Narcissistic Personality Disorder


#1

I was wondering if anyone else here ever had to deal with one of these NPD people... especially someone "close" to you like family or a spouse. If so how did it effect you and what signs did you notice in that other person before you realized the problem? One huge obstacle is that they're really hard to get an official diagnosis on anyway, since they never think anything could possibly be wrong with them and so they refuse to get evaluated.

Also, how did you ultimately deal with the relationship? I'm preparing to go permanently no-contact with my own father very soon and even with everything he's done it still just kinda feels weird. :shrug: (I started another thread about the whole situation with him a couple of months ago, but it was eventually locked for some reason)


#2

I didn't read your other thread before posting.

What I did was no contact except at family functions, etc when other people are around and can be in the conversations. I never speak to this person on the phone or if we happen to be alone, I may say something but promptly find a reason to be around other people.

This person is my MIL.


#3

Yeah, the other thread isn't even essential to the question anyway. I just put it there so that people could look at it if they had other questions. Thanks for your reply.


#4

I don't know if I've ever had a close relationship with a true narcissist (someone who is diagnosable as such) but I have known people with that character type. I found that they can be charming as long as you don't say or do anything that challenges their opinion of themselves. If you do, things can get mean and ugly.

If they hurt you in some way they will deny it. For example, their classic apology, if you can even get one, is "I'm sorry if you feel hurt." Not I'm sorry I hurt you. They engage in behavior that they know is hurtful (they don't care about your feelings) and then when you get hurt, they turn it around on you and make you the villain. I call their behavior crazy-making as in it can make you question or judge your own feelings and whether you really are the one who is to blame for getting upset over something you shouldn't have been upset over!

Does this describe your dad?


#5

Rarely are narcissistics diagnosed because they think nothing is wrong.


#6

[quote="exoflare, post:1, topic:229828"]
I was wondering if anyone else here ever had to deal with one of these NPD people... especially someone "close" to you like family or a spouse. If so how did it effect you and what signs did you notice in that other person before you realized the problem? One huge obstacle is that they're really hard to get an official diagnosis on anyway, since they never think anything could possibly be wrong with them and so they refuse to get evaluated.

Also, how did you ultimately deal with the relationship? I'm preparing to go permanently no-contact with my own father very soon and even with everything he's done it still just kinda feels weird. :shrug: (I started another thread about the whole situation with him a couple of months ago, but it was eventually locked for some reason)

[/quote]

First of all, my prayers. Personality disorders, and there are many, are difficult to deal with. Esp when they are people in our own families.

It is possible to love someone, and pray for someone, yet at the same time put them outside our our boundries that we need to keep to maintain our own health and safety.
I won't go into detail with my own experiences, but I do know what you are up against, the confusion it can bring esp when you are sincerely trying to be an authentic disciple of our Lord.

Love them, pray for them, and put them in the hands of Our Lord. He understands.
People with both mental health issues and personality disorders never asked for these problems. Yet they have them. We are called to love them, pray for them, but that doesnt mean we have to trust them or have them intimately in our lives.

God Bless.


#7

I feel your pain. We had to do the whole cutting off contact with my sister, who I suspect has NPD as well.

Honestly, it was the best thing that I ever did for myself and my family. The other responses I read were spot on.

I'll add your intentions to my prayer intentions.


#8

[quote="DJgang, post:2, topic:229828"]
I didn't read your other thread before posting.

What I did was no contact except at family functions, etc when other people are around and can be in the conversations. I never speak to this person on the phone or if we happen to be alone, I may say something but promptly find a reason to be around other people.

This person is my MIL.

[/quote]

Having allies/witnesses sounds like a very wise idea in this type of situation. Then you don't question yourself and let the mind games be able to get to you.

Have dealt with some folks with borderline personality which is also tricky. There's a book called I Hate You Don't Leave Me about this that teaches a good simple strategy for getting along. I can't remember it all off the top of my head but it's kind of an assertiveness/reality check but with compassion. Fraternal correction for the difficult-to-fraternally-correct, if you will. ;)


#9

While I have never dealt closely with a person diagnosed with a Personality Disorder, mental illness is something that some of my family members have battled for years.

It's very difficult to offer support and love and guidance to a person whose brain isn't "wired" in a way that will appreciate or understand all the time you spend with them and effort you put forth to try to help.

Lots of prayers are being sent your way.

While this is not the same as NPD, my father suffered a front lobe brain injury about 15 years ago that certainly "rewired" his personality and thinking. It's taken a lot of adjusting on the part of my mother and sister to adapt to his different personality and quirks. As my father was healthy prior to his injury, it helps me to remember what an amazing father he was during my childhood. He's still a wonderful dad - but now that I am 32 I do not depend on him like I did as a kid.

Anyway, sending many prayers and well wishes your way.


#10

Yes, I was married to one for 15 yrs. He was diagnosed as a teen and after several years of marriage I found the papers from his psyc report. Let me tell you, for a long time I would notice certain things about him but he was so convincing and somehow it always turned out to be me imagining he said that or did this. They are very cunning people and extremely charming. Everyone loved him which made me think, "it must just be me that notices these things" and so I shrugged off a lot. Until one day when a friend confided in me that she noticed a few things about him that really worried her. I then knew it was not me imagining things or reading more into a conversation, or an action.

It became very bad when I was pregnant. He seemed to resent this unborn child that he said he wanted. As time went on I realized not to leave him alone with our baby as he didn't have any attachment and I feared for my son and with good reason.

Ultimately, his abusive behavior towrds our son ended with me calling the police, sending him to jail, filing criminal charges, and ended in a criminal court with restraining orders and finally divorce.

My son at 16 yrs old, tried to have a relationship with his Dad and decided to go to his step sisters wedding in California and the abuse started all over again once he was there. He cornered our son in the hotel room, locked the door, and brow beat him and belittled him to the point that I was very surprised he did not break. He actually came back from that "trip" feeling confident and very sure that he never wanted to have any further contact with his Dad again. Those invited to the wedding refused to intervene because for fear of retaliation.

While I stood up for my son and it looks like your Mom did not, I do want to say that it is very possible she was afraid to interfer or to even try to protect you because she may have feared that he would come down even harder on you. People with NPD want to be the only one and they do not want to have to share love even with a child. They seem to consider them competition for affection.

There are quite a few on board that were either married to those with this disorder or raised by a parent with NPD. I am keeping you in my prayers for a healing. Your story just made me cry for you.


#11

[quote="DJgang, post:5, topic:229828"]
Rarely are narcissistics diagnosed because they think nothing is wrong.

[/quote]

In fact, they tend to cause people around them to get treated for various ailments that they either cause or exacerbate!

Remove the NPD person and suddenly everyone improves!


#12

It sounds as though your ex-husband was truly a sociopath, not merely an NPD although there is a lot of overlap and the profession isn’t truly sure where one leaves off and another begins. Many NPDs can live their lives being very manipulative of others, very sneaky, dishonest, self-centered to the extreme, but not being physically abusive or going into criminal behavior. I have one of those in my married family, he creates so much chaos and always has, but he seems to still manage to have some attachments to people although you always wonder if he just wants something from you. He can have a vicious temper and has perhaps been violent in the past, but not lately.

These people should be kept as far away as possible, but this is very hard when it is a parent. A lot of children have a hard time facing how their parent really doesn’t even see them as a real person, but like a cardboard cut-out to be knocked down or shoved out of the way at any point. Let alone the abuse that can result if the child impedes them in some way.

The time and energy spent on dealing with the drama and trauma that originates from these people is extreme, yet they can be so charming that the outside observer believes that they are the wronged party, as they represent themselves. Yet they leave a trail of destruction behind them. Usually there are a lot of people in the past who have just washed their hands of the NPD person, cut their losses and gotten away, rather than put up with the abuse.

I wish I could cut this person entirely out of my life. I am trying to keep contact to a minimum but he is still causing chaos and disruption. I try to pray for him, even that is hard because he has really been so subversive to our family. I try to pray even though I am angry at him. What a waste of time and emotional investment towards a human being that only damages others.


#13

I went to a Catholic therapy a while ago and one of the two women who were "responsible" for me (details are unimportant) said she had a picture in her mind of a little boy who had half his body down in the floor out of fear for his (my) father and the terror regime that was prevailing in the house at the time. Now my mom was weak and had an ostrich attitude, granted, but no way on this earth could she have stood up to the insanity of my father without something dreadful happening to her, he would have destroyed my mother, psychologically and physically. In my case cutting off all ties never worked, but nowadays I see them infrequently, speak to my mother on the phone 1-2 time a week. My father has, too, helped me financially in the past, which I'm grateful for but at the same time it causes some confusion. Don't further hurt yourself by refusing the little good he does to you. As for myself, I don't consider my father good company or someone I particularly like to be around, but if he was half as bad as when I was young, I'd no longer have any contact. Focus on having good friends, solid relation with God, training for a fulfilling and satisfying career, don't deny the past but don't dwell on it. My father has some good in him, but he's a very wounded and emotionally crippled man, I hate to admit it, but he probably did his best, even though his best was nowhere near what I needed. To further complicate things, he was/is a very devout Catholic. That in part accounts for what I wrote for "religion". Peace and best of wishes to you.


#14

My father.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=440631&highlight=my+father+litcrit is the thread where I discovered he's a narcissist, thanks to Liberanosamalo. So many things suddenly started making sense and I stopped blaming myself for not loving him enough although he's always done so much for me and been the perfect father (the image he projected).

He was never truly abusive and really tried not to be like his mother, a malignant narcissist.

But he can still be hard to bear, and it's additionally hard because to everyone else he's the image of the perfect father and human being, and I'm not comfortable with cutting ties with him, but I think I've recently drawn some boundaries.

I was actually civil about it, but he 'punished' me for it by ignoring me, like he used to when I was a child, and I'd always have to 'realize' how I offended him and apologize if I ever wanted to talk to him again, although I'd done nothing wrong. Well, now I just don't notice the 'punishment' and, frankly, it's a relief when he doesn't call every day or drop by uninvited, so he eventually stops the ignoring and we're civil to each other once more, as if nothing happened, which is actually true, but I know he believes he's been grievously injured by me.

He badmouths me to my neighbors, criticizes me indirectly through my kids, implies I'm a failure, no matter what I do or achieve, and when I accomplish something concrete and hard to deny, he somehow takes credit for it and makes it seem like I'm doing it to please him.


#15

Be very careful! My SIL has had issues for years and it, very sadly, came to a head when she exposed our children to her affair with her best friend's husband. We have been to counseling with her (she wants to "make up" with the children) and the counselor has said that IF our children want to see her, they need to be very closely supervised because our my SIL does not have the capability of putting the best interest of our children (emotional, physical or spiritual) ahead of her own wants or demands. Our children don't want to see her so that's not an issue at this moment. (My SIL attempted to write an apology, it fell way short of what we instructed to look for if she was truly phased by the hurt she caused and our children came to the conclusion, on their own, that she would do it again if given the opportunity. That fact was validated in counseling.)

Good luck and remember that when you and your husband married, YOUR family's needs became the focus of your life. It's not your responsibility to please your father any longer.


#16

I cut my mother out of my life years ago. Best thing I ever did. Only wish I'd done it sooner.

Growing up with her was hell. But I always thought it was 'me'. After getting married and having 3 children, we moved in the same neighborhood hoping to have grandparents involved in my kids' lives.

Wrong.

I guess the day she stopped the elementary school bus and got on it to see my girls was an eye opener for me. I had told her she would not see my girls until she got things right with me. But I forgot, rules are for everyone else, not my mom. She has no boundaries. She does as she pleases.

Then she got angry with me (again) and moved 3 hrs. away without telling me. Another blessing in disguise.

So now, she and my dad have no contact with me or my kids or my grandkids. No weddings, no graduations, no holidays. It's been like this for years. At first I felt enormously guilty. But the time apart has helped me see more clearly. God has not called me to be abused. And I cannot fix my mom. I leave her in God's hands. There is no relationship with my dad because of her, but I have to leave that in God's hands, too.

I had to use my healthy time away from her to forgive her.... I had to do that for me, not her. It wasn't good for me to harbor hate in my heart.

So, OP, you are not alone. There are a lot of us out here who are survivors. Hopefully, our stories will help you and one day your story will help someone else.


#17

What amazing stories on this thread....I too have a mother with NPD and with whom I have recently cut ties. She is now busily painting herself as the victim with my entire family, who feel sorry for her (but not enough to actually go spend lots of time with her - she is very unpleasant). I think everyone wants me to go back to being the doormat I was, so they can be let off the hook.
I have spent my life trying to be a good daughter to a mother who put me through hell in childhood. Additionally, I forgave her when my own children came along so she could be a granny to them. Through the years she has been relentlessly negative about me and to me, meanly critical, talking about me behind my back like I was a dog - and I just put up with it.
Last year, I decided I had had enough and just cut off ties with her. I still feel extremely guilty but my priest and my therapist feel that that is the correct decision for me to make.
I am so glad I am not alone....please PM me with more info on how to deal with NPD mothers. I need so much encouragement right now.


#18

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:12, topic:229828"]
It sounds as though your ex-husband was truly a sociopath, not merely an NPD although there is a lot of overlap and the profession isn't truly sure where one leaves off and another begins. Many NPDs can live their lives being very manipulative of others, very sneaky, dishonest, self-centered to the extreme, but not being physically abusive or going into criminal behavior.

[/quote]

I believe that my MIL might have NPD. I've posted about this here:
Need help, advice and prayers... a VERY long rant

Also, I believe that my mother might be a sociopath, though, from what I have read, she has some traits of psychopaths, as well as narcissists, so I won't give any diagnosis. The fact is that she obviously has some serious issues and needs help. Instead, just as TheRealJuliane mentioned, she tries to make everyone who does not agree with her to look like a crazy person, and implies that that person has psychological issues :shrug: . MIL does the same, BTW.

These people should be kept as far away as possible, but this is very hard when it is a parent. A lot of children have a hard time facing how their parent really doesn't even see them as a real person, but like a cardboard cut-out to be knocked down or shoved out of the way at any point. Let alone the abuse that can result if the child impedes them in some way.

This is so true!! The only thing that matters to them are their own interests and desires, and we are only a part of the game...

Usually there are a lot of people in the past who have just washed their hands of the NPD person, cut their losses and gotten away, rather than put up with the abuse.

I can say this is true for my mother. There are very few people who stay in touch with her, and these only see her once a year or so, and mostly have no idea what kind of a person she is. And then, if someone sees through her facade and realizes who she really is, she would turn against that person, and try to destroy him/her - with talking behind their back, spreading false rumors, going to "psychics" to harm them, etc.
Thankfully, my mother was the one who ceased all contact with me, and then started presenting herself as the victim of an ungrateful daughter :shrug: . Well, by now I'm accustomed to the way she says terrible things behind my back, and besides, I feel so much better since having no contact with her, that I don't really care ;) .


#19

My father also has no friends. He doesn't stay in touch with what little family we've got left. He intermittently sees people here and there, and complains about me to them. His problem is, they then tell me all about it and are quite bewildered by what he said. Narcissists have their own world, but the people around them share more or less the same world.

I just saw the problem I had with my dad for 2 years in light of his narcissism and it's a relief to know I wasn't just being ungrateful and unreasonable.

See, my dad and I legally own 2 apartments - he owns the one he inherited from his parents, and I own the one I inherited from my mother, the one they used to live in. For years, he was living with his girlfriend in her house, renting one of the apartments for extra money, and using the other one as a 'base' in case she left him. And I let him, thinking he had the right to that.

But when I got a job in the city and needed to live there with my family, the only solution he allowed was to keep renting out the apartment he's less attached to and take the money from that, and to let us live in his 'base' - but he reserved the right to drop by any time, using his key, telling us which lamps need to be lit at all times and to wind the cuckoo clock that drove us crazy.

I wanted the other apartment, because it's a better place for the kids, the good schools are near, the park is near, and with a little creative architecture we can turn the dining room into a room for the kids.

He kept putting it off. He said it would happen, but in a few years. Meanwhile, we were to live in the place where we weren't allowed to move anything and where he felt free to barge in on us at any moment, once while we were having sex!

And he kept wanting to be seen as a victim, because I was trying to rob him of his extra income, when he was perfectly able all the time to rent out the other apartment for the same amount!

In my culture, parents very often, even if they can't really afford it, BUILD or BUY houses or apartments for their adult kids, and that's considered normal. Instead of young people being burdened with credit from the onset of their lives, the older people who've already raised kids are thought to be more able to buy real estate. I never expected this. Just to be allowed to use one of the apartments the two of us owned!

And I used to think of him as only too generous a father, because that was the image he projected when I was a child. He offered to buy me toys and clothes and gadgets, but I usually refused. Now I remember why - I didn't want to have to be so grateful all the time. Everybody thought I was such a modest child. Nope.

Only now do I realize it was all about control. A narcissist will only give when the gift serves to perpetuate the control. Anything that liberates the source of narcissistic supply will be put at the end of a long stick.

Well, I prayed about it and a solution came to us - the tenants wanted to move to the other apartment for the same price!

So now we're redecorating the 50+ year old apartment with its 50+ year old furniture that's falling apart. And we get the same criticism, over and over again, for every little piece of rotten squeaky wood we throw out. And our neighbors get his complaining. And my ILs. And my mom's sister.

And I asked him, repeatedly, if there was anything in the apartment he was attached to, anything dear to him, anything he'd like to take. Nope. Nothing.

And then, a year of 'You threw away the old big gray phone!' 'They threw away the old big gray phone!'

And we didn't evem throw it away. And I told him we didn't. But he prefers being the victim of us throwing away the big old gray phone and complaining about it to anyone with ears (didn't want to say anyone who'll listen, because people won't, but they have to).

And when I try to tell him to stop any of that, he sulks and gives me the silent treatment, his favorite punishment when I was a child. Only it doesn't work any more, because it's actually a relief to not get the daily dose of 'You threw away the big old gray phone' over the phone.

So he makes the first contact. Or I sometimes do, with a casual sms that shows I don't think there's been any problem in our communication at all. And he's all saccharine sweetness then.

I feel bad for him. I can see he's somehow suffering, but I can't take the blame for it any more. He's suffering because he wants to. I'm not hurting him, he's feeling hurt. I can pray for him and welcome him into our lives on our terms, but I can't play the sick narcissistic game with him.


#20

Children of narcissists are always worried they might be narcissists as well, and they usually exhibit some traits as a result of the conditioning.

I found an excellent definition. Normal children of narcissists might at times display behavior that is typical of narcissists, but if told about it, THEY WILL FEEL BAD ABOUT IT, OWN IT, AND TRY NOT TO DO IT AGAIN. Even more so than normal people whose parents are not narcissists.


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