Territoriality

It’s Narcissist Friday!   

 

 

In college I wrote a thesis on human territoriality, a subject that interested me.  It had to do with what we call personal space, the physical distance we maintain between ourselves and others.  Other aspects included how we mark our territory and what we do to defend it.  This topic takes on new life when we think about the narcissist.

Since territoriality has to do with control, it makes sense that it would appear in relation to narcissism.  Yet, you won’t read much about it in the literature.  That’s probably because most writers deal with the behavior toward people rather than how the narcissist interacts with the world in general.

Narcissists need to control the world around them.  Most of them hate surprises and intrusions.  They have great difficulty handling changes and challenges.  Many are habitual to the point of obsessive.  It might not look that way to those who don’t have to live with them.  It might seem like the narcissist is always changing, never predictable, but the only change they can endure is change they create themselves.  They want life to be the way they like it—always.  Changes that affect others mean nothing to them, as long as those changes are controlled by them.

One of the most common ways for the narcissist to control the world is to be protective about his/her stuff.  I use the word “stuff” to describe just about anything you want to put in its place.  Whatever the narcissist decides belongs to him.  His house, his workspace, his chair, his car, his sports equipment, his seat at church, his parking spot, his computer, his camera, and on and on and on.  You recognize this territoriality when he makes it clear that no one should ever touch his stuff.

If you should be unfortunate enough to have to share something of his stuff, you are probably under strict orders to put everything back the way you found it.  If the seat in the car isn’t back the way he likes it, or the mirrors or the vents, you will hear about it.  It will sound like you are privileged to use his stuff, not that you share it with him.  He can leave it in a mess or adjusted so that you have to spend time to be able to use it, but that’s different.

If you share an office at work with a narcissist, you probably have seen this intense territoriality.  Remember Les Nessman from “WKRP in Cincinnati”?  Les shared office space with the other employees, but carefully marked his territory and allowed no one in except by permission and by using the imaginary door.  It really isn’t that funny if you have to work with it every day.

Now, almost all of us have some territoriality.  We tend to define ourselves by our stuff.  Ownership and identity get mixed up in a culture like ours.  But the narcissist takes this way past what is reasonable with his vindictive behavior.  Touch his stuff and he may break yours.  Move something of his and you will never hear the end of it.  Scratch something and he will want to kill you.

And there’s more.  You see, because the narcissist refuses to see others as real people, he has no trouble saying:

 

What’s mine is mine; and what’s yours is mine!

 

As hard as it is to face, those in relationships with narcissists will understand more of the life they live when they realize that the narcissist does not see others as real people.  People, as we have said here in the past, are tools, toys, or obstacles.  This seems to be especially true for those closest to the narcissist: spouses, children, and others in familiar relationships.  It also is especially true for those the narcissist deems as dependent or subservient.

If you are friends with the narcissist, you have probably noticed that you are not allowed to touch her stuff, but she can use anything of yours.  At work, his desk is absolutely off limits, but yours is fair game.  You may often return to your desk to find things moved or missing.  He might laugh as he explains that he took paper from your notebook so he wouldn’t have to tear out his.

People are stuff, too, in the eyes of the narcissist.  He can flirt and even cheat, but would never allow his wife the same freedom.  Many have told how the children are nearly neglected until the divorce proceedings come along.  Suddenly the narcissist must hold onto the children.  This isn’t only so that his spouse will lose something.  It is also that he thinks they belong to him.  He might verbally abuse his family, but he will rant and rave against anyone else who does so.  It obviously isn’t that he is protective of them as persons, but he is protective of his stuff.

Another way the narcissist may be different from others in his territoriality is the evidence he leaves behind him.   His stuff will be clearly identified as his, either that or he will have told everyone in no uncertain terms.  When someone parks in his spot, he will say that everyone should know he parks there.  Like the little dog that defends the yard from on top the couch, the narcissist will make a lot of noise when someone dares to enter his territory.

And unlike other sneaks or thieves, the narcissist will usually let you know that he used your belongings or that he snooped.  You may feel like he is asserting control over you, but he is also marking his territory.  He is letting you know that he considers your stuff to be his stuff.  That little scratch on your car or door or desk or chair is a reminder that he owns it.  It doesn’t matter to him that it bothers you, he enjoys the fact that you see it.  Again, like the little dog, he does his job in your yard so that you know he was there.

There are other things toward which we can extrapolate this behavior.  If the narcissist has been part of a committee or organization and, because of term limits or something, has to turn things over to you, expect that his marks will be all over it.  The narcissist pastor will remove all evidence of the former pastors, but find ways to make sure his marks stay after he is gone.  As the new leader of the organization, you will be told in which chair you should sit because the former (N) chairperson always sat there.  The forms will have his name on them, and there will be little evidence that any forms existed before he had the job.

 

So the teenager who finds her mother wearing her clothes should understand that this is a way in which her mother claims her belongings.  The same is true when mother reads the daughter’s diary, after searching through the drawers and boxes for it.  That diary, like the daughter, belongs to the mother. 

And the wife who realizes that nothing is in her name may be seeing her narcissistic husband claiming ownership to the things she thought they shared. 

The employee who finds his boss at the employee’s computer is probably being reminded that both the computer and the employee are owned by the boss. 

 

I could give many examples of this territoriality, I suppose.  And you could give so many more.  The point is that we must understand the value of belongings and space to the narcissist.  Ownership is control and prestige in their world.  Things have value because they serve the image without argument or variation.  People have value if they stay quiet and submissive.

Finally, have you ever noticed how the narcissist gets rid of things?  He doesn’t mourn the loss of a faithful car when he gets a new one.  He already rejected the old junker before he got the new one.  The narcissist isn’t sad to leave behind a job or house or piece of furniture; he is glad to get rid of it.  There is no middle ground for most narcissists.  At the moment they decide that belongings no longer serve their purpose, those belongings are rejected.  Sometimes even if those belongings are yours.  And sometimes even if it is you.

 

When a person enters the world of the narcissist, he or she enters a controlled world where everything is either owned or hated.

 

 

 

54 Comments

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54 responses to “Territoriality

  1. I recall the early days of dating my narcissistic ex-husband. I was never allowed to go anywhere by myself without a colossal guilt trip from him. And when he came with me, he was at my heels wherever I went… literally. I remember shopping for clothes, walking around the circle of clothes, and when I would turn to show him something, expecting any normal person to be standing at least 5 five away, he was right there where I would swing around and whack him with whatever I was holding. At first, we joked about it, but I soon realized that he was being purposeful in marking his “territory”. Forget my own personal space… that did not exist anymore. So glad I finally got away.

    • kay

      **Many times, space from N. can help insight, allow healing, health to move into the hurt places. It can take a very long time to heal of abuse, N. or otherwise. I am happy for you; you’ll know, partly, how healed/healthy you are by the friend-choices you make, personal decisions. **I for one of very few I know KNOW after almost 35 yrs divorced, still have a long road of healing just ahead.**Blessings.

    • jo

      Hi, this is my first post. I just want to say that since I have found this site, it has been like a breath of fresh air to me. This week has been the first time I have been completely alone in almost two years. My N has been “deathly ill” for a long time and had just gotten a job after unemployment denied him. I’m sure this job will last at least 2 months before he decides to pull something ridiculous and convince everyone that he’s too sick to do it. It’s funny how all of the episodes he’s ever had have ONLY been when he’s working. Over the last couple of years I’m finally realizing how controlling he really is, and how weak I am. I’m an extremely passive person, and I’ve let him consume my life in every way. He’s always been possessive and controlling, but I guess I was too clouded to understand how bad it is, if that even makes sense. He knows every little last move I make, I cant even take a shower without him coming in at least twice every time to check on me. My mother and I have started reading these posts a couple months ago , “because my father is an N too” , and there hasn’t been one time that my N wasn’t there listening. I cant get away from him, even for a second. I decided that this is one thing I needed…im not going to stop reading these because of him, so I started reading them out loud on the phone with my mother. Of course I say its for her and has nothing to do with him. And boy does he hate Pastor Dave. “What kind of Christian is he to say those things.” lol.
      I gave up arguing with him a long time ago. What’s the point in arguing anything with someone who’s never going to see that they are wrong? Everything is an attack on him, and he’s always up with his big shield ready to reflect everything back to me. What’s the point in saying anything period, when he just interrupts like I wasn’t speaking at all in the first place, demanding all attention and making darn well sure that he’s heard? I feel like I have given up on life, and made my own little shell to go hide in. Does that mean im turning into an N myself? I want to get mine and my kids life back, but im so afraid of the world outside, and being alone. What should be the first step I can take to doing so? thank you for listening, it feels good to be able to vent finally, especially with people that have gone through it too:)

      • kay

        Oh Jo: Your question(s) are so clear. Seekers can sift through information, decminating Truth from lies. You and your Mom are courageous to move forward. 1)!!! Pray without ceasing, Get His view on your lives. He loves y’all’s husbands. He created them; now they are broken vessels, as we all are. 2) Pray for your husbands outside their hearing. Become intercessors for them, yourselves, each other, your children/siblings. Flood your home with prayer; The Lord will flood you with Himself…Peace that surpasses all understanding. 3) Maybe put Christian music on backdrop. I keep KLOVE on 12+-hrs. That may not be the site you need. Listen online, car, cell. Put CDs, radio on when good. Get Christian fellowship IF available. Ask God’s leading on EVERYTHING. 3)Read The Word often. Your path will be ladened with rough times. Set your sights on Christ; He will walk you through even the ‘landmines’of life. 4) Thankfulness changes attitude, can restore hope. No matter who you think you are, Christ alone knows your hearts. 5) IF you find your lives/physical beings in DANGER, get out/get away from that sort of confrontation. N can be and often are angry, afraid…please understand human love when enlivened by Agape Love is the only Love that changes the face of sin. (ICor13)…6)Keep your trust and love of God clear with tears and supplications. He wants everything coming/due Him…HE is what Dave is sharing. Blessings in your lives.

  2. kay

    Oh Dave; You explanation today of N. 90%+- gave me an uncanny description of my former husband, Dad of our children/gr’children and continued acquaintance. My birth family used to call situations as ‘under the thumbs’ of someone. I WAS in that place when married, but the asset of healthy boundaries has changed ME. **I’m all about people making even poor decisions, even relating to me; now I can respond in a different manner much/many times.**As a True Believer, I am responsible for MY actions/responses. With this near 5 decades, blaming him or mainly blaming myself, I am convinced my responsibility is for myself ONLY. The FACT Christ Jesus is THE Healer, I can accept I was so broken, I alone accepted/required this N. to make me ‘feel’ good about taking the abuse.**Sick people, making bad choices can be healed by The Healer. This N. is still broken, yet he’s learning from The Healer, not me directly. Since I don’t have to be with him, now I can CHOOSE to love the unlovely, the unlovable, the Taker and fully realize I WAS as broken as he still is, or he couldn’t have crushed me as effectively. **It has been a long road, but The Creator of this very broken/harmed man is being saved by Jesus as we speak. He is a Christian by his Salvation; as we are older, I actually witness Jesus in him. He truly is a ‘work in action’; he belongs to Our Creator, not me, not our family.**This testimony is to encourage those who want to be encouraged.

  3. Anne

    As I was slowly becoming aware that my ex was a narcissist I started noticing these kinds of things. The one that got me very upset was his insistence that the laptop in the kitchen, the one that I used every day for personal and business (my business) reasons was actually his. And he would come into the kitchen to use it while I was cooking just to prove that he had the right.

    So I finally asked him to get up and stop using my computer. That was a big fight. I kept insisting that it was mine, that he not only had his own laptop and iPad, but also a desktop that I never used. Nope, this one was his too. I think that was less than a year before I filed for divorce.

  4. Tammy

    “What’s mine is mine; and what’s yours is mine!” so true. It doesn’t even matter if it’s someone else’s spouse. I was 6 months pregnant with our 2nd child, and I learned many years later that my now ex-husband followed another man’s wife around the campfire like a moth follows a light.

    Thinking back, he even took music CD’s I received in the mail and when I found them in his office he blamed it on an employee. He berates employees for using too many supplies to do their jobs. He pitches a fit if someone gets a drop of fish blood on his precious boats. Yet he wouldn’t pay for a $150 replacement retainer for his daughter and owes over $17k in back child support. Yet he bought a car, truck and 25′ boat over the last couple of years. Even the child support is HIS. He said he didn’t owe me a dime. True. He owes his beautiful nearly 17 year old daughter!

    This obsessive need to possess and control goes way beyond anything you could imagine in your worst nightmares. Yet somehow they have everyone “trained” around them to accept their twisted ways as if it was completely normal.

    Praise God I got out while I was pregnant and 17 years later I am only here on this site to encourage and give hope to those suffering under the hands of this insidious evil.

    • kay

      That IS what we can all do…there are things that by sharing specifics CAN help others. **Now, nearly 5 decades later, I am in wonderment that when we were married, he even allowed my name on HIS marriage-certificate. He owned everything AND all of the flesh and blood “under HIS roof”… ‘my way or the highway’. **Thank my Lord God I am not under that, too, any longer. I am a different woman now. WOW. **Thank you for your words.

  5. CIindee

    Pastor Dave, this is a very interesting view and I appreciate your post. During the divorce to my n husband, days after being forced to move out of my home, he promptly had a dumpster delivered to the driveway and proceeded to fill it with my belongings. I had little time to prepare, so inevitably I was not able to sort through things in a reasonable manner. I was told not to return to my home, post eviction, or I would be arrested for trespassing. As he is an attorney, the threat was credible. But curiosity overcame me. I went, anyway, took a chair and peered down into it only to see my children’s artwork (now grown) resting on top of of my “stuff.” I remember feeling like that dumpster was symbolic of my entire marriage.

    • Cindee

      I should add that it’s now some years later and the only thing I mourn the loss of is those precious pieces of artwork. Christ has given me a new and abundant life. I’m now happily married to a wonderful man and my sons now see what a healthy marriage looks like, which will hopefully help them in their own relationships. A word of caution? The longer you stay, the bigger your dumpster will be!

      • dianablackwood

        I am beginning the divorce process soon. He’s up to something sneaky and won’t work with me for the kids’ sake. Your post really encouraged me. While my husband isn’t nearly as clever as a lawyer, I need to get my head out if the clouds and prepare for the worst. Good thing God knows what that’ll be. 😊😇

  6. Diana

    Wait…am I the N? I want my car seat put back the way it was and my radio station where you found it. I think I have developed this protective sense of personal space, because my N husband has no regard for what is mine. he takes, moves and destroys what he chooses. He has accumulated ‘stuff’ in our garage, attic, storage shed, under our home’s large crawl space and has now moved it into the newly remodeled basement with specific instructions not to touch anything; even though I asked that the basement be kept clean.The last time I tried to clean out the rat infested debris, he literally forced me to quit. I’m at my wits end and would like prayer how to get out of this toxic relationship. I have gone beyond what I feel is a patient limit for God to work a miracle in this man’s life so I don’t feel like I’m living on a roller coaster. I doubt my own sanity anymore and I can’t endure his split personality (good guy/bad guy) between me and family. You are right, we are all just tools for the N. Thank God I have Christ’s love, because I get none from my N. He used me as his caretaker during stem cell transplant and now he is clear of cancer, he doesn’t need this tool any longer. After 33 years of marriage, when will I learn?

  7. Remedy

    I’ve had a little saying here for years….’what’s his is his…..what’s mine is his……what’s ours is his….it’s ALL his! . Thank you for clarifying it is not just my imagination.

  8. Selma

    “his seat at church” made me laugh out loud.

    The “N” in my life is a female church member who has been using my husband (the lead pastor) to feed her narcissistic supply for almost 2 years. After finally managing to shut down almost all contact between the two of them (I had to threaten to leave him if he didn’t break off this totally inappropriate “friendship”), I came in last Sunday to find that she had completely filled up the pew where I usually sit with her family & friends (she normally sits on the opposite side of the church). I couldn’t help but grin because her motive was so hopelessly obvious. She can have the pew. She’s not taking my husband.

    • kay

      VERY wise woman. Your husband is w a y- blessed. I love you without meeting you.

      • Selma

        Thanks so much, Kay. It has been a very difficult time. Partly because my husband thinks that there’s nothing wrong with their “friendship” since there isn’t anything sexual about it. And partly because I can’t really find any good information about how to deal with my particular situation — there’s tons of stuff about dealing with an “N” as parent, spouse, friend, or co-worker. Pastor Dave’s blog has helped immeasurably.

      • kay

        You are onto something really BIG in The Church. Many already over-stretched Pastors wives, have the authority under God to counsel other women, girls. A man would be, excuse me, STUPID to counsel, meet for???, a woman without his wife( in the same ministry). MY take alone on this stupidity is he wants to be worshipped, bottomline. We women are not that much different. We wear pretty, do hair, put makeup just right, but it’s for other women’s appreciation. I’ve had little interest in what men think of me and I have had to tone-down my presence outwardly and in talk. Now, I listen to The Spirit. **Bless you. Maybe a woman’s ministry for you even monthly; maybe a men’s group for him…oh yes there’s time. If there’re children, extended family, good friends, they already know each of our flaws. **Women KNOW women. We are built with radar. 🙂

      • Selma

        I wish that I could say that your observation about my husband is wrong but I do believe that he has been almost “bewitched” by her admiration & attention. He cannot seem to see that her motives are totally self-centered — she always has to have the attention of the most important person in the room — so at church, that’s going to be my husband.

        And you’re right about the radar thing as well — I knew almost instantly that something as “off” about her. I just wish that more women in our congregation would listen to theirs — she has a pretty wide group of women friends but is, of course, constantly falling out with one and “making-up” with another. I fear that many will never figure out who/what they’re dealing with.

      • kay

        Dear One: How long did it take us to recognize this sick trait. Go for Grace/Mercy/Love toward yourself, your hubby,therefore, your family and this lady. I met Dave teaching a class I was taking. I heard something, then found this place; ONLY a year or so ago, began to understand the importance of my own dealing with God. Still and Eternally, Blessings. You’ll find even the most uncomfortable light has Grace attached.

  9. Ann

    I have a garage full of what once were my Dad’s most prized possessions. You would think he had died, because they’re all the things he said I would inherit one day. No he’s not dead, but he is definitely gone. He left his precious stuff and he left, what is to him, his not so precious family.

    • kay

      Ann: That is sad. IF truly that’s your understanding of what your Dad’s intention was/is, you have authority under God and your husband to pack it up and move it to a hidden place for the day YOU choose to deal with the reminder he didn’t love. **My children’s dad(n) collects $/property to remind? the children just what he has/is doing ??for them. Only one of my children knows what he’s doing and hates IT, not him.**Cling to The Lord. ALL else (his stuff, our stuff) will burn/blow away.

  10. Like the narc couple I used to be friends with: They left their house an absolute, filthy, sickening mess, yet if anybody tried to help clean it, they were treated like this was just the most horrible insult. My husband would try to clean off the kitchen table so they could start playing a planned game, and the narc husband would yell at him. Narc wife’s mother comes to visit for three weeks and starts cleaning, now she’s horrible.

    Then there were the double standards: Narc wife set strict standards on the narc husband’s social life, having to approve both male and female friends, but didn’t keep them for herself.

    • SDM

      While I do hear what you’re saying, Nyssa, I would like to point out that, however those folks kept their house, it was THEIR house and unless requested, it really isn’t anyone else’s place or right to “help clean it.” I had an N “friend” who came to visit for a weekend and waited until I went out back to water the vegetable garden, then scrubbed my stovetop and (old, stained) drip pans under the burners because they evidently weren’t clean enough for her liking. It wasn’t to “help clean,” it was a marking-territory action, verified (I believe) by her not offering to help clean (which wasn’t needed, I cleaned my house “for company” before they came, it was CLEAN!) but by her waiting until I was out of the house before she undertook her marking behavior.

      This was the same “friend” who left her husband about 6 months later, got an apartment with her girlfriend and then informed me over the phone that they were going to get an RV together and park it on my husband’s and my property – permanently – during the winter months and travel in the RV during the summer months. Not “could we” or “would this work for you?” – now, I guess it makes sense because, after all, she saw, she wanted, and therefore it was hers to claim and use (our place, I mean). She was so angry at being told, “No, you can’t do that because our well won’t support another 2 people (well goes dry every fall as it is!) and neither will our septic,” — that she cried in frustration at being denied something she evidently felt was her “right.” I got one goodbye email from her and haven’t heard from her since (2 years later)… thank the Lord!

      I am so grateful that Jesus showed me what she was trying to do (absorb and take over my life as her own), and gave me wisdom and strength to call a halt to that before it went any further.

      • kay

        My (n)former mate has got to be THE worst…cluttered, dirty, etc. When I time back, I was cleaner, cook, friend, parent… ALL inappropriate. The Lord STOPPED me as I was sooo critical TO OTHERS about him, divorced decades, gossiping, no love. **Now, if I must be in his HOME, I shut my mouth, critical eye. It’s been only a few months exercise and I see I’m free and God loves even this man in his HOME.**I have things about me The Lord is changing. He’s way big enough to change him for His Glory, not my comfort.

      • Yeah, I see what you’re saying, too. What really bugged my husband and I, though, was that my husband would come over to play a game, he’d see them busy with the kids, and just try to pitch in a little by helping to move things off the table so they could play sooner, and get yelled at. Or the time I saw something sticky on the table, so I simply cleaned it off before setting my books on it, and got yelled at and mocked. Not trying to take over somebody else’s house, trying to keep our mouths shut about the state of the place, just trying to do something ourselves instead of making them do everything. 😛

      • kay

        Hi there: I don’t read in your statements how close you are to Our Lord…speaking of minute by minute relationship as you would be to your own husband. This is in observance of your explanations re: your neighbors.**My response is that when there is an obvious schism in your being there; I’m an outsider. Question: why did you stay in such an unhealthy atmosphere, obvious disdainment, confusion. Why wouldn’t healthy people speak kindly, excuse themselves for a better time. What did you get out of that gathering? I’m a realist…I heard you describe an unhealthy gathering, angry peoole, critical spirits on both sides, where excusing yourselves with hope for a better time would have left your own boundaries in place. What do your neighbors afford you that you did not gracefully bow out? Please be honest with your motives. Bless you as you work thru this scenario.

      • I just wanted to give an example of something that always confused me about the narc ex-friends, that this blog post cleared up. There were all sorts of things going on that I don’t want to go into here. I’ve already analyzed and pondered the situation to a great extent, and how we got hooked into it. In fact, it wasn’t long after they blew up at me for cleaning honey off the table, that we finally broke things off because they were so toxic. For me it became yet another reason to do so.

      • kay

        Time is an enlightener and healer. Those kind of confrontations are as revealing of us, as the other folks. Bless you as you walk on.

      • Thank you. Analyzing the entire situation showed me just how much we’d put up with, and has given guidance on what we should *not* put up with again. 😛

  11. rubycommenting

    I was a renter, an apartment renter. Then started dating a guy who was a homeowner. He lived in a fixer-upper and his stuff wasn’t so nice but mine was. It was all new furniture, lamps, etc. At the end of our 2 1/2 yr dating term, he wanted me out, but to keep my stuff! In the meantime he had fixed up his home quite a bit, made lots of repairs etc. So then I guess he wanted furnishing to match, mine! All the trouble he went through to try and claim everything I owned even down to my can-opener(which was a high-end made can-opener). I reminded him that while he owns a home, I was an apartment dweller therefore my things were ‘my home.’ Some time later, once moved out and moved on, I pressed hard to get much of it back from him. I paid to have it shipped. But everything was in bad shape once I got it whether it be chipped up or urinated on. I guess if he couldn’t have my things, neither could I!

    • kay

      Ruby: Sight thru rearview mirror is better than no depth perception. My hope is that all people looking forward will look back to see frailties, sin, lack of wisdom, flesh desires, losses…all that tripped us, landed us in poor living situations. I’ve personally learned much from yesteryears. Not all do. Best regards in that matter

  12. UnForsaken

    This last month every one of the articles here seem to especially speak to me.

    My N is quite covert and as I read the last sentence about everyone/thing being either owned or hated, I realized this is the perfect way to say what I’ve been through. I am both owned And hated. I didn’t have a way to put this into words before – the way he repeatedly discards, but still owns – and it is so freeing!

    “Scratch something and he will want to kill you.” Today this wouldn’t look like the truth as I made him look really good and he let me, but when I was young he wouldn’t let anyone improve anything in his house. He even insisted on doing things like vacuuming and cleaning the kitchen….because of his expertise in appliances. My mother did not move the furniture, and the once in my memory was a Catastrophe. She apologized after being told she should have asked. He didn’t hang anything on walls, because nails create HOLES. They had to be kept perfect, but he never painted. And there was the Beloved Vacuum incident. No one was allowed to touch it, but it got scratched by little hands. Someone may have been blamed, but it was the vacuum and perfect wall that got the flack. He picked it up and threw it against the wall, breaking it and the wall. The sibling that remembers this best was quite small and yet ended up sitting next to him, mopping up his tears. He didn’t suffer though. It was everyone else who did. The marred wall and useless vacuum were a prodding reminder of the scene (violence), until he dained to fix them.

    I don’t know if I actually remember this, but when reminded of the story I thanked God that it wasn’t the child who was thrown. It was also an important revelation to acknowledge that psychologically he Was doing this to the child/wanting to intimate it, like a threat by killing someone’s pet. But at first well-meaning glance it might only have looked like an extremely bad choice, and there probably was a pious apology.

    He is rarely like this in my memory or today and it has become more confusing and convincing as it’s gone on. He’s much more subtle, but I know now why the atmosphere seemed so charged with fear growing up and he always got his way. I didn’t actually fear violence, but there was an odd feeling that some unknown thing would be a terrible consequence if we didn’t******. One big effort or two and the “lazy” N has us in palm of his hand for life. He can afford to sit back and look like the indulgent benefactor now. It’s a great example of how they change their tactics to suit whatever situation. The pragmatic tactics change, but the goal remains the same: Control.

    • kay

      Unforsaken: Too many of us out here have/are dealing with birth-home brokeness. We saw things never meant for anyone, let alone a child.**Our walk in life then can be foggy, out of kilter, believing about others and ourselves lies, partial truths(more lies). **We desperately need Our Loed God’s Wisdom, Salvation, Forgiveness (for the person/persons) and for ourselves, There us no easy answer; there isn’t meant to be. **Clarity comes as trust rushes in like downhill water. Brokeness, undealt with, transfers to present-day, harms others, re- harms us as we look back and see what WE’VE done. **My heart-beat says deal with it now(God is 24/7/365 days x our lifetime) The longer we hide, refuse to accept what occurred, shame keeps us silent. Prayer, interrelational with God and His people, can and does much to heal us and douse us with reality, forgiveness, love in Christ. Without Him active in us, we perpetually harm others, us, and round we go. Blessings as you seek answers for going on in Health in Christ.

    • kay

      Unforsaken: Too many folks today are sooo broken from childhood, marriages to take us out, remarriages on end. We often rear our babes out of our own brokeness. Then, our babes become broken duplicates, and on…
      **Christ Jesus is our only hope, Savior. (This may be a dup I misplaced)

      • UnForsaken

        Kay, what you say is true. Many of us come here after coming to the same conclusions you have. To state the sad things/truths that have happened to us exactly as they happened is affirming and healing as well.

        Thank you for your kind wishes and I wish you the same. ❤

      • kay

        Often, when we walk with others, even if not alike, it can be exactly what we need. Pain and sufferings are real. Others that have wrestled with pain & suffering, undue harm, need a hand up;reality takes its toll. Bless you…ask The Lord to provide kind folk to walk through the storm with you, for however is good. “His Grace is enough” and it can be through the heart of a broken/healed woman, or thru you she may be vindicated, thus you share the healing. Our Father alone can heal; since He is a relational Lord, He can choose a loving heart, so you can hear and see Him.

  13. Cecilia K

    I recall, once, at my ex-nbf’s house, I had washed my hands, and he never kept a hand towel nearby, so I playfully wiped my hands on his t-shirt (he was wearing it). He got upset, and made it clear that I was never to do that again (because I was wrinkling his shirt). I either had to let my hands air dry, or wipe them on his bath towel (which was a little unsanitary, to me, although maybe that is just an unfounded paranoia on my part).

    I was also not allowed to place bags (ex., duffel) on top of his bed, because if they had touched the ground, then they would transfer dirt to his precious bedspread. It’s not that I would just leave them on the bed, but if I needed to get something out, it was easier to hoist it onto the bed, so I wouldn’t have to bend over so far to get something out.

    Once or twice, I did some handwashing in one of his sinks. Now, this may sound strange to some or all of you all, but after rinsing the garment out, I would place it on a towel on the floor, roll up the towel, and walk over it several times to try to squeeze as much excess water out as I could. This was unacceptable to him. I thought that maybe the problem was that I was using one of his nicer towels, so the next time I did handwashing, I used one of his less nice-looking towels, but he still reprimanded me. Nevermind that he could wash the towel, and nevermind that I had no way to get the excess water out. It wasn’t like his floor was covered in grime. He is a very clean guy – much more fastidious than I am. I couldn’t see a problem. He did offer a compromise, though–if I wanted to buy a cheap towel just for that use, that was fine, but I was not to use his towels for that purpose.

    Another example is once, I set an 8 1/2 x 11-ish, thin, hard-bound book on top of his closed laptop (the book was very light). He gently told me not to do that again (and yes, it was a gentle request/warning), explaining that placing objects on top of a laptop can damage the screen. Maybe some of you techies could confirm his assertion, but it seemed a tad ridiculous to me, that a one-ish-pound book could damage a laptop screen, just by gently placing it on top of the Closed laptop, but of course, I didn’t argue. I merely agreed not to do it again; but what galled me was on another occasion not too long after that, I found that he had set his ipad on top of My closed laptop (the ipad being probably at least a pound or two or three heavier than the book)! I very much wanted to call him on it, but of course, fearing an attack and/or exhausting argument, I kept silent, hoping that my silence would set an example for him, or at the very least, that if he had done it on purpose to get a reaction out of me, I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.

  14. Cecilia K

    Now, to be fair (somewhat, anyway?), I also recall one example of my own territoriality with him. We were heading up to visit his parents (about an hour to hour-and-a-half trip), had just started out, I was driving. He was working nights at the time, and wanted to take a nap on the way up. But first thing he does when we get into the car, is he turns on the radio. It irked me that he didn’t ask first (I wouldn’t do that in his car), but I felt petty for feeling that way, so I didn’t express my feelings, but they came out more passive-aggressively. I went ahead and sat through one song, but when the next one came on (which I didn’t like), I changed the station–without asking. The driver should get to choose the music, I was thinking, especially since it was My car (perhaps, if he was a nicer, more selfless person, I wouldn’t have minded–but then, if he Was selfless, he probably Would have asked first).

    “Hey!” he snapped. Imagine that. He didn’t appreciate me making a decision without consulting him.

    I was still too ashamed to tell him the real reason I did that. I said I thought he was going to take a nap. He said if that was the case, then I would’ve just turned it off (yeah, that would’ve made more sense). Anyway, we argued back and forth, our voices escalating with intensity, until it culminated in me yelling, “FINE!” and doing an illegal turn in the middle of the road (I made sure it was clear first), and going back to his house. To his credit, he had the insight to realize there was something deeper that was wrong, so that was when I told him for the first time I thought he could be controlling, which he did not receive well. Then, the next day, we broke up (for the first time), because I told his pastor’s wife about the argument, and what I had said about him being controlling.

    • Kay

      Cecilia K…Simply put, you’re not married and you both are exhibiting majorr ‘red flags’. What a stranger, elder Christian woman sees won’t necessarily ‘wake’ you up. Do you really want to see spiritually what you are doing? ** I never moved into a living situation with my then “love of my life”…BUT I didn’t want to be told he was going to rip my life apart. My parents both saw major ‘red flags’, but I was ‘in love’. Fast forward to today… we are nearing 50 years acquainted, children, gr’children, 32 yrs divorced, non sexual (which would confuse objectivity}. In my sorrow, ripped, I sought someone’s insight, wisdom. I had lost EVERYTHING. I was just as controlling, selfish, self-centered, competitive (unhealthily). I decided I could alone change me…never him. He is still where we were 48 yrs ago, I am a new woman pleading women to look in the mirror, motive, depth of need to know why you are you still in the relationship. Blessings, a friend walking

      • Cecilia K

        Kay, it sounds like you think we were living together? We were not. And I am not still in the relationship. And I had never done anything like that (the illegal turn) with him before. His turning on the radio without asking me, although a harmless incident by itself, was just one more example to me of his controlling nature, and how he felt free to take over my property – but if I were to try that in His car, I don’t know that he would have been too pleased with that either. It was the last straw in a long line of controlling, domineering behavior, inconsiderate of my feelings. I think that’s why I reacted so strongly. I didn’t usually blow up at such minor incidents.

      • kay

        Cecilia: There was no (known to me) judgment. .married, single OR…MY thoughts were you’re not yet married and you’re already fighting over such matters. Im very sorry you ‘heard’ something that wasn’t. Bless you abundantly. A Friend.

      • Kay, I read through all the comments on this post, and I notice that you have answered each one. Are you now an administer of this site, along with Pastor Dave?

    • Cecilia K

      Kay, I’m still perplexed by your response, though. First of all, you addressed your admonishment (or whatever you would call it) to me in present tense, as though I’m still in the relationship, even though I described this particular narc-ish person as my EX-nbf. Second, this is a post about territoriality in narc’s; I was giving examples of that kind of behavior within my (former) relationship. I’m well aware that that behavior was not right. Your response comes across as though you don’t think I don’t Know that these are red flag behaviors. Of course they are! I didn’t write about them as examples of model behavior, even in the example of my own territorial behavior. I admitted feeling shame for my territorial attitude. And most, if not all, of the people who post on this site are all too aware that the behaviors in the N’s in their lives that they write about are not right. That’s why they are here. That’s why we’re all here…well, except for the rare occasion when a narc slips in and stirs the pot…but most of us who post here do so because this is a community who can relate to each other, like no one on the outside can. Anyway, you don’t need to respond again. I’m not trying to make this into a big deal.

      • Cecelia K, I was perplexed by Kay’s response to you alao, which is why I asked for clarification on her role here. I am very grateful to Pastor Dave and this site, and I pray it will remain safe for everyone of us imperfect, hurting people who are finding our way to grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As the scripture says, we have all sinned, we have all fallen short and missed the mark, and we perish for lack of knowledge.

        But there is now no condemnation to those of us who are in Christ Jesus our Savior and our Lord. Praise be to our merciful loving God!!

      • My apology for spelling your name wrong, Cecilia.

      • Cecilia K

        Ha ha, no worries, Linda! Not like it’s my real name, anyway. = ) I appreciate your affirmation of my confusion, and the reminder of no condemnation. And I just saw a typo in my post – it’s probably clear what I meant, but I just want to correct it anyway…Where I wrote, “Your response comes across as though you don’t think I don’t know that these are red flag behaviors.” I meant to write, “…you don’t think I know…” or “…you think I don’t know…” Sorry for the double negative there! Ha ha

  15. Eek, I meant to ask if Kay is now an administrator of this site…

    • kay

      NO!!! A Christian woman ONLY!

      • kay

        Having and experienced each and many aspects of Narcissistic behavior, mine AND a former husband, friends, children, many of who through a lot of suffering/grief have taken steps and changed living (in Christ) to reflect His Healing Grace. **I ONLY was in a short class with Dave, knew he was speaking God’s Truth, and honored The Giver of Life. **DAVE alone is the Teacher on this site. He resonates in his leadership, pastorship here. His empathy and compassion for the pained, sorrowful, weaping is AWESOME…I was only one who had not ANY answers, just screaming pain. AMEN!! Lord Jesus.

      • OK. I was just a little confused. Maybe because I was reading this before I was completely awake, lol.

  16. Julia

    It is amazing how so many of the Pastor Dave’s blogs resonate with my experiences. I’ve known for several years now that I have been dealing with narcissism in my spouse and his family. I don’t remember how I got it, but I have a book titled “Disarming the Narcissist” by Wendy Behary. I have read and re-read it, underlined so many parts of it, etc. Still, Pastor Dave speaks to me in new ways that I have not encountered before.
    This latest post on territoriality is a good example. For instance, my husband is what I call a book-aholic. He loves to read and he literally loves books, calling them his “friends”. I always thought it was some sort of OCD thing with him and his brother about their books. They treat them like precious china. I would get scolded if I handled the books too roughly or God forbid, put a large book on top of a small book. Or put them in a bookcase upside down! He, on the other hand, could throw them around the room if he got into one of his rages. If a book got a scratch or a ding it was “ruined”. I am not allowed to lend any books, because people do not know how to handle them properly and they come back “ruined”. I dared to violate this rule once and H found out. I told him my friend was not the type to mishandle books, but he would not back down. When I refused to ask for the book back, he went out and bought another copy. My friend gave me the book back in good order, so now we have 2 copies.
    On the other hand, when I tried to set up boundaries around my personal space, he would purposely ignore my requests and get angry with me if I tried to enforce them. It has only been since I’ve threatened to leave him (and actually asked him to leave the house for several months, which he did) that he has given me space and respected my boundaries. It feels odd to have to keep this threat alive in order to be treated with at least some respect, but that seems to be the case.

    Per Dave: You recognize this territoriality when he makes it clear that no one should ever touch his stuff.If you should be unfortunate enough to have to share something of his stuff, you are probably under strict orders to put everything back the way you found it. If the seat in the car isn’t back the way he likes it, or the mirrors or the vents, you will hear about it.

    The whole car thing is so true. We used to share both cars, neither car was his or mine, we just took whatever car was last in the driveway. That brought the comments about the car seat and the vents. “Why do you have the seat so far up, I always hit my knee when I get in, why do you point the vents down, that bothers my stomach….”
    Once I started pulling away from him I decided to make the newest car mine and the older car his. I just told him that was the case and he complied because he was afraid of losing me. It sure solved a lot of problems. I decided that this was a good approach in other areas too. His room, my room. His side of the fridge and my side. His shelf in the pantry and my shelf. I think one of the reasons he wanted everything to be “ours” is so that I would have a sense a responsibility to take care of it. For instance if both cars are “ours” it somehow became my responsibility to make sure they were both maintained. I was always the one to take them in for oil changes and repairs.
    This is a journey of discovery. As I spend less time with H and more time with healthier people, I am slowly changing. He seems to be changing too, although it is hard to tell if the change is real or if he is just pivoting and adjusting his tactics to cope with my new approach.

    • Cecilia K

      Bless you, Julia! My heart goes out to you for your situation. So sad that you have to threaten to leave in order to get any modicum of respect from your husband. Glad you have found Pastor Dave’s blog. It was very healing for me when I found it, just after breaking up with my NBF.

  17. Stacy

    My wasband would share his things with friends because he wanted to project an image of being generous to people and being the “world’s best friend”. To me, however, he would rant & rage when things were returned damaged. He would never complain about this to the friend though, that wouldn’t fit his image. He frequently proclaimed his motto “You should always return something in better shape than you borrowed it!”. Again, only to me. I think now he was trying to use me to retaliate against his friends when his stuff got abused; I probably was his messenger a few times.
    This man displayed what I used to think was hoarder behavior but now see as part of his narcissism, would keep junk mail, hotel toiletries, dirty Qtips, empty shoeboxes, broken household items, lots of things I tried to throw away. He was so territorial he would fly into a rage that I had touched his stuff, even if it was obvious trash. He would dig it out of the trash & put it in a drawer to protect it from my intent to be rid of this clutter. When the drawers became too full he complained that I was emasculating him by using too many drawers that were needed by him and then accuse me of being too controlling and demanding by not allowing him what he said he as the man had a right to have.

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