Bob, what are you in mediation for? You've been so helpful that I'd like to be helpful in return. I've read your profile. Is it over the kids?
My story: When I discovered e-mails indicating that my H of 32 years was having an A, I called my daughter. She is a school psychologist. She read the e-mails, balled them up, and threw them across the room. She said, "Mom, Dad is a narcissist, leave him." Since then I have done a huge amount of research and clearly he is.
He's the somatic type. Lucky me? No empathy, when I fell into a depression right after D day - he said now you can finally understand what depression is and how I've felt all these years. I've been told just recently that he has made so many sacrifices for his family - he gave up the chance to be a famous actor or model to be a family man. I could go on and on.
He's in FL now back with the OW and cheating on her. What a surprise! He's flying in for our grandson's baptism and I've been doing so well. Any advice about how to handle being around him would be appreciated.
I posted on one of your other threads, I believe.
The best advice about how to survive being around your NPDWH - DONT DO IT.
Now, I understand that if it is a family baptism, that wild horses would not keep you away, so, in the event you MUST be around him, the best advice I can give you is to remain as neutral as possible and show absolutely zero emotion toward him....it is your indifference to him that will drive him crazy.
There is a ton of material about NPD here and out there on the web.
When I came to this thread, I started at the very beginning "NPD THREAD PART I"
Yes, it is overwhelming, it is a lot to take in..take it in small bites. There are a number of threads in the Books section that discuss NPD - I ordered 3 last week alone!
I believe that you will hear that the only way to deal, communicate, or survive the NPD is to have NC or, if you must, to communicate only about the issue at hand and do it without emotion and be very matter of fact about everything.
If you discover that your WH is in fact exhibiting NPD tendencies, we're here for you..it's a bumpy ride, but this is a great place for people to help you hang on!!
We're thinking of you!
Tulsa Area Coffee Buddy
Oh, my exN can certainly be a charmer -- unless he's whining like a toddler and manipulating with guilt.
I'm not sure who to credit this to, but you can always try the "La-La-La" method. Basically just keep singing "LaLaLaLaLa" in your head any time you N talks to you.
They can be charming but the more sugar-sweet they are the more like poison it is. If you keep that in your mind you will take the charm for what it is, the bait for a trap.
Try and have as little to do with him as you can. NC is a big help if at all possible and in this situation you would need interact with him some but you can likely have lots of other around so that you can focus on other things.
The essence of love is not what we think or do or provide for others, but how much we give of ourselves.
A clean house is the sign of a broken computer.
Here's the mediation failure scoop:
Mediation came about as in early November, DDs has relayed to me what was going on at STBXPDW's house such as,
STBXPDW "disappearing" often, sometimes when they were asleep, through out the day, etc.
STBXPDW when "disappearing" would not answer her cell phone often, and never at nite during her "disappearing" while they were supposed to be sleeping.
STBXPDW has put her FOO first, before the kids, such as refusing to lock the door between STBXPDW's duplex and STBXPDW's sisters duplex. Reason cited from STBXPDW was that "They are my family and they can come and go as they please". She said this to DDs more than once.
STBXPDW's lying, gaslighting, raging, verbally abusing, manipulation, etc. of DDs. Now this has really been hard to deal with, as how do you comfort your child about such behaviors but not say anything "negative" about STBXPDW, especially when the child "feels" something is wrong and "knows" something is wrong and they ask you to explain and for guidance. Egads.
STBXPDW's FOO comments to the kids.
STBXPDW her friends, family and associates drug and alcohol abuse,
And on and on. Much more through out the thread.
So mediation was supposed to "clean" the slate and start "anew". Hard position to be in as I've dealt with STBXPDW for 16 years now and I know how she operates. But, that's how the system seems to operate. They do not want to hear about abuse unless it is physical, they don't want to hear about drug and alcohol abuse etc. I believe all that they want is an "agreement". Regardless of the facts.
Anyways, we come to an "agreement" on Feb 8. Revised Feb 22. She and her lawyer have not moved on this.
In the mean time, things seemed to be better. STBXPDW appeared to be behaving especially in DDs eyes. She wasn't exactly following if at all, many stipulations in the agreement such as:
First right of refusal.
Not working during her visitation time with the kids.
Negative remarks in communication.
Communicating via email as outlined in "agreement".
Sending messages thru DDs.
Getting the kids homework done during her visitations.
Emails responded to within 12 hours.
And she tells kids things such as, "I don't have to do what you Dad says", such as when the kids see her text me, or her refusing to answer or monitor her emails.
She has stated in texts and emails that she does not monitor her emails. Duh !?!?!?!?!?! (Foot in mouth-Erh, Up Ass-LOL).
She has clearly stated to the children more than once that she will not cooperate.
STBXPDW "disappeared" two Fridays ago. She was supposed to have dinner with a friend. Four hours later, after she told DD13 more than once she was on her way home, DD called me to report the goings on. STBXPDW still wasn't there after DD fell asleep some 4 1/2 hours waiting for STBXPDW.
That Sundat, DD9 ran away from STBXPDW house as STBXPDW was "raging". STBXPDW has always thrown a temper tantrum of sorts. Never realized that until this thread. Thanks (((Tribe))).
Thursday nite DD13 calls (It was DD sleepover nite at STBXPDW) to tell me that STBXPDW is "raging" and would I come and get her so that she could finish her school project that STBXPDW was raging about cause DD13 asked for help and to take DD to get supplies.
So, nothing seems to have changed for long. It would appear that STBXPDW gets comfortable and seems to feel the coast is clear, and then seems to resort back to her unacceptable behaviors.
Then there is the work fiasco. LOL !!!!!!
STBXPDW has told DDs that she had to quit her PT job to take care of DDs. LOL.
STBXPDMIL has told DDs that STBXPDW got fired from her PT job cause she had to take care of DDs. LOL.
----Can you say "FUCKING MONSTERS". LOL.
ANyways, it's just more of the same.
Then there are the myspace postings. Hmmmmmmmm.......
No mention of kids or mommyhood, but damn if there isn't tons of porn, nudity, drug, alcohol and parting references displaying a lifestyle not really representative of a "good mom" as she claims she is.
Oh yeah, my "informants" who have told me that two of her drinking buddies are connected with the local coke trade. STBXPDW likes to say she's cleaned up, but my "informants" have only ever seen her in the bars. LOL.
It never fucking ends. SO........
I talked with mediation as STBXPDW has not responded to a proposed change that DDs requested. Ends up being that if STBXPDW will volunteer to come to renegotiate we could try again to reach another agreement. The other options were do nothing or call it a failure and move on to guardian ad litem. I've opted for GAL as this keeps turning into BoB vs. The Creature (Thanks for the nick name LL), when it is really about STBXPDW abuse of DDs.
STBXPDW still hasn't, even after the court advised STBXPDW too, talked with DDs counselors. WTF? Good mom? WhatFuckingEver. LOL.
Oh yeah, and the tax fiasco of late. LOL. (It never fucking ends. LOL).
As always there is a ton more stuff. More in my posts here on the beloved (((NPD Threads))).
Hopefully I explained this coherently. LOL.
[This message edited by bobelina at 9:40 PM, April 15th (Tuesday)]
When I told my ex he was passive-aggressive, he told me if he was, I was making him that way.
this so sounds like something mine would say.
apparently, even his misress (that's the only polite word I can think of) got sick of it and dumped him. this was probably my fault too!
Him: X, 51 PA SA NPD?
2 kids; DD14, DD8 divorced
I really hope the GAL will help you in this case. I hope you get sole custody and that the "creature" only gets supervised visitation.
I'm sorry that mediation didn't go well. Like I mentioned before, I was very surprised that my case was settled in mediation. It's a flippin' miracle, really.
Hang in there,
The DSM defines a personality disorder as “an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress and impairment.” A disorder is distinguished from personality traits where the traits “are inflexible and maladaptive and cause significant functional impairment or subjective distress.”
The DSM groups the different types of personality disorders into three clusters. Fundamentally, they can be thought of as the weird, the wild and the wacky. Cluster A includes the Paranoid, Schizoid and Schizotypal Personality Disorders. “Individuals with these disorders often appear odd or eccentric,” the DSM observes. Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic and Narcissistic Personality Disorders fall within Cluster B. “Individuals with these disorders,” it says, “often appear dramatic, emotional, or erratic.” Cluster C personality disorders consists of Avoidant, Dependent and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorders, marked by individuals who “often appear anxious or fearful.”
While one can’t catch a personality disorder—it is developmental, reflecting the individual’s experiences and response patterns, mindset and peculiar ideas, thinking and behaviors arising from childhood and etched in proverbial stone by adolescence or early adulthood—one can become agitated, conflicted, depressed and distressed when in a relationship with or simply around someone like this. It is said that you can’t have a personality disorder on a deserted island. It takes someone to conflict with. Yet, even without someone to find fault or make miserable, the person with a personality disorder has enough going on to make him or herself miserable. This is especially true of the Cluster B, or “wild” category of personality disorder individuals. Unfortunately, it often takes a while into the relationship before a doctor or other person in relationship with such individual starts—if ever—to realize precisely what is going on amid the tumult. It is easy to think that there may be some rational basis for their conduct and charges, however pathognomonic that behavior is as a manifestation of their disease. Often times, these individuals present as very attractive, bright and engaging people. The same can be said of many poisonous plants, snakes and spiders.
Perhaps the most notorious PD is the borderline. A borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by instability in self-image, instability in mood and instability in relationships, marked with impulsivity, usually historically traceable to early adulthood—notwithstanding the excuses and explanations the patient may give for their seeming hard luck experiences with others.
While these individuals are persistent if not needy in seeking certain relationships perceived as critical, and equally quick to idealize the object of their insatiable attention, paradoxically they are unconsciously fearful of commitment and dependence, and when not insufferably testing the relationship and their object’s purported caring or love, these individuals will frantically act in ways way to avert real or imagined fear of rejection or abandonment, even if that means sabotaging the relationship themselves and devaluing their hitherto idealized object. These frantic efforts to avoid their heightened sensitivity over abandonment in the very relationship they desire may include raging (anger disproportionate to the reality of the circumstance) and impulsive acting out behavior, such as self-mutilation, suicidal threats, behavior or other attention-getting negative conduct. They also employ risky behavior, including promiscuity or sexual acting out, excessive spending, drug abuse and eating disorders, to combat their sense of profound emptiness and boredom when not in a satisfying relationship, or simply to prime an uncertain relationship or test the limits of someone’s caring and love. Self-gratification is aspired through such macabre and negative ways. The term sado-masochistism may be apt.
While most of these individuals with BPD diagnoses statistically tend to be women, it is believed that many men actually suffer from it as well. The reason, it is felt, their population is not more proportionately represented among the ranks of this diagnosis, is that they may be less likely to seek professional help, or they may have been written off as criminals, alcoholics, druggies. or simply suffering from an antisocial personality disorder.
Psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg is one of the pioneers in the study of this personality syndrome, which at one time was thought to reflect people suffering from borderline or marginal schizophrenia. For sure, the disorder has all the negative and obnoxious features of the other formulations—the callous recklessness, impulsivity and deceit of the antisocial personality disorder; the histrionic personality with its self-dramatization and attention-getting behavior, self-absorption and demandingness; and the self-centeredness, lack of empathy toward others, envy and delusions of grandeur and self-importance seen in someone with a narcissistic personality disorder. In describing the BPD, Dr. Kernberg discussed the borderline personality organization, thought to be the core source of not only borderline, but narcissistic and other personality disorders. This organization is characterized by immature defense mechanisms, such as splitting (either the person is all good or all bad), inability to make sense of contradictory aspects of oneself and others, poor reality testing, etc., along with the primitive raging, a telltale marker of the primordial wound over which the patient has failed to grieve, incorporate and move beyond a fundamental narcissistic slight—one which has remained probably from infancy as an ever vigilant button of immense sensitivity and outrage over an unrequited if not insatiable baby need.
Psychoanalytically, these individuals remain stunted in infantile ideas and reasoning. This includes notions of central importance, entitlement, intolerance when needs are not met, coupled with a lack of empathy and respect for the feelings, needs, life and separateness of others. Either their baby needs were not met by their parents, the needs were jeopardized or traumatized early in their development, or as a child they were simply insatiable, insufferable and intolerant, and that created the self-fulfilling prophecy. These patients possess an infant’s level of appreciation of object relations. Principles of object constancy have not been embraced or incorporated in their maturation process. Consequently, they perceive their life in relation to others as uncertain if not chaotic. In this primitive way of thinking, objects or other people are either gratifying or not, either good or bad, with no in between. They lack appreciation or tolerance to a complicated and imperfect world of grays, especially which does not dedicatedly and unconditionally focus on them and service their needs. As a result, in adulthood this infantile thinking persists, and undersurface anger over these needs unfulfilled pervades their being, expectations, thoughts, emotions, behavior and relationships—even though packaged in an adult body of, on the surface, a seemingly accomplished, articulate and rational individual.
Despite such individuals’ accomplishments and facade, they are nevertheless deeply insecure. They are needy if not demanding of attention and rescuing relationships. At the same time they are ultimately fearful of abandonment and rejection, and thus they are frequently fussing, fretting and testing over issues of commitment and dependency. This frustrating and chaotic mindset influences their affect or mood, which can be hypomanic when they believe they have found the person who can save them, or agitated, angry, anxious and/or depressed when fear of dependence and rejection enter into their thinking, causing them to challenge and frequently disrupt even a healthy or stable relationship. The process is insidious and often unwittingly to the object of their attention. Indeed, BPD patients always have an excuse or explanation, and the blame is inevitably at the doorstep of the other person, who soon finds him or herself on the defensive, if not apologetic and bargaining.
Things ordinarily start off famously well for both parties in the relationship with a borderline. Again, these individuals not uncommonly present as attractive, engaging and even intelligent. These individuals will appear to have attached deeply to the major object of their attention, say a physician who reminds them of the positive attributes which existed or were wished in a parent. They feel they have found home, and the relationship becomes oceanic. They are quick to idealize the doctor with traits and values beyond that which may be objectively present. Naturally the object of this adoration and attention, say a physician or the patient’s psychotherapist, is flattered. They are at risk of being manipulated, particularly if not recognizing with whom they are dealing and the pathogenesis of what will all but certainly occur. These individuals may appear depressed, bored or lonely, and long for more of the object of their attention. However, they telltalingly bristle when they sense controls are being exerted. They resent boundaries or limit setting, and exhibit extreme sensitivity to rejection even under the rubric of healthy autonomy. This is the honeymoon period, and many clinicians do not recognize the history which preexisted in their patient, or that what they are encountering and experiencing as genuine is really symptomatology of the patient’s underlying disease. Despite the purported admiration, respect, idealized wonderment and avowed love being directed at the clinician or object of their attention, under the surface is surely a yet to be released incredible anger for the very object of their attention and affection.
Phase two in the relationship happens when the patient begins to perceive frustration of their demands and expectation in the relationship, or when the patient senses the prospect of loss. This may be due to reservation or unavailability of the object, limit setting, not responding or simply saying no to attention-getting behavior amid the patient’s unremitting effort to challenge or test the caring, love and commitment of their object. Even acquiescing to the patient’s accusations or demands or testing is only buying time before the patient’s frustration manifests. The borderline will eventually ratchet up the behavior, employing biting sarcasm, belligerent argumentation, extreme demands and uncontrolled anger (borderline rage), all calculated to manipulate, control or coerce their object to acquiescing or staying. The patient is angry, manipulative and now devaluing of the doctor or major object of his or her aspiration.
In the final level of the relationship, the borderline feels the object is absent. Not surprisingly, the patient’s behavior has in fact brought on the very situation he or she feared. They panic, become impulsive and can even become psychotic—the sense of loss they experience being so profound and primitive. The once all-good, wonderful savior, now becomes the all-bad anti-Christ. This is called splitting. Borderlines are notorious for defensively and aggressively marshaling their story so as to convince and enlist others, such as subsequent treating health care providers, to buy into their tale of woe and lay blame on the object against whom they are now raging—to provoke or join in their campaign to attack, denigrate and destroy their former object of attention whom they sense rejected them. The rage (vs. normal anger or disappointment) reflects the core hurt in childhood. It is often a projection (or transference) onto the once adored doctor of the undersurface, ungrieved anger stemming from the perceived failure of the parent to meet the individual’s childhood needs. The doctor represented both the idealized parent and hope the patient never had, but at this stage is seen as the bad parent who ran roughshod over his or her need for attention and unconditional love. The rage is very much like a baby tantruming when it does not get its way. This prompted Melanie Klein to analogize the rage seen in such adults as tantamount to angry baby wanting to kill the “bad mommy” for not getting what it wants. It is that borderline rage, narcissistic wound from childhood, which animates and energizes the patient’s determination to now wish destruction of the object of their ire, the person they adored who did not make them number one, whom they perceived rejected and abandoned them. In that pursuit, the end justifies the means, and pseudologic fantastica along with distortion and selective memory are fair game “in love and war” when remembering and telling their story.
Unfortunately, we have seen it all too often in life. He or she who tantrums best and loudest get the undeserved attention, credibility and sympathy of well-intended, however clueless individuals trying to judge from this one-sided account what is going on. More often than not, the unsophisticated naturally concludes that for someone to be so upset, the prior treating therapist must have done something egregious, “mishandled the transference,” etc. It’s far easier to side with the “victim” qua patient, even though in reality 1) the victim ironically is the prior treating doctor; and 2) what may be viewed as damage stemming from the prior relationship is in fact nothing more or less than symptoms of the patient’s underlying disease. In addition to confusing disease for cause, the uninitiated subsequent treater will just as readily compound the problem and promote the patient’s psychopathology by siding with him or her and, more importantly, missing a teaching opportunity to discuss with the patient principles of boundaries, empathy, respect and self-responsibility—the elements of mental health and mature functioning. Unfortunately, even if the prior psychotherapist was hip to the patient’s disorder, confronted and interpreted the behavior and set firm boundaries, nevertheless the common knee jerk—and absolutely wrong—reaction for most will be to assure someone like this, weeping their crocodile tears, that it is not their fault, and blame is justly placed at the doorstep of the earlier therapist who should have known better...just as the patient thought!
Amazingly good article-feel a bit nauseous reading it cos it hits the buttons-thanks for posting it.
Bob, that article hit so many chords for me - scary.
I'm so sorry you are dealing with a disordered W with the welfare of your children at stake. I can't even begin to imagine the heartache. I was able to keep my children mostly out of H's way since he had absolutely no interest in them.
these individuals present as very attractive, bright and engaging people. The same can be said of many poisonous plants, snakes and spiders.
Principles of object constancy have not been embraced or incorporated in their maturation process. Consequently, they perceive their life in relation to others as uncertain if not chaotic. In this primitive way of thinking, objects or other people are either gratifying or not, either good or bad, with no in between. They lack appreciation or tolerance to a complicated and imperfect world of grays, especially which does not dedicatedly and unconditionally focus on them and service their needs. As a result, in adulthood this infantile thinking persists, and undersurface anger over these needs unfulfilled pervades their being, expectations, thoughts, emotions, behavior and relationships—even though packaged in an adult body of, on the surface, a seemingly accomplished, articulate and rational individual.
The lack of object constancy seems to manifest itself in looking for outside gratification in the relationship if the spouse is not there in fron of them constantly stroking their ego. As soon as the spouse or SO is unavailable for some time they forget that the relationship exists and the person seeks out new ways to fill the bottomless pits of their soul. This object constancy is something that is learned very, very young and when it is missing is very damaging.
In addition to confusing disease for cause, the uninitiated subsequent treater will just as readily compound the problem and promote the patient’s psychopathology by siding with him or her and, more importantly, missing a teaching opportunity to discuss with the patient principles of boundaries, empathy, respect and self-responsibility—the elements of mental health and mature functioning. Unfortunately, even if the prior psychotherapist was hip to the patient’s disorder, confronted and interpreted the behavior and set firm boundaries, nevertheless the common knee jerk—and absolutely wrong—reaction for most will be to assure someone like this, weeping their crocodile tears, that it is not their fault, and blame is justly placed at the doorstep of the earlier therapist who should have known better...just as the patient thought!
Or in the case of a relationship, the new SO will side with the person who has a PD and place the blame on the former spouse and blame them just like the person with the PD does.
Classic blameshifting. That is along the same lines of "I cheated because you drove me to it" and "I don't see my kids because you are such a bitch". I have been treated to all the above and it is very common for someone who is disordered to blame everyone and everything for their actions. They simply can't own their own behaviour regardless of what it is.
As difficult as this all is for you and the kids, I just don't see another way to have them properly cared for. In time the person with a PD will crack under the pressure (as yours has at times) and if GAL is fortunate to see/read enough reports of those patterns it is a good way for them to see under the mask and provide protection from the insanity in the custody agreement.
lied2, think about 2 dis-ordered people hooking up, then masks eventually falling away...
Why, its like Narcissus-squared!
Maybe once she feels she has gotten all she can squeeze out of this situation, she will tire of the "responsibilities" and you will have them. I've seen that happen.
I really feel for you and the kids. It's bad enough when we have to go through this with the NPD but for the kids to have to go through it as well is repulsive. But then that is who they are, isn't it?
Seems like the GAL is the only option for you. This must be a living nightmare. I can't even imagine the agony of watching what is happening to the kids while having your hands tied in so many ways.
My thoughts are with you and keep posting. At least we can be a place to vent, sound off ideas and be supportive. I wish there was more we could do to help.