It’s difficult to think of your ex skipping off happily into the sunset with their new love.
As normal people progress from childhood and adolescence into adulthood, most leave behind the childish temper tantrums, the stomping feet, yelling and crying, to get what they want and develop a more mature and refined manner. They learn patience and understanding and with maturity, learn that not everything will go their way all of the time. Sadly, people with narcissistic personality disorder cannot be considered ‘normal’ by any stretch of the imagination and never seem to move beyond their childish ways believing that the world evolves around them.
A sense of entitlement :
- Having an unrealistic belief that one has a right to have, do, or get something.
- The expectation or belief that you deserve special treatment / privileges.
Someone with narcissistic personality disorder has an unbelievable sense of entitlement. They are ruthless in their quest to ensure that their needs are met, which are more important than those of anyone else. Woe betide anyone who stands in the way of the narcissist and their goal. They don’t appear to have any sense of shame when it comes to trampling over others in order to achieve their desires.
During conversations in public, the narcissistic personality feels entitled to interrupt when other people are talking. After all, it’s difficult to be the centre of attention when other people have taken centre stage.
In their minds they need to get what they want, when and how they want. What happens when they sate their appetite? It won’t be enough…they’ll crave more. The narcissist is never satisfied because the goal posts are always moved.
The word, ‘compromise’ is not a word in the narcissist’s vocabulary. Someone with such an acute sense of entitlement doesn’t want to meet anyone half way and will push the boundaries until they get their own way. Rules don’t apply to them. It’s their way or the highway.
To normal people this kind of behaviour comes across as incredibly selfish, and it is. The needs of those around them are of little or no consequence and are pushed to the bottom of the queue. Sometimes a narcissist can come across as a generous, kind and gentle soul, usually at the outset of a relationship. Don’t be fooled. Their apparent kindness and generosity are a ruse, created when there is something in it for them. They give in order to get.
Written by Anne McCrea
Can a leopard change its spots? Once we discover the real person, the person behind the deceptive outward appearance, we often wonder if they will ever change, if they can change.
The subject of change is open to debate. It is a question that has been asked time and time again. It is a difficult question and one that there is no straight forward answer to but I will give you my opinion and please note, this is my own personal opinion.
I believe that generally, no, these people do not change. They don’t want to change. They want everyone around them to change. Many professionals in the field of psychology will say that they cannot change, it is their personality, it is their nature and it is who they are. Change would involve the person with NPD recognising that the problems lie within themselves, having a conscience, learning to empathise.
Empathy is described by the Cambridge English Dictionary as, ‘The ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation.’
I don’t know about you but from my experience I feel that even if they can imagine what it would feel like to be in another’s shoes at a particular moment in time, they simply don’t care. As long as the negative feelings are not felt by themselves, then the matter is not of their concern.
Our feelings are emotions that define our character and define who we are. Emotions in someone with narcissistic personality disorder have not advanced and developed with age as one would expect to see in a normal healthy adult. Their emotional maturity is somewhat limited.
If you believe that you are the one person who is going to change them, think again. You can’t save a narcissist from themselves. You need to concentrate on saving yourself fro the narcissist.
If someone looks at themselves in the mirror and doesn’t like what they see, they may resort to cosmetic surgery. They may go for a face lift or a nose job in order that they may get to like the reflection that they see staring back at them. Does a narcissist like what they see in the mirror? Most of the time I would think that they do but I don’t believe that they take a very close look. They live in denial. They know that if they look too closely, they will see themselves for who they really are. Rather than their delusional image of their superiority being shattered, they take a step back from the mirror, not wanting to see what’s really there. By having blind spots, they can carry on regardless, fooling themselves that when relationships don’t work out for them, it’s always someone else’s fault, never their own.
Are there exceptions?
Yes, I believe that there are. Everyone in life has their difficult times and we learn to deal with life’s problems and move on. What happens to a narcissist when their problems become so overwhelming that they wonder, ‘Could this be me?’ ‘Could I be the one that has a problem?’ When every relationship that they have in their lives bites the dust, some may have this wake up moment. Change is an inside job. They need to want to change and sadly the majority never feel the need to change. The road ahead would be a very difficult journey, trying to change who they are, trying to change a lifetime’s beliefs and behaviours. Can it be done? If they have reached that point in their lives where they don’t like what they see in the mirror, where they realise that their strength will come from change and not control, then maybe, but don’t count on it. I believe that for those who possess just a few of the traits of NPD, there is a possibility that their behaviour may be modified for a time. Just how long that time will last remains to be seen.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has shown a limited amount of success. I have yet to read of a malignant narcissist changing for the better over the long term.
‘As you get older you realize that some people are just shitty human beings and there’s nothing you can do to change them. If they don’t want to change, you can’t do it for them. Stop searching for the good in them that simply isn’t there.’
At the end of the day I believe that the likelihood of any significant change is negligible. Try not to fall for their assurances that they have changed. Assume that they are the same individual that they were in the past. A narcissist can put on a very convincing act, an Oscar winning performance, in order to convince you that they are a different person now. If you have managed to move on without this person being a part of your life, don’t go back to a long time ago and put yourself through all the pain and hurt once again. Those days are likely to return.
Dr. Lynne Namka, says that people with severe narcissistic traits have limited emotional intelligence – and tons of psychological defenses – standing in the way of recovery, being unable to see the depth of their pathology as to know their shortcomings would send them into great shame which would trigger depression.
The narcissist is likely to remain a narcissist until their dying day.
The page and website have continued to grow steadily. With your help we are reaching millions of people worldwide, educating and raising awareness about narcissistic personalities and the people they target.
I always say to people not to expect others to understand unless they have been there. I’ve been there. I’ve been there and I’m back stronger than ever before.
Like many of you the term, narcissism was something that I had heard of but did not fully understand until I had the misfortune of becoming involved with these toxic individuals.
After the tragic death of my husband I had a relationship with a man who I had known as a friend for quite a few years. At first he was charming, considerate and everything that I thought a man should be. After a short period of time the cracks started to appear, ever so subtly at first. Looking back, I can now see those ‘red flags.’ I didn’t realise just how significant they were, little things like talking down to the waiter, speaking badly of just about everyone from his son and granddaughter to his neighbours and acquaintances. I don’t think there was anyone in his ‘circle’ who didn’t receive a bashing from his barbed tongue. I was subjected to the silent treatment every few months, lasting weeks at a time. I could never really figure out why. At the time of my husband’s death, he was like a rock for me. After a period of ‘the silent treatment’ when my father was dying six years ago, he became that rock for me once again. He was never physically abusive with me but he had been with his ex-wife. How do I know this? He told me in such a way that made me believe that she somehow deserved it. Foolish, I know, but that was all part and partial of the twisted mind games he played. Looking back I wonder if this was a warning to behave and follow his rules. Possibly! I wish I had known then what I know now. I would have walked away much, much sooner.
We parted for the last and final time four years ago. It has been a difficult journey but one that I know was absolutely necessary. This page has helped me and I know from your comments and messages that it has helped so many of you. It is heartening to know that something good has come out of such a difficult period of my life. During this past four years I have made many new friends and rekindled many old friendships. I have been surprised at the number of people who have said to me that I am so much better off without this man in my life. I certainly know that I am. It’s strange, but at the time, you don’t see just how unpopular the person you are involved with really is. People don’t tend to be up front and honest at the time by telling you what they really think, probably imagining that you will either not listen or that you will find out for yourself in time. Since I walked away from this toxic relationship, not one person that I have spoken to, has a good word to say about him. Am I surprised? No, not now, but I probably wouldn’t have listened if they had told me their honest opinions whilst I was in the midst of a toxic whirlwind.
Unfortunately whilst recovering from this relationship and studying narcissistic personality disorder, I found myself in another situation where people were not as they appeared to be. My horses were stabled at a yard close by. After catching one of the people who ‘runs’ the yard, (I use that term lightly) trying to steal from me, I called them out on their behaviour, having written proof. Their true colours certainly came out in the wash. Lies and a smear campaign followed. The owner of the yard knew the truth and stood by me and I thank her for that. How did I deal with this situation? I moved my horses to another yard where, I am glad to say the people are much more pleasant and above all, honest. Sometimes cutting contact with toxic people is the only answer.
I have learned a lot over the past few years. I have learned that some people who I thought were decent, honest people, were anything but. I learned not to tolerate toxic behaviour from anyone. Life is too short to put up with that sort of negativity. I’ve learned that it’s not my job to fix those people. Their problems are their misfortune and they will have to deal with those themselves.
My main reason for starting this page just over two years ago was to spread awareness about the subject of NPD and the devastating consequences of being involved with a narcissist in one way or another. The text below is the original article that I wrote some time ago.
A relationship with a narcissist is a roller coaster ride with many highs and lows along the way. There is no happy ending. I would describe the aftermath as a plundering of your heart and soul. After being subjected time and time again to endless silent treatments, I knew that I had to walk away to save me. I still loved the nice side of the man but sometimes love is not enough. To those of you who are not familiar with narcissism I will enlighten you as to some of the traits of narcissism which appears to be on the increase in today’s society.
Many experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.
DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
- Exaggerating your achievements and talents
- Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
- Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
- Requiring constant admiration
- Having a sense of entitlement
- Expecting special favours and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
- Taking advantage of others to get what you want
- Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
- Being envious of others and believing others envy you
- Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
One of the most reliable ways for a narcissist to feel good about themselves is to invalidate, devalue or denigrate others. They routinely put their own needs before those of anyone else, frequently even those of their own children and loved ones. They ‘use’ them to their own advantage and when they are no longer needed, they are unceremoniously discarded. To the outside world the narcissist may appear to be successful and charming, but to those closest to them, the mask slips and the evil behind the mask is revealed.
How do we, as a partner or spouse, get sucked into this nightmare? For several months or so, the narcissist will pretend to be everything you ever wanted. They will shower you with attention and affection and make you feel like you have met your soulmate. Then when you are hooked, they will reveal who they really are. You will see a dramatic change in their behaviour. They will start treating you badly, lie, cheat, manipulate, humiliate you and give you the ‘silent treatment’. You will have no idea why. You have been brainwashed. People with NPD are master manipulators. Your will try to figure out what happened and to do everything in your power to restore the relationship. By this stage your self-worth is somewhere in the gutter and you feel like a failure.
Why do people put up with this? Years spent with a narcissists will alter anyone. People who were once strong become weak, nervous and anxious and they don’t see it happening.
Eventually, most targets of a narcissistic personality will have that ‘wake up’ moment when they will see through the exasperating dishonesty and the crazy making behaviour. They learn that there is no reasoning with these toxic individuals. They never hold themselves accountable for their monstrous behaviour. They are never wrong. Nothing is ever their fault. They will blame you for the very things that they do themselves. They cannot be fixed. You cannot unseat their deep hatred and shame. They envy everything they see in you because they know that they can never truly feel and love in the way that you can. They are emotionally stunted.
You will not change them. Not recognising these facts will lead to your own self destruction. Emotions are a very powerful phenomenon. The invisible scars run so very deep and take a very long time to heal, for some, a lifetime. The betrayal by someone who you thought loved you is like a stab in the very core of your being.
Of this man, who I gave six years of my life to I will say that I was devoted to him, loved him with all my heart, yet he almost destroyed me. Now when I think of him I feel no hate, no pity, nothing, zilch, love – not an ounce.
He is 70 now, and I think that he will get what he deserves in life, a lonely old age, being on the receiving end of what he gave to others all his life. Time stands still for no one. Over the course of time lovers lose their allure, philanderers lose their touch, looks fade and true character is always revealed to those who have learned to see. Time brings the narcissist closer and closer to being average.
In order for a narcissist to change they need to admit to themselves that their behaviour and treatment of others is not acceptable. This will not happen because the narcissist is never wrong. Compassion and empathy are considered weaknesses. The narcissist may fake both of these qualities if and only if there is something in it for them.
Narcissistic abuse is insidious in that it is almost always covert and often indirect. This type of abuse is carried out subtly as narcissists go to great lengths to avoid being seen in public as abusive. This Jekyll and Hyde behaviour can inflict great harm on a target. People find themselves walking on eggshells in an effort to avoid further conflict. A narcissist doesn’t look for compromise or a relationship in which everyone can be happy. They are looking for POWER AND CONTROL.
All in all the narcissists as they age will have had a string of failed relationships and lost friendships. Family will avoid them unless there is something in it for them. Sadly their children often turn out the same. The old saying, ‘the apple does not fall far from the tree,’ is very true. They cut a lonely figure in a decaying body, their loneliness is brought about by their own doing. Some might say that this is poetic justice.
The man that I was involved with has already lost a daughter who he has not spoken to in years. She doesn’t realise how lucky she is.
Forgiveness? Forgiveness does more for the forgiver than the forgiven. I don’t think that it should be universal. If there is absolutely no remorse and the person intends to continue abusing others and behaving badly, then I personally do not think they deserve to be forgiven.
It has taken me a long time to get to where I am now. The devastation caused by their betrayal and knowing that you meant absolutely nothing to these toxic individuals will take you as low as you can possibly imagine. Getting yourself back to who you once were will take a lot of hard work and soul searching but you can get there with the help of true, genuine friends, people who will listen and not judge. For some people, that may involve counselling.
The past nine years have been difficult at times. I lost my husband, my father, my mother, one of my horses and two of my dogs. I fell in love with someone who I thought was the man of my dreams only to find out he was the stuff nightmares are made of. I’ve met people since who showed me their true colours. They are no longer a part of my life. Lastly, there was the smear campaign. All the little minions who believed the lies are long gone. The people who really know me know the truth and that’s all that matters.
I have come out the other side wiser and much stronger than I ever was. You can too. Have a little faith in yourself. Time has a way of healing even the deepest of scars.
Written by Anne McCrea
Mayo Clinic Staff, (Nov 2014), Mayo Clinic: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, [Online], accessed Mar, 2016.
In nature, the spider is almost the craftiest of them all, for it will seek out a path well travelled to lay a trap for its unsuspecting victim. Spinning a web of the finest thread, the spider awaits prey to fly around the corner, so oblivious to the web’s silk which is so fine that it can almost be invisible. As prey hits the web, the spider feels vibrations of movement and rushes out toward its prey, injecting a paralysing venom to halt the new victim’s efforts of escape before slowly wrapping it in a cocoon of silk.
The once easily recognisable creature now looks a far cry from its once proud self. For any nature enthusiast who ever looks closely at a spider’s web, many of the prey are indistinguishable from one another once they’ve been wrapped by the spider, yet they could be vastly different creatures.
The spider in some ways is a good analogy of a narcissist. Unwittingly, the victim comes into contact with the web of a narcissist, which like long tendrils can hamper your attempts to escape. Once the narcissist knows you are stuck in their web, they quickly and proficiently inject you with some of their poison to make you feel there is no way out. And to make matters worse, you become part of that web as the spider wraps you in silk to ensure your captivity.
The problem is however, that a web can only support so much weight, and, like a narcissist, a spider can become greedy and use its web to engulf as many people into their world of deceit that the foundations begin to stretch. The spider tries to keep tabs on everything in the web, but sometimes there is just too much going on that the spider will begin to make errors. Errors such as letting their true nature show; having a web too big that they just can’t control it anymore. But sometimes it just takes the smallest outside influence like a gust of wind to come along and tear down everything the narcissist has tried to create.
The web of deceit slowly stretches and falls apart. Some of the victims have been encased for so long that escape seems almost impossible whilst others have only just touched the web that escape is so close on the horizon. But webs are sticky. Sometimes trying to muster enough strength to break free is near unreachable. Some victims may escape the web only to get stuck on another thread of silk. But for those at the centre of the web, there are many threads to cross and therefore many chances to become stuck.
The point of this analogy is, if you have found yourself caught in that web, it won’t be a downhill ride to freedom, it’ll be an uphill struggle to shake free of your bonds. And even then, there’s every chance you’ll stumble along the way and find yourself stuck in another trap. Never lose faith in your ability to escape, for once that is gone, all that is left is the ever consuming deceit of the narcissist, and if you’re not careful and hasty, the narcissist might shackle you in their cocoon. As each layer of silk is wrapped around you, the light of the world around you and the freedom it represents grows ever more dark until you’re left on your own, in the encompassing black of darkness.
Written by Steven McCrea
Make no mistake, the narcissist knows their target is a good person. They know exactly how they are making their target feel by their betrayal. They simply don’t care as long as they, themselves, come out of the situation smelling of roses. Some will take great pleasure and feel a sense of power by simply knowing that they are the cause of another’s pain and emotional distress. By their manipulation, they are in control of their target’s emotions and of their relationships with others. They display absolutely no remorse or shame in the psychological harm and trauma that they cause to their victim, unless of course, they are caught.
What can you do about it?
If you have evidence of defamation of character through false accusations, seek legal advice.
Libel is a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation.
Slander is the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.
Written by Anne McCrea
THE SOUND OF SILENCE
A narcissist’s silent treatment is one of their favourite games of mind control. It is a passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse. Those who have never been subjected to this form of abuse will find it difficult to understand the utter devastation caused by what is sometimes known as mental murder. The narcissist will deliberately ignore their target in order to cause harm, often encouraging others to do the same (Ostracism). The person who is being ignored or ostracised is left feeling worthless with their self esteem lying somewhere in the gutter.
A relationship with a narcissist can be likened to a returning boomerang, ‘a weapon designed to return to the thrower.’
THE BYSTANDER IS AN ENABLER
‘In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.’
Martin Luther King Jr
‘You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know.’
An enabler can be described as a person who enables another to achieve an end, especially one who enables another to persist in destructive behaviour by providing excuses, concealing bad behaviour or helping an individual avoid the consequences of their behaviour.
How many people do you know who see something happening which they know is wrong and do absolutely nothing about it?
Have you seen people who know that abuse is taking place and they turn the other way?
Enablers fall into two categories, those who know that abuse is taking place and fail to do anything to prevent it and those who have been sucked into the narcissist’s deception and fail to see what is happening. The first category are undoubtedly guilty of being accomplices when it comes to the pain and suffering being endured by the unfortunate target of narcissistic abuse. However, the second may not be so culpable. They may not be in control of their own lives and may be bonded to or have been brainwashed by the narcissistic individual.
It is the first of these two categories that I want to take a look at, the person who witnesses others being slandered and abused and fails or refuses to take any action. Their failure to act and take a stand at obvious wrongdoing allows evil to spread its wings and continue. Good people need to stand up and be counted. They need to stand together and let abusers and evil doers know that their behaviour will not be tolerated.
‘What we allow will continue.’
By doing nothing, the wrong doer will not face the natural consequences of their actions or words. Research has shown that a disordered individual will not see the need for change unless they hit rock bottom. When enablers pander to the abuser’s every whim and do not call them out on their behaviour, they will never get to that place where they know that they have got to do something about their monstrous behaviour. Inaction of good people will enable these toxic individuals to keep on doing what they are doing. The pressure to enable may be intense, with the abuser often using manipulation tactics to get their needs met. Don’t be fooled and stop making excuses. Get a backbone from somewhere and do something.
Enablers often rush to clean up the mess left by a relative or friend whose anger has boiled over. Are they helping? Definitely not. Leave the evidence intact. Let them clean up after themselves. When they have calmed sufficiently, let them see how their actions and behaviour have affected others.
‘Short term pain vs long term misery.’
Unfortunately many abusers are not aware of their own mental state and their need of professional help and therefore have no compulsion to receive it. Enabling shields the person from awareness of the harm that they do.
‘The narcissist’s fan club will change over and over as people come and go. The lifespan of a flying monkey in the narcissist’s world is often limited. It’s a mug’s game. They are expendable and will be replaced when they can no longer be controlled or manipulated or when they are of no further use.’
As we know, the narcissist is on a never ending search for narcissistic supply. Where this supply comes from, is of little or no interest to them. Vulnerable or weak people often find themselves unable to stop facilitating a disordered person. They remain bonded with this toxic person, finding those bonds impossible to sever. Of course, there will be other loyal little soldiers who will do anything to please the narcissist to serve their own questionable plans.
Written by Anne McCrea