I’m Here!

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

Many years ago, a family came to our church with a young boy who would open the door of the church and yell, “I’m here!”  Every week it was the same.  I began an experiment.  Each time he would say that, I would ask him his name as though I didn’t know it.  And every time, he seemed shocked and offended that I didn’t know his name.  He would shout his name at me.  Eventually I stopped because I could see that it was truly an issue with him.  His need to be known and welcomed was so great that he had to announce his presence and make sure everyone saw him.

The family moved away before I could watch the boy grow, but I have always wondered.  The parents seemed kind and appreciative.  They gave him attention and discipline.  Some of it was the exuberance of life that a child has, but it was more than that.  His brother had no such need.  Nor did his parents.

So, was this the beginning of a narcissist?  I don’t know.  I do know that narcissists expect you to know they are with you.  We are all supposed to notice them.  We are supposed to remember their names.  In fact, we should be happy they came.

The need for attention is part of the basic definition of narcissism.  If the narcissist cannot get it by announcing his presence, he may “act out” to get it.  I have seen adults do some foolish and obnoxious things to get attention.  Even when most of the room finds their behavior disgusting, they get the attention they need.

You see, it didn’t bother this young boy that he sounded silly when he shouted, “I’m here!”  It didn’t concern him that no one else did such a thing.  The fact that his embarrassed parents tried to get him to stop meant nothing.  All that mattered was that people should see him and appreciate him.  The few people that would laugh and welcome him provided what he wanted.

I have wondered what he would have thought if some of us had preempted his announcement with something like, “He’s here!”  I think he would have been happy.  It may have made him feel superior, worth more than others.  After all, people didn’t make a big deal when others entered the room.  His announcement may well have been a way of telling people that they should notice him.

Narcissistic adults, particularly those we consider “overt,” do consider themselves to be of greater value than others.  That’s another part of the basic definition.  They should have special privileges and special voice.  The fact that others fail to see this superiority does not negate it.  If they have to announce it themselves, they will.

7 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

7 responses to “I’m Here!

  1. Patty

    So true. My husband would enter church functions yelling “hey, hey” He would enter our home screaming, “I’m home” He left our church because the new Worship Pastor wouldn’t make an exception for him and allow him to wear jeans on the platform. He said, the church was “legalistic” because they would not make an exception for him. He was unconcerned that the new rule applied to everyone in the worship ministry. he thought he should be the exception to the rule because – he “deserved” it. He even took his displeasure to the Senior Pastor. He was livid when the Senior Pastor supported the Worship Pastor’s authority to impose dress code for the worship ministry.

    He would show up an hour early for doctor’s appointments and then get angry because he couldn’t be seen early. He refused to wait for a table at a restaurant and expected to be seated immediately. He would never speak to anyone again who didn’t remember his name or who didn’t speak to him first. When we separated he started calling himself a “socialite” and running with people with considerable wealth who did not work. He is, and always was, working class. However, because of his pretense of wealth he is now in Chaoter 7 bankruptcy. Of ciourse, the bankruptcy is by no fault of his own. The stories he tells which he claims led up to his bankruptcy are absolutely ridiculous. No accountability, no responsibility, never wrong, feels entitled to special privileges, always a victim, can cut someone out of his life immediately for slighting him (even his family). For many years he hid most of this behavior from me, there would be an occasional outburst, I would be shocked but he would play it off as a bad day. He would say, “you have no idea the pressure I’m under at work” I would say, “you need to learn how to deal with the stress or you need a new job”. When he could work for no one, he started his own business, that’s when the “monster” grew. He had employees feeding his tremendous ego, but the more admiration he received the more discontent he became …. he got to where he seemed to prefer negative attention. He would regularly provoke, without cause, to receive negative attention. He would laugh when people would cuss him out for his obnoxious behavior. It got so bad, and so random, I refused to go out in public with him. When I filed for divorce, I was still unsure what “it” was. I felt guilty because I didn’t know if he had a mental illness, a drug habit, an alcohol problem, etc. All I knew was I had tried for years to get him to seek help for “whatever it was” and he insisted he had no problem – everyone else had the problem.

    Once you have some distance from a narcissist, you begin to see clearly again. You begin to see that there was nothing you could do to help them. Someone who believes they are perfect, and is the exception to every law and every rule, cannot be helped. I still pray for him. But I no longer feel responsible to “help” him. He kept me trapped in a toxic marriage playing the submissive Christian wife card. I still grieve the marriage we could have had. But I truly know the Lord releases me from the marriage. Once he knew I was done, I saw the full extent of his evil heart. When you stand toe to toe with a narcissist that knows they have lost their power to control you – it is scary. I still occasionally have night terrors thinking about the cold, hard, dark eyes as he threatened to destroy me and told me I should be afraid, very afraid because bad things happen. I am coming up on two years trying to divorce him. He has succeeded in leaving me penniless and the only asset we had left (our home) is being sold by the bankruptcy trustee to repay his business debt which he had personally guaranteed with our home while he was stalling our divorce.

    He is evil, without conscience, without empathy. I do not believe this is a mental illness. I believe it is a choice. I wish this would be taught in our schools, our churches, because there are so many of them walking the streets. I had never heard of this … awareness is key, especially for someone who has endured the toxic abuse and has finally decided to walk away. Without validation from sights like this and a therapist who was aware of Narcissistic Personality Disorder … I would not have made it through this nightmare.

    • I can relate to so much of your story, Patty. I left my toxic malignant ex forty years ago, after he very nearly murdered me for coming home 30 minutes later than usual from my real estate job. He kept screaming that he “knew” I was cheating on him, and that be was going to ruin my face so that no man would ever look at me again.

      After I left him, with my face intact but not my neck, I eventually learned that he had been cheating on me throughout our marriage. He was projecting his evil onto me.

      I, too, was left penniless, although he made big money working on oil rigs. But what good is money or even a home, when you are living with an abusive narcissist?

      Last Saturday, I learned from our daughter that my ex was going to have open heart surgery this week. He is 14 years older than me, and this month he will turn 79. Not a good candidate for such a surgery. His operation was day before yesterday. It did not go well. After opening his chest, the surgeon found extensive calcification. So he closed him back up without doing the repair on his heart valve, which was the purpose of the surgery. He was to have a second surgery to repair an abdominal aneurysm, after recovering from the heart surgery. That will most likely not happen now.

      Today, I, too, am praying for this man. Down on my knees, face to the floor, begging God to send witnesses to his side to lead him to Jesus before it is too late, and to keep him alive until he gives his life to Christ.

      As it happens, I had surgery yesterday. Nothing nearly so severe as open heart, but still, many biopsies were taken — I won’t know the results for at least a week. Plus the anesthesia was a major concern for me, as I have had a deadly anaphylactic shock reaction to an anesthetic in the past. But it all went well and I feel great today. Relieved it is over!

      The end will come for every one of us, eventually. I love my life today, this is the happiest I have ever been, so I am not in a hurry to leave this world yet. But I KNOW that God’s got me. I KNOW that I am going to be with Him when I die.

      It is a strange feeling to know that someone who nearly destroyed you, is now on his deathbed. He took my two very young children from me and took them out of the country for two years and seven and one half months. The hardest years of my life. When I got them back, the oldest was eight, the youngest five. And they did not remember me. They had been told their mother was dead.

      I used to long for that man’s death. But now, by the grace of God and the healing He has done in my heart, I just want him to be saved.

    • Patty, we must have married the same person! He is not in bankruptcy (yet). My old church allowed him to stay, even after the pastors knew of the depth of the domestic and sexual abuse. The pastor even remarried him to a wealthy widow (no surprise there). He started from poor, working class parents on the South side of Chicago, but managed to acquire a great deal of wealth and certainly liked to run with the wealthy crowd. But, after being fired from a high-paying job for being abusive to his employees, 2 divorces, and squandering millions on risky business deals, he needed someone with money and status.

      Please know that abuse from someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is domestic abuse, which encompasses emotional, verbal, financial, physical, spiritual, and sexual abuse. I encourage you to seek a support group with your local domestic abuse agency to help you in your healing process.

      You are right – it needs to be taught in our schools, churches, homes, and businesses, and communities. I’m doing that in my community. When you are healed, please consider doing that in your own area of influence!

    • Karen

      So true that once you have distance from the narcissist you start to see clearly again thank the Lord! Unfortunately there is still no truly explaining to others what you have gone through. There is no awareness of this kind of chosen behaviour in general society as it was with me as well. I now know! All I can do is be thankful that I am out and that if anyone goes through this I can understand and give a voice because I recognize it now.

  2. Cecilia K

    Dear Patty, All I can think of to say is, bless you, sweet sister, and a big hug for you! I am sorry for all you’ve had to go through but glad you got out and hope the Lord completely heals your heart, mind, and spirit. I do hope the Lord brings your ex-husband to repentance, too. That is admirable that you still pray for him. I imagine that’s not an easy thing to do.

  3. Pastor Dave, where does the “line” of wondering if a child, like in your example, is a potential narcissist or in the autism spectrum?

  4. Therese

    A narcissist I know actually falls down to get attention. One time an arm was broken. More attention for that person.

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