People think you exaggerate. Or that you are so "poisoned" by your hatred you would think the worst of the narcissist.
Unfortunately, that, in most cases, is not true. I don't hate my ex. I do hate what he does.
People advise you "be nice and they will be nice back." Well, that may work in the land of Skittles and unicorns, but it doesn't work when you are dealing with a narcissist. They take the niceness and demand more. They aren't nice back. Ever. To them, a give-and-take relationship is one where YOU give and THEY take.
Once you become the enemy of the narcissist, they often will pursue it to ridiculous degrees. They fear losing narcissistic supply (and remember, even negative attention is narcissistic supply) and they will do anything to engage you in order to get it. The more angry (and believe me, it's likely justified) you get, the more they love it because it buys into their fairy tale of you being such a horrific bitch/bastard that no one could live with you.
My ex goes to crazy lengths to engage, particularly when he is between romances (OW left 2 years ago, but not before letting her felon brother steal his identity--it's been a picnic).
The best advice I can give is to get into IC with someone who has a great deal of experience with NPD. They can coach you through interactions and give you coping techniques that a regular IC would not be able to do. Plus you will have someone who understands this isolation and can help you deal with the hurt that it causes.
And in dealing with them yourself? E-mail only, and keep records of EVERY interaction, even the decent ones. Write your missives as if you were speaking to a judge. Be very, very detached, engage in NO jibes or personal attacks and stick to the matter at hand. When they come back to try and engage, do not rise to the bait. Business-like, detached, calm and unruffled is what you wish to be. Aside from the benefit of this being in your favor if this were ever to go in front of a judge, it drives them nuts. Winds them up like a top. They hate being told in any way that THEY DO NOT MATTER.
It is a special circle of hell dealing with a narcissist. Get all the help (professional) that you can. It is a never ending journey--I am coming up on TEN YEARS post separation and I still have to deal with his childish tantrums and issues. I have 12 more years of this until my alimony gets re-negotiated. If I live that long.
It is a special kind of hell dealing with a Narcissist.
The more knowledge you have the better you will deal with them.
Many of us didn't discover what we were dealing with during our relationships or marriages until after the discovery of infidelity. I always excused FT's behavior as "just who he is". It is who they are but there is so much more to deal with than just infidelity.
My ex goes to crazy lengths to engage, particularly when he is between romances
Read-read-read some more. Seek professionals that understand NPD.
It is a special circle of hell dealing with a narcissist
[This message edited by gma56 at 1:34 PM, January 12th (Saturday)]
I got pretty good at recognizing the "circular talk" used to never reach a decision/judgment on whatever the topic of conversation is...because they are masterful at changing the topic mid sentence! You can be talking about a new DDay...and suddenly you find yourself defending against some action YOU did 3 years before and how victimized the narcissist was and still is about it! Talking about the new DDay is just your stupid paranoia trying hurt him and punish him but really you know all the bad things you've done and you will NEVER admit how horrible you have been and... blah blah blah
Anyone living with a narcissist recognizes this tactic well...it leaves you a sobbing, wilting mess of frustration and confusion.
Narcissists are the stalkers and murderers following a break-up. They HATE being found out...they HATE losing their control over their minions. If your narcissist is in a downward spiral...many of their people discovering what they are...then you should take extra care to protect. Make sure your family and friends know that you are fighting and he gets enraged when he loses control. You might even give the local police a heads up....just in case. Im sure Laci Peterson never saw it coming. She likely discoverd the affair and told him she was out of the marriage once the baby was born. Once that happened it was done...he knew he had lost control over her...he had a new supply waiting in the wings...he had to protect his image by not letting Laci tell her story. He did not give one thought to that baby because the baby could not give HIM anything.
So yes...the narcisissts first use their love and affection to alienate you from your loved ones. Then your misery and uncertainness makes YOU stay isolated and ashamed.
When it all finally blows up...people often think NO WAY does good ole boy Mr. Narcissist do the terrible things the used up wife has experienced but she appears cold and curious by cutting off all relationships...
My narcissist has taken great strides to convince people that I am insane and my words are not believable. Thankfully I had gathered a LOT of visual evidence and I was especially close with my family. He THINKS they believe him....they know exactly what is happening. My daughter has told me she knows he has mistreated me and she believes in me...my son not so lucky...he has been totally manipulated by the evil bastard.
Anyway, NEVER understimate a narcissist who has lost their supply...END the isolation yourself by reaching out to the world and old friends...ALWAYS keep an eye out for anything unusual if your narcissist is especially enraged.
I'm here, middle-aged, trying to reboot my life with three young children in tow, no friends, no family in this area. Alone. It's an enormous undertaking to try to build a network of friends & neighbors (my "village"), get a job, go back to school, radically change our lifestyles, and try not to sound like a complete crazy-person when people ask why I'm doing this.
My ExNPDwh is deceased,and I'm so relieved that he can't hurt me and our two sons anymore.
Two sons; 28 & 26 years old; I'm remarried
It is isolating.
But you know what? All the 'crimes' I did, I did because of him. I bounced checks, I didn't pay bills... the power got turned off. Stupid..N if he wasn't so keen on taking money out of the account without notifying me (who paid the bills) of course I am going to have a fictious amount in the checkbook to work with.
But we would NEVER get that far in an argument... he would switch it to something else.
Uggh. Crazy making it is.
I have been divorced from him for almost 10 years. He married OW, who is a bigger and badder N than he is.
Recently he lost(tossed) his relationship with DD2 (and her 8month old D) NW was angry with DD2 so she wouldn't allow XH to see her and DGD in the hospital after giving birth. She was mad at his parents for going to welcome the baby. She is mad at his family for continuing a relationship with DD2,Baby, DD1, and me.
And because DD2 and baby live with me... My crime is spoiling DD2 by letting her live with me. Yep, I should kick my daughter -the single mother with an infant out of my house.
PS... I have SEVERAL emails from them Titled 'Your Crimes'. I take the wind out of those sails pretty quick. Tell people about your crimes.... they don't appear to be all that awful when you see others reactions to them.
X makes me out to be the worst human being to walk the face of this earth. Other people give me the validation that I am not the piece of shite he makes me out to be. And for that I am very grateful.
The village helps raise my kid, it also helps me grow into a more balanced human being.
[This message edited by Kajem at 5:12 PM, January 12th (Saturday)]
The isolation...I know it all too well. Ahhh, the seemingly nice, charming, narcissist...is actually a cunning, selfish, calculating, manipulator who hides behind this facade of naivety while wreaking havoc and destruction on everyone in their path.
It is beyond believable the inhumane things they do to you and people who haven't dealt with their particular brand of insanity, and their insanity-inducing madness of otherwise normal people, cannot fathom what you're dealing with.
I'm enlightened now as to the narcissist but how I wish I had known exactly what narcissism was a long time ago, instead of thinking it was just a naive, quirky behavior, I wish I had been aware of the truth of its evil and the deep toll it would take on my mind and health. But hey, I am surviving and still learning!
instead of thinking it was just a naive, quirky behavior
This is my thought as well.
XWH has never been diagnosed, and he's nowhere near as bad as some of the NPDs here (he may actually have ASPD or some combination of PDs.)
I definitely should have seen red flags prior to D-Day.
I occasionally remember some of his quirkier NPD things. For instance, every night I had to watch him drink a glass of water and praise him for how quickly he drank it.
There were so many more, as well as some that were far more serious, but how did I get to a point in our relationship where I thought that was normal?
Married: 11 years, no kids
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. -Michelangelo
I definitely should have seen red flags prior to D-Day.
That's actually one of the most major NPD mindfucks. You won't see what's coming until they do something that's obviously wrong, then it becomes like a funhouse.
I was with mine for 20 years. I didn't start investigating him until 2005, when he abandoned the mask. Thanks to SI, I learned how to find out what he was really thinking, and I still remained engaged for 3+ years.
While I was going through hell, he was having a ball running a shell game. The things he had to do to keep me from finding out the truth were just as entertaining to him as cheating; but they also ramped up his anger. My hurt wasn't enough for him to change; me saying, "I'm done playing" brought about things I hadn't seen from him in 20 years: tears, confessions, etc. Going into divorce, I saw and continue to see that such things are part of The Game.
[This message edited by veritas at 11:24 PM, January 12th (Saturday)]
keep records of EVERY interaction, even the decent ones. Write your missives as if you were speaking to a judge. Be very, very detached, engage in NO jibes or personal attacks and stick to the matter at hand. When they come back to try and engage, do not rise to the bait. Business-like, detached, calm and unruffled is what you wish to be
IMO this is good 180 advice for everyone, NPD spouse or not.
So true. My sister and I almost lost the great relationship we've had with our brother due to games my SIL did....
Wasn't until SIL was discovered screwing her "best" friend's H that the true N came out...
She's a phycho and my bro is learning how to handle that wack-job. (Fingers crossed he'll be divorced soon).
"You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul"
The ex's OM is a narcissist... I found out that I'd known him as a bartender from years before... The ex told me chilling stories about his behaviour and I researched his type and was actually able to describe to her what he was like... Her relationship with him drastically changed her and we were never able to R...
My current SO was with a N for 25 years... She's three years out from divorce but I see and experience the damage done... The isolation and verbal abuse she suffered is evident...
Her ex looks down on her in utter disgust because she had the guts to tell him to shove it... After all, to him she has to be stupid to reject him...
It's all about control of the mask, their victims and their supply...
If things really seem out of wack in a relationship and things have a odd sort of crazy about them... Educate yourself...
Read the NPD thread and other resouces... You may find many of the answers you're looking for...
You cannot put a price tag on the freedom that comes from getting away from one!
Walk a Mile In My Shoes
Married 14 yrs. Now Separated & in NC
2 grown DD's - his from previous M
4 grown kids (2DS, 2DD) mine from previous M
I was M to a WXH NPD for 16 years. I was isolated from my friends and family. I had to take on HIS friends and family instead. So isolating. So sad.
The good news? I have been D for 5 years now and I have finally taken back my friends and family! I feel like I have been released from prison and finally being able to enjoy my freedom. NPD ex still doesn't like that I have any freedom, though, even though he is re-married and has a very "important" life now.
People advise you "be nice and they will be nice back." Well, that may work in the land of Skittles and unicorns, but it doesn't work when you are dealing with a narcissist.
Listen to this advice, though. I have been "freed" from prison but still have to deal with custody visitation issues with my NPD/WXH... Not an easy task.
Latest example... Note from Ex...
"I cant take DD11 to her basketball game next week during my scheduled visitation. So I'm going to drop her off at your house at 8am Sat and you can take her to the game and then I'll pick her up again at 8am Sun for the rest of visitation weekend ..."
The answer is NO... NO... NO!
When you allow an NPD to take an inch, they take a mile. Every time I have allowed something like this (which would be expected with a normal divorced parent) he will do this kind of thing over and over again. Basically controlling me in any way he still can; through my daughter. Taking away any freedom I have during my "off" weekends. But, of course, if DD11 misses her game it will become MY fault. NPDs certainly know how to shift blame! This is just example 67,578 of "dealing with a NPD".
[This message edited by HappilyUnMarried at 1:46 PM, January 13th (Sunday)]
"No offense to you and not to be swinging on my own nuts or anything, but having me at 60% is better than having anyone else out there at 100%."
ORLY? How gracious of you! I am (was) so fortunate...
He knew DS was with me until later in the day one time we had to go to court. Shortly after court, I got a text from him saying that he had contacted all of the utilities and closed all accounts in his name effective at midnight. If I wanted to have electric, heat (it was the end of November), water, etc. , after midnight I'd best get busy opening accounts in my name. My response? "Thank you". I knew it was just an attempt to panic me and control how I spent my day so that maybe I wouldn't be able to enjoy my time with DS who was visiting from away. He did many other things like that. Always had.
As my friend said, he was "setting me up to fail" with most of the things he did. Just when he knew I had something I needed or wanted to get done for myself or someone else, he would make some unreasonable demand of my time that would cause me stress.
No wonder I felt such great relief when he was gone! I will check out the NPD thread and also ask my IC about it when I can go back. Thanks for this. Very enlightening. Sorry you had reason to learn so much about it.
I just finished the best book I have ever read on this subject. "The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists" by Eleanor Payson. I highly recommend this to everyone who is/has dealt with NPD.