them. The last thing I would want is to saddle them with knowledge they cannot handle.

    • Carol

      I think about this as well, for my ex continues to be a covert aggressive N, remarried in a conservative mainline church to someone we attended church with when we were married. My adult children did not approve of my choice to divorce even though the marriage was very over for both of us. N had brainwashed the children to believe I was the problem in the home. 5+ yrs past the divorce! the children have never asked me to tell them what it was like for me in the marriage or even why I divorced. N explained me from his perspective and that is where it remains. Just last week, I was able to open the door and told my son that he had never asked me what it was like for me or why I chose divorce. No response.

      I will not push my story on them. Also, they are blinded to truth because they grew up in the N culture and are as blind as I was as to how abnormally sick the culture was that they grew up in.

      I think what us more important for them, as adults, is to process how they navigated life with an N for a father and get healed from their personal damage. There is so much more info out there for them to tap into and use for their personal healing. My children do respect me now and they see how healthy and alive I am. Those are clues that they can internalize to consider taking a look at their lives.

      You mention that your children were supportive of the split and fully understand. Just a year on the other side, they accept, but what they understand is probably the tip of the iceberg. This is a good place for them to be now. Each year that you get further past the split, you will gain more perspective and understanding yourself and verbalize more clearly when and if they do choose to come to you and ask. 5+ years later for me! I can articulate to myself so much better what really went on. The puzzle pieces keep moving into place.

      • Still Reforming

        Carol,

        Thank you for sharing part of your own testimony here. I am so sorry for what you’re going through with your children (and what you’ve been through with your N husband).

        I am just recently divorced from my N husband of 20+ years. And you hit a nail on the head that I keep finding astonishing as I think about it. My N husband has persuaded my (now former) church members and leaders and friends in the community through lies about me that I am the problem – and while that is not astonishing, what I find remarkable is that NO ONE has EVER thought to ask ME about the marriage or ANY of his allegations. I know of a few of them via my own attorneys and one direct confrontation as one of the church members came to my home. I didn’t engage, but was astonished to hear the allegations. (Bit more to the deets than is worth sharing here as to why I didn’t engage in defense, but merely absorbed and listened.)

        That’s what I find so troubling, I think – is the easy manner with which information is accepted from the narcissist by church members, leaders, members of the community, family, friends, etc. I wonder sometimes if this is part of my/our fellowship in suffering with Christ who went on trial with lies told against Him and was very alone quite often.

    • Penny

      I will weigh in, knowing it’s just my own experience, and in that experience if a parent is healthy (you) then the children see that, and they know more than we give them credit for. In my case, it is my MIL who is the toxic narc, and even tho I was painstakingly careful to not allow her toxic behavior toward me to get in the way of a different & better relationship with them (her grandchildren), it was all for naught. As they grew and became independent she treated them as bad or worse as she treated me–but they already knew! When they became adults they naturally avoided her b/c of her incessant need for power and control. She did it to herself–they had down nothing wrong, other than refusing to be dominated and controlled by her. I had tried to shield them, hoping they could forge a different relationship than I had with her, but if I had it to do over again I would have empowered them sooner rather than later, and spoken the truth plainly. Narcissistic behavior is often abusive, and that is never healthy for children, whether they are minors or young adults. They need the truth, because it is the safest place to live.

    • Laurie

      Surviviorthirvor2,
      There is no question in my mind that our children (her grandchildren) know that of the pain and strife that comes with a relationship with an N. I have talked with people who could help me along the way (Dr.’s and sisters in Christ who have walked the same walk), but I am motivated by the story of Ham mocking his father’s nakedness in Genesis and it helps me to understand that I do not want to speak ill of her regardless. I too am a sinner in need of a Savior. God knows the whole true story and I trust Him!

  14. Carol

    Still reforming,
    Welcome to your new, healthy life. One of the first little glimpses of health and freedom I noticed was waking up each day in happiness and looking forward to my day. May you discover this gradually this summer and enjoy! I can honestly say that even tho life has struggles, I still look forward to each day. The struggles are so much different than the 24 hr confusion and depression I lived in for so many yrs in the marriage. My N was a minister and for the Christian community, he carried the trump card. A N minister can really work a crowd, especially in small, intimate groups. He was out of ministry at the time of divorce, but still in close proximity to those people.

    • Still Reforming

      Carol,
      My jaw dropped when I read that your N was a minister, although my jaw should not have dropped as I have read enough testimonies of same. Still… it never ceases to shock me. That’s very hard, I would think, being married to an N who is a minister.
      And yet, as you wrote, I do remember a few mornings waking up – and also nights falling asleep – stretching and feeling free. Not having to walk on eggshells. Being able to decide for myself how to arrange the home or spend the money or just walk without fear of his antagonizing criticism or jeers or lies. He still lies, but… not here. Not in these walls anymore.
      Thank you for that reminder.
      I am also learning to remind myself about individuals who chose to listen to him and believe his lies about me – if they don’t ever think to talk with me, then, they really don’t care about me, and I need to press on and into the One who holds my life and really does care.
      Sometimes I even feel particularly blessed to have had this experience of marriage to an N – because…. there’s a lot to be learned from it. There’s a lot of growth to be made in such a situation. And a lot of comfort that one can give having lived it.

      • Carol

        Still Reforming,
        Much of life is lived in the little things. May you, this summer, also enjoy having your eyes opened to the beauty of nature, a smile, a kind word, finding yourself saying, “thank you for today, God”. I am able to see and hear and think in ways that had been buried for a long time. Life is not always easy, but my life is very good, albeit quite simple.

        I am just beginning to connect with a bigger circle of old friends, ones that were in our church. I don’t speak of the past, but they see how healthy and happy I am and I let that speak for me. It has taken me a long time with a lot of study and counsel to figure out what I was married to, so I give a lot of space to people who appreciate what he did for them in ministry. There is no way they could understand what was going on at home. One person’s response to me, in kindness was, “He wasn’t a good husband, but he was a good pastor”. And I am ok with her saying that to me. I doubt, however, that when we leave this earth that I will ever see him again. It has been a process to accept that truth.

        I do not feel blessed for having been married to an N. I have come out of it alive, because God has loved and protected and saved me. No human being should have to live life so devalued and stripped of their identity that death seems like a logical choice because they are being told that they have two personalities, but the second personality only comes out at home. There is no one to ask about this because no one has ever seen it but the N. In the midst of divorce, I finally asked my family members if my N was telling the truth. They were dumbfounded that he was telling me this and verified that it was a lie.

        I have strayed so far from the subject of the blog. I just want you to heal and grow healthy and stand back in awe. We are definitely blessed in so many ways!

      • iris

        I was divorced by my ex H a Narcissist and minister too. He too, worked on my 3 children and put all the blame on me. His own family never asked me anything nor do they talk to me, just tell “the story of how their son suffered all these years beeing married to me”…..
        I -on the other hand- have a peace I have never known before on an ongoing manner. I sing and dance and praise and thank the Lord to -sometimes- loud praise music (and sing along)…. the Freedom I feel and have now is incredible! and joy! …
        I sooo understand your descriptions…
        And, yes, I agree: it is a sad, tragic life beside them…
        Two of my three children are relating to me in an ever more caring and loving manner, except for the youngest who still does not talk or even texted me…
        Still, I am confident that God is working and will fulfill His promises to me 🙂
        Love you all!

      • Carol

        Thank you, Iris Your youngest son must be hurting immensely. There is something unique about the relationship between mothers and son. Rejection is extremely painful and I feel sad for you. Preacher’s kids have a double whammy, as the lies told are woven into their spiritual lives as well as day to day life. It can impact their perception of God because their dad told the lies and their pastor also told the lies. Very twisted!  

      • Carol

        My heart goes out to you, Iris.
        Your son must be hurting deeply. It is a unique relationship between mothers and sons. The rejection is very difficult, not knowing when it will change. PK’s get a double whammy. Lies from their father and lies from their pastor, the same man. It impacts their spiritual life as well as their every day life.

      • Still Reforming

        iris,

        The joy of the Lord is your strength. 🙂

        Isn’t it magnificent and grand that our joy is dependent on no man? No human. No person other than the LORD Himself. Now THAT is freedom!

  15. nancy

    I want to thank you for your ministry and commitment to talking about this issue. I regularly drop in for support and perspective as I still have moments of sorting through the wreckage due to the damage and destruction caused by a narcissistic person in my life. I have no contact with them but catch glimpses of their world and the persona they have created and that others believe, love and enjoy…praise. In these moments, I find myself disoriented a bit. I am even still drawn to their persona and can wonder if I made up the awful and crazy things that others don’t/can’t/won’t see. But when I step back and take in the situation more fully, I can see the narcissism in it all. Your posts have been really helpful to me as many/most just don’t have categories for seeing and understanding narcissism and the impact it has on those who have been targets. Your writings have resonated with me, grounded me and helped me to not feel alone in the craziness of it all. God has brought about a lot of healing in my life and your ministry has been a part of His work in me. Thank you so much.

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