I am going to write this post as a personal exercise since reminding myself of all the ways, in which we can feed narcissists and preventing myself from doing it is a constant battle for me.
What is narcissistic supply?
In one of my earlier posts, I described how recovering from a narcissistic relationship enabled me to heal my childhood trauma and helped me emotionally and psychologically grow in ways I would have never expected that I was capable of.
The first part of this healing journey was learning about my own defence mechanisms and faulty patterns of behaviour, which I created to protect myself as a child growing up in a highly dysfunctional family.
The second part was about diving under the surface of human interactions and discovering how the invisible relationship dynamics and hidden agendas really run the show for us. Our understanding of this hidden world of interpersonal relations is key to stopping ourselves from constantly re-enacting the same situations and conflicts over and over again.
Most of us, unless we are committed to our personal growth and healing our inner incompletions, tend to seek to some extent energy from outside – it could be validation, approval, emotional soothing, feeling needed and wanted – anything that would make us feel better about ourselves.
Unless we are self-aware, we tend to look to outside sources to fill ourselves up with positive feelings rather than generating the happiness from inside. Most of us don’t do it in all areas of our lives but most do it in at least a few – and that’s the basis for unhealthy relationships. This invisible exchange of one person feeding the other person’s internal unmet needs is running the relationship dynamics that we live in. If this exchange of supply is interrupted, negative feelings come up. That’s the stuff that you feel when someone doesn’t like you or refuses to do what you wanted them to do.
The narcissists, however, takes this energy exchange on a totally different level. The narcissist runs on this external supply completely and has devised many resourceful ways how to garner it. He or she is totally dependent, or better say, addicted to it, which is the reason for their odd behaviours.
Positive supply: look how great I am
Some narcissists seek tonnes of positive supply. They could have extremely wide social circles of shallow relationships with people who never really get to know them but who are fed the narcissist’s awesome kind loving persona in exchange for validating the narcissist and stroking his ego. Narcissists might present themselves as saviours of people in distress (again only in superficial situations), to gain admiration and approval.
They may be focused on performance or looks, or other ways to make themselves feel superior to others, to gather this positive supply.
Negative supply: (S)he’s a crazy bitch
The narcissists that are less capable of generating positive supply would resort to garnering negative supply. Even the narcissists that are skilled at extracting positive supply (essentially in fooling people what awesome altruists they are) do need negative supply as well.
Negative supply is usually extracted from people who somehow triggered the narcissist (willingly or unwillingly), hurt their egos or threatened the narcissist’s version of reality (narcissists live in false realities). It simply might be someone the narcissist is jealous of or projects their inner shadow onto (narcissists disown their shadow, their dark side, and project it onto others. Because the narcissist subconsciously dislikes himself, he or she then dislikes the person onto whom they projected their shadow – you know the mind-fuck when they are accusing you of exactly the thing that they are doing to you? That’s a projection).
There are many ways how to extract negative supply. Spreading gossip and making themselves feel good by demeaning other people behind their back is the easiest way to go about it since it doesn’t require the narc to really expose himself.
But it gets worse. They would frequently choose vulnerable targets and try to passive aggressively demean them. They would try to push the target’s buttons and make them react to the narc’s passive aggressive behaviour only to totally blatantly deny having done anything if challenged by the target. They usually rightly sense, which target is reactive, and would focus on such a person to maximise the gains. They would manipulate others against the target, presenting their fantasy version of reality, in which the narc is the victim and the target is the perpetrator.
It sounds like a script from a bad movie but trust me, it does happen all too frequently.
It could be the emotionally abusive parent complaining to everyone who would listen what an ungrateful brat you are after you challenge his or her behaviour. It could be a narcissistic ex who discards of you without a second thought and starts telling everyone how desperately in love you still are with them when you start asking question about what happened in the relationship. It could be a work colleague that would deliberately ignore his responsibilities and when called out on that, unscrupulously deny it.
The problem is that the target is usually the only person aware of the narc’s sick games. Everyone else has heard the story that the target is somehow unstable, difficult, too sensitive, you name it. To the rest of the world, or at least to those that feed the narc positive supply, the narc is kindness embodied. He or she is exactly what those people want to see.
The target, on the other hand is frustrated, emotional, angry, upset. The target doesn’t understand how is it possible that despite his or her honest attempts to have a conversation about the situation, it is impossible to get anywhere. The narc doesn’t want to have such a conversation because he doesn’t want to resolve the conflict, which he or she has manufactured in the first place, to garner narcissistic supply. The more emotional the target gets, the more merciless the narc becomes, as he calmly points his finger at the target – you see, you are the problem, there is no problem apart from you and everyone agrees with me. You are the crazy one.
This ability to control, manipulate and extract emotional reaction from the target is the negative supply. The narc feels powerful, omnipotent, special.
Why does a narc need supply?
There has been quite a lot written by better experts than myself about why do narcissists need supply. Sam Vankin, an author and a psychiatrically diagnosed narcissist with an unusual ability to self-reflect, is probably one of the best sources to be found online. (Narcissists usually lack the ability to self-reflect and would totally reject any notion that there might be anything wrong with them, which is why it is so valuable to get a first-hand insight into the workings of a narc’s mind).
Vankin explains that as a result of some sort of an early emotional trauma, the narcissist subconsciously comes to a conclusion that they are faulty, unlovable and unworthy. This happens when the child is very young. As a result, the child essentially rejects his or her true self, cuts it off and replaces it with a construct – a false self that he believes is perfect, infallible, special. The problem is that because this false self is cut off from the person’s core, it needs to be constantly fed energy from the outside or else it starts disintegrating – hence the narc’s addiction to narcissistic supply.
If supply runs short, the narc may fall into depression. If there is no supply in a longer term, the narc starts submerging into his internal injuries. But not being able to face them, because that would make him face his faultiness, which is something he dreads, he needs to eradicate the crisis by either overriding it with other addictions (narcs are frequently addicted to all sorts of things) or finding a new source supply.
I remember the narc I used to be involved with telling a story when, at some point in his twenties, he was suffering from ‘an existential crisis’ and contemplated suicide. The ‘existential crisis’ was miraculously resolved when he met a girl (a new source of supply).
A true depression is resolved from within. The person allows themselves to sink into their darkness, resolves internal conflicts and grows into a better, more whole version of themselves. Narcs can’t do that. They would brag about their depression but never really do any real inner work, growing and healing. They would emerge exactly the same as they were, as soon as the flow of supply had been restored. Just like a junkie – the withdrawal symptoms would disappear as soon as the narc regains access to the drug. The narc continues unchanged in his ways. But now he has a story to tell to his followers about the ‘hardships’ he endured.
How to stop handing over narcissistic supply?
Narcissists’ dependence on supply is their weakness. Narcissists’ dependence on the supply gives power to the people who are the source of supply. However, this power is difficult to execute for two reasons.
When we are the source of positive supply, we are usually unaware, not awakened yet to the realities of narcissism. We are gullible, we ourselves are trying to source quite a bit of energy from the outside and therefore we easily fall into the narc trap (beaming at the flattery, participating in the gossip, accepting the narc’s version of reality and his poor me the victim and the horrible crazy bitch story).
When we become the source of negative supply, we might be either emotionally attached to the narc or we are simply someone who has been targeted because our inherent reactivity caused by our early family conditioning. We are unaware of the working of the narcissist’s mind but we sense that this particular person is acting in some odd ways.
Even after we learn about narcissism and understand what is really going on here and how these people operate, it still might be tricky to stop the reactivity and the flow of supply towards the narc. Our primary family conditioning has primed as to be exactly that – a reactive emotional source of supply – and this pattern of behaviour is very powerful.
The general recommendation how to deal with narcissists is the so-called grey rock method. It’s essentially not reacting to the narcissist in any emotional way until he or she gets bored and focuses on someone else.
However, this is easier said than done. We are emotionally attached to them. We are still looking for the false self that we fell for. But that is nowhere to be found. The narc is now an enemy and is deliberately targeting our deepest triggers. Even if we manage not to react to the narcs’ behaviours, my experience is that they sense our internal discomfort and that in itself is enough for them to want to continue the game until they make us flip.
The only way to stop feeding narcs supply therefore really is to heal our triggers to the level that we have no internal emotional reaction to the narc anymore. (The work of Melanie Tonia Evans is an awesome resource on this journey).
The goal is for us to reach the stage where the narc has absolutely zero influence on what we do and how we feel. We don’t get angry about their provocation. We don’t get sad about their silent treatment. We don’t take their shaming and blaming personally. We understand that a narc is on the emotional level of a five-year-old and his actions are simply the acting out of that five-year-old (you know that flatmate that keeps using your shower gel even if you repeatedly ask them not to and keeps denying ever having done that despite the evidence).
Winning over a narc is about absolutely trusting our inner knowing, our gut and our truth. It’s the level of confidence when the narc’s attempts to make us doubt our reality and start thinking that maybe it really is us who is crazy or difficult no longer work.
For me, the journey still continues.
I am trying to look at them as objects to study. I am trying to observe them and watch their behaviours as a zoologist would watch animals in nature. I am simply trying to be curious about them without engaging with them. Like watching a tiger from a safe distance. Fascinating but you don’t want to become his diner.
One of the trickiest bits is coming to terms with the fact that there is no point in trying to persuade people who are under the narc’s influence about your version of reality. I am still working on that one. I am still uncovering anger at past passive aggressive attacks on myself from various narcs, especially those in my family. I still have to remind myself to disengage from the narc’s followers and let them learn their lessons in their own time.
Confidence and the real immunity against narcs is when you can just say “alright, so you think that I am crazy because I didn’t like this or that. Well, just keep thinking that. Maybe I don’t need you in my life.”
And you move on and don’t mind.
Why do we need to stop handing over all sorts of supply to narcissists?
There is a higher purpose in learning to understand narcissism and stopping the provision of narcissistic supply. It’s not just about our personal boundaries and happy lives.
If enough people heal sufficiently and become aware of the quirks of narcissism, narcissism will be eradicated. No one would voluntarily want to feed the monsters since people would acknowledge how terribly dangerous they are.
I personally do believe that narcissism is the core of all the evil in the world. No matter how altruistic, kind and loving they may present themselves to their followers, narcissists lack empathy. That’s what defines them. Narcissists don’t have conscience because their brain is wired to blame others. Their brain is wired to deflect responsibility. This strange brain wiring allows them to pretend to be super-kind on one hand, while acting in mean and abusive ways towards those they designated as deserving punishment.
Here are a few examples of how the narc’s mind operates.
The narc I was involved with used to tell a story from when he was five years old and kicked a girl in the kindergarten in the crotch. At the age of 30, he was still laughing about it and saying that the five-year old girl deserved it because she was a bitch. There were many other bitches deserving bad treatment in his world.
In my family of origin, I would get blamed for the fact that my father was emotionally abusing me when I was in me early teens. I, as a twelve year-old, deserved to be told that I should die and that I am a loser, by an adult man because, guess what, I was difficult and not treating him nicely. Until today my family would engage in this victim blaming, even telling me that I am making things up, when I bring up some stuff from the past.
Do you see the pattern? They deserve it! The victims deserve to be treated like this. Sounds a bit like Hitler, right? The Jews – they deserved it! They deserved it all, the camps, the transports, the gas chambers. And it’s obviously not just the Jews and Hitler. The blacks deserved to be treated like animals. The opponents of the Catholic Church deserved to burn at stakes. The list can go on forever.
The absolute lack of empathy with the victim, the rationalisation of the abusive action, the victim blaming – this is in heart of all the evil in this world. And all these are symptoms of pathological narcissism.
Now you see why I think eradicating narcissism is the most important thing if the world is ever to become a better place. I want to give credit where credit is due. The amazing narcissistic abuse recovery guru Melanie Tonia Evans has written about this before me.
We are fortunate enough that we live in an era when we do have choices. We are not those accused by the Spanish inquisition of witchcraft and heresy.
Next time you feel triggered by someone’s insane behaviour, instead of explaining yourself, instead of trying to make them acknowledge their fault, just look within. Focus on the difficult feelings. Remember that the narc is an emotional five-year-old and the only power he has over you is the power you give him.
I love this article in describes so much about where I am right now on this journey. Thank you x
Thank you for your comment. I am always happy to hear from others on this journey. I hope you are doing well and are past the worst. It will only get better 🙂
I appreciate the article. I can relate completely after going through a relationship with a narcissist. What’s interesting to me is very simply that the narcissist and the co-dependent are just two sides of the same coin. Both are seeking to have their needs met externally. Completely externally focused to avoid healing feeling the pain of their wounds and healing them. I am speaking simply from my personal experience. Lacking empathy for a narcissist contributes to the whole negative cycle, it doesn’t eradicate it, it feeds it. Per your article, a lack of empathy is what defines a narcissist. I feel deep compassion and empathy for the narcissist in my life. I choose not to be their food, but I would never judge them in anyway. It is a horrible existence, equally as horrible as co-dependency. Judging them simply brings the judgement back to me because as a co-dependent my behavior was just as poor as theirs. And it continues the whole cycle of being externally focused to feel better internally. Until we all come to a place of internal healing, and internal focus, and real love, we will be unable to feel that empathy and compassion that allows for healthy boundaries, and the supply for the narcissist will continue.
I agree with you. The only difference is that thanks to our empathy, we, as codepndents, don’t steep that low to hurt someone… that was a novelty for me…
Very true. I can appreciate the out of nowhere, for no reason, unexplainable hurt that they inflict. I knew how to hurt them back too, and I did. The only difference was, mine was predictable, hers wasn’t. It is a very sad thing. Sometimes I imagine narcissists sitting around having conversations about the co-dependents in their lives, and all the terrible things the codependent did to them. Haha.
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Yeah, I came to the conclusion that it’s OK for them to be the way they want to be, the problem is the mind-fuck they cause to people who don’t expect that. Like being through this love-bombing, pedestal, you are the best of the best, I am so serious about you phase, and then suddenly being worth less then garbage and when you want to understand and ask for closure and explanation, you suddenly get all this abuse because they are simply done with you and you have no value for them whatsoever…. that was very difficult for me to comprehend because in normal relationship, that doesn’t happen. I feel that it is important for people to understand this disorder so that they can protect themselves. Otherwise, let them live the way they want. I just feel it’s important that they don’t mix up and mess up with people who, even though codependent, are normal. Then, of course, it’s the codependent’s responsibility to heal. A codependent person can heal, the narc, usually not, or it’s a much trickier process..
This is what I needed and no counselor could help with talking back in the twisted word salad. Staying away and doing no contact after the narcissist has done all this damage to your soul is a defeat. Yes they open you up to your triggers. It is nice to be prepared for when they come back. I have had a Hoover every 5-6 months after a year being divorced . The judge who is my ex husband plays the mean and nice cycle and fluctuates from being that child. I feel like I am healing and then something he does sets me off where I wanna be in that place where he is a vivid memory and that he doesn’t turn our kids against me.
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Thank you for your comment. Stay strong. It’s a journey…
I truly believe these people are the source of almost all instability in the world, from individual problems in families to disruption in schools all the way to impoverished countries and wars. I truly wish for a cure for this disorder. Until then, I feel we must do a much, much better job of educating ourselves on just how dangerous these creatures roaming through our lives and societies are. They are just minusculy off the criminal radar. How can we warn others so they are insulated and protected rather than accidental enablers of these toxic people the way I used to be?
My boss is a sociopathic narcissist. The way he treats me when no one is looking is outrageous. The way he treats those ensnared in his personal life is far worse.
When I first transferred into my new office, I listened intently to my boss, enjoying learning about his priorities and experiences. I was excited to work for him. After a time, however, I began to hope that my newness would wear off and he wouldn’t spend so much time talking to me, I had work to do afterall. As the days and weeks and months went by and he kept up these marathon “meetings,” I began telling myself as I drove to the office that surely he would not bother me again all day today!
After a year of this, I began listening to him for awhile and then breaking for the restroom. It worked only if someone else was there that he could talk to. Otherwise he’d return seconds after I got back to my desk. I tried working with my back to my door from my credenza. He came to the side of it and talked to me standing inches from me for HOURS. I asked him politely to excuse me so I could get my work done only to have him reappear within minutes pretending he had important matters to discuss with me (comic con photos he’d taken or why he wanted to be a surfer or how great the women were at the ski slopes in Kazahkstan for piling food on the table for everyone to share or why satan is better than God or why it would be nice to live in a virtual world or any other topic of absolutely zero relevance to work). I closed my door. He knocked and came in anyway.
Not realizing he was a narcissist or even knowing the word or that such subhuman creatures in perfectly normal human bodies existed in the world, I finally relayed to him that the work I was trying to do was for him and that I didn’t want to miss the deadline he had given me and so I proposed that I go home to work in order to finish it.
He became pale with anger, raised his voice and said he had important things to discuss with me and working from home was not an option, I could not leave.
I asked if he would let me have my office to myself then. He responded by pretending not to hear me. When he didn’t leave after another hour, I got up announcing I needed some water. He stood as soon as I did and moved between me and my office door. I continued toward him. When he didn’t step aside, I cupped my hands on his shoulders, turned him as I would a small child, and walked him out my door. He resisted slightly at first and then chuckled and gave way. I had assumed it meant he had realized how ridiculously he had been treating me.
Many months later, I learned he had gone to his office that second and taken me out of the budget. I had cut off his narcissitic supply, which caused narcissistic injury, which led to covert narcissistic rage. I was to be let go at the end of the quarter. In hindsight, it may have been sociopathy at work there, too, patiently testing my patience until he gathered something sufficient enough to fire me.
He didn’t speak to me about it. He told me instead that I was doing a good job and that if I kept up the good work and finished what I was working on there was a larger, more important task on a permit that he would like me to work on. Unbeknownst to me he had reported to HR that I had shoved him. He relentlessly continued wasting my time then, doubling down it felt like, completely draining my energy, telling me about his travels and former girlfriends, his ex-wife, his son, his parents, his sister, earlier jobs, a baseball game in San Francisco, the limo ride there, how his ex wife had stolen his mistress’s passport, thrown her wedding ring away in the desert and taken $20k from him, about how a former co-worker had needed to protect him, his grandma and how she talked non-stop, his grandpa being a construction foreman and knowing instantly if someone should be fired, his uncle a professional golfer, how it was good to make employees feel as if they were about to lose their jobs because it made them try harder, how great Steve Jobs was, and on and on endlessly.
Getting any work done was impossible, which was enormously stressful for me. I often worked until 9 or 10 at night and all weekend to catch up.
Toward the end of the quarter he asked me why I never completed the things he asked me to do on time and he told HR and his boss he didn’t think I ever did any work at all; he told them he had no idea what I was working on, nothing as far as he knew. I was told to provide weekly reports, which I did.
I realized the same thing had happened to all of the other employees he had latched onto and then either fired or laid off before me.
This man provokes employees for fun, sabotages their performance and then gets rid of them before they can do anything about him. Those remaining are too afraid to say anything for fear of looking crazy, becoming his next target, and/or, as so often is the case with narcissists, made to be seen as the trouble maker rather than the blame being correctly placed on the narcissist.
The man who hired me and for whom I had worked before stepped in and saved my job by talking to the CEO. I would’ve been fired had he not.
His new target is an old target.
He became involved with a woman overseas during a mining project at a time when she and he were both still married. They were 38 or 39 at the time. She had two young children and would have a third. She divorced and moved from an eastern European country to Canada to be closer to this man, who grew up in Texas, moved around some and now splits his time between Colorado and California. When he met this woman he was newly married and his wife was pregnant with their first and only child, a son. He is divorced now, too, but continues ongoing intimate relationships with his ex wife and the foreign woman both. The foreign woman seemed absent for a time but she has re-entered his life. It happened right around the time this man turned 50 in November. There is a third woman, now, but he hasn’t given her away yet. He will. It is only a matter of time. He can’t resist bragging about such “achievements.”
I have drafted a letter to the foreign woman that I will not send. No matter how much I want to, I know she would only show it to this man and cost me my job. It is a sad world we live in that I would lose my job for trying to keep another human being from being destroyed.
I suppose these are ultimately the same reasons why others did not warn me. I wish they had found a way but I am in the same position now and as much as I’ve searched for a way, I am not able to find a good way either.
I am hopeful that with your education and training you may be able to help us all find a way. I am looking forward to hearing more about your thoughts on it.
I provide my letter here, mostly I think to be free of it. I hope it will help someone somehow somewhere.
Dear Ms. Lonely:
A musician my sister met in Mexico said the reason he thought so many vacationers in Cancun spent their time sleeping around with complete strangers during their trips was because they were lonely. I think most affairs happen for the same reason. Most, but not all. You may have been lonely. That is my best guess for why you became involved with this man. You probably assumed he was, too. He wasn’t lonely. It was more desparate than that. He requires constant attention to survive. You were easy prey.
The link below describes how it feels to be around this man on a daily basis. He will tell you how hard he works, what a wonderful man and father he is, how generous he is, and how brilliant he is.
Trust your instincts. Take notes. Do not make excuses for him.
Does it strike you as odd that around the age of eight he insisted his parents get divorced? Is it worrisome that he was not disheartened by the splitup of his family but instead appears to be rather pleased with himself for having engineered the failure of his parents’ marriage? Has he told you how much better it was after his parents got divorced because he received so much more individual attention? Is it strange to you that he enjoyed being the center of attention more than being a family?
This man recently told me about a time his Dad took him and his step-brother to Cheyenne Frontier Days and how he and his step-brother thought it was going to be boring, but that it turned out to be surprisingly fun. I have known this man for ten years and this is the first time he’s mentioned a step-brother. I can’t help but wonder what happened to him. Did this man sabotage his step-brother somehow to make sure he kept his Mom and Dad’s attention all to himself? Somehow, I’m guessing, he did.
Have you wondered why his Wyoming girlfriend of seven years (or eight, depending on the day he tells the story) killed herself? Have you glimpsed the hint of glee in his eyes when he tells you the story of how he brought her remains to her parents? Did you ignore it the first time thinking it had to be your imagination? When it was there a second time, did you finally face that he is ill?
This man boasts about the way a marriage counselor advised him to stay away from his ex-wife. Have you ever wondered why he hasn’t heeded this advice? He says he didn’t listen to the therapist because he wants his ex-wife to be all right. I asked him once what he meant by this. He said he wants his ex wife to continue having sex with him, cooking for him, cleaning for him, running errands for him, doing his laundry, doting on him, and setting up appointments and caring for their severely autistic son. He did not once mention anything about her happiness, health, longevity, safety, or financial security. I am surprised now that I was surprised! He does not know what it means for others to be okay. He only knows what it means for him to be okay.
It kills me to watch him add insult to injury by using the therapist’s words as evidence against his ex wife to mislead unknowing others into believing she is crazy.
The ride he is currently taking one of our regulatory permit writers on is insane.
His Dad traveled with this woman and upon returning praised her for her desire to write the book on the process she was using to permit our company’s project. This injured this man profoundly because his Dad had showed a fondness for someone other than him.
The way he is dealing with it is methodically destroying them both. Unbeknownst to them, they became targets for this man’s total annihilation. He’s been pathologically patient about it. One would not put it together unless it’s either happened to them or they’ve seen it happen several times in other areas of this man’s life.
With the permit writer, it has taken years so far. I imagine it will take several more. He started by platonically “love-bombing” her, talking to her constantly, asking her questions, responding to her calls at all hours, shooting the breeze with her about their childhoods and children, being her friend, and just overall being very available and charming far, far above any normal or required relationship with a regulator.
All along, he was giving her so much wrong information about what to include and not include in the permits that the permits turned out to be flawed. All of the things she had wanted to address in the permits, this man convinced her weren’t important and advised her to leave out. All of the things he convinced her to include? Misdirection.
He insisted to everyone throughout the company he fully knew how to do these permits. To my knowledge, he never took notes during the calls with this woman and he rarely included anyone else on the calls – meaning there are few or no witnesses. Not knowing any better, this regulator took his advice.
Now that the draft permits have been published, this man has begun dismantling everything this woman has done. He is demanding in front of her supervisor that the things he advised her to leave out be included and the things he told her to include be taken out. He is purposely making her look incompetent in front of her supervisor, her supervisor’s supervisor, all the way to the head of the agency, our contractors, Congressman, our lawyers, and a Presidential advisor. He has told me many times how he’s made her cry. He has repeatedly told me he wants her fired. I do believe he will eventually get his way.
In meeting after meeting, she must listen without comment. There’s no way she should’ve spent hundreds of hours on the phone with this man, at all hours of the day and night. To have that come out would be ruinous. Meanwhile, if she died tomorrow, it wouldn’t be enough for this man.
As for his Dad? He undermined his Dad so greatly, calling him senile and incapable in such convincing ways that the Board asked for his Dad’s resignation. His Dad has been hiding out in Mongolia staying out of his son’s reach ever since.
Compliment someone in this man’s presence and watch what happens. It usually takes a day or two but it can take years. If you pay attention, you will see how he acts this out over and over. I complimented our controller once and the next day out of nowhere he called her bottom of the barrel.
Be careful how you speak about your children and anyone you care about when you’re with him. Pray for goodness sake his Dad never compliments you.
This man can’t change. Malignant narcissistic personality disorder isn’t treatable. Everything I read says to get as far away from him as possible, as soon as possible. I am trying. I thought maybe you had figured it out, too, since you seemed absent for a bit. I can tell by his messed up behavior lately that you are back.
There are so many reasons why I wish you weren’t!
First, he told me a year ago in October that he will be set for life for money if he is with you. I can’t imagine you know he is thinking about you in this way.
Second, he told me your culture has groomed you to be a perfect slave to him! To his core, he believes your goal in life is to be his maid.
Is someone who has his sights on your money and who idealizes you as a servant someone you really want to spend time with?
Third, he is still sleeping with his ex wife. To watch him texting you on one hand and swearing to her on the other hand that he is not in touch with you is mind numbing. I often wonder what stories he concocts when he is with you.
Fourth, stability in his 12 year old son’s life is the biggest reason why I wish you hadn’t re-entered our lives. Yeah, it really does feel like you’re in my life, too. I have to deal with the fallout from this man’s chaotic, last minute changes in attitudes, re-arranged schedules, evasiveness, and enormous fights with his distraught ex wife all caused by your availability.
Still, what I endure is nothing compared to his ex wife. She feels the brunt of this man’s deceit 100 times more than me because of her romantic and co-parenting involvement with him. By being abandoned by his father and left alone with a distraught Mom, the one who feels it 1000 times more than her is their son. The chaos you cause by being involved with this man causes immense anguish for their son – repeated events of unplanned separation, not knowing from one day to the next if his Dad will be there to pick him up or if instead his Dad will have disappeared yet again with no warning or plans to return, or which woman will be in the hotel or car or home with his Dad when he sees him next … anxiety, sense of loss, sadness, upheaval, chaos. Has this man bragged to you how his son clings to him when he returns? Isn’t it sad that this man finds pleasure in that?
You may not have known all of this is going on. I see very well how this man compartmentalizes his relationships so that he can control what people believe about who he is and what he’s doing. I know firsthand how good he is at isolating people. He is showing you only who he wants you to see. He likes keeping you a secret, right? Meeting you in secret, at secret places, at secret times? The instability in his son’s life caused by your secret presence in it is massive and unbearable to watch. I don’t think you realize the hurt you cause to his son.
Fifth, his ex wife needs to stay involved with this man for their son’s sake. You being available to him makes this more difficult for her than you probably realize.
His ex wife needs to remain present in their son’s life because NPDs lack empathy. They have an uncanny ability to feign it, but if you pay close attention, you will see that this man does not actually possess it. This means he does not have the ability to put himself in his son’s shoes and see what his son needs from his son’s perspective. Have you noticed this by now, too? A coworker had to tell this man to kneel to his son’s level when speaking to his son. This was a revelation for this man. He has told me about it repeatedly, so astonished by the results. I myself have repeatedly watched his son squirming in the office, needing to use the restroom, only to have this man be oblivious to it. One time his little boy began to cry after having an accident because he didn’t get to the restroom in time, even though he was pulling on his Dad’s hand to go. His son opened the door to leave, embarrassed it seemed to me, only to have his Dad yell at him loudly for crying and misbehaving trying to leave, adding to his son’s utter humiliation. On other occasions, I’ve heard his son trying to get his Dad’s attention only to hear this man yell at him, “SHUT UP!” Have you ever yelled this? At anyone? In your entire life? Have you ever driven your nine year old child buckled in a diaper in the backseat of your car for 16 hours overnight and then put him in school the very next morning and expected him to do well? Have you ever then fully expected teachers to deal with your exhausted child effectively, been aghast when they couldn’t, and then threatened to sue them when they failed? Have you ever noticed your child doing well in a certain therapy or school and then abruptly yanked them and thrown them into an entirely new setting, possibly because a therapist or teacher was starting to notice that your behavior as a parent was negatively affecting your child’s progress? Have you ever purposely upended you child’s therapy for the sole purpose of disrupting your former spouse’s income? Have you ever commented how well your child is doing and that as a result of his progress said you were experiencing withdrawal pains? Have you ever up and left your child for 10 days with no warning and no real preparation for your absence? Have you ever been astounded and angry when someone called the police because they found your young son playing in a busy parking lot and after waiting 15 minutes for a parent to appear didn’t know what else to do? Have you ever commented how great your child is doing and then stopped giving them their medications because you thought they were cured?These are all things I’ve seen and heard this man do. It is so incredibly difficult to watch how inhumane he is toward his son, it is truly heartbreaking. His ex wife helps buffer their son against this man’s inability to sense his son’s needs. She is the only person who can intervene on their son’s behalf in any meaningful way. No matter how this man will have you believing otherwise, whatever little progress is being made with his son is thanks to his ex wife.
Whatever little progress she may think she is making with this man, however, is just him fooling her. You are always there in the background wrecking things for her. She goes through immense mental and emotional humiliation and agony to stay involved with her son. I cannot begin to describe how horribly this man treats her, constantly berating her, baiting her, financially, emotionally and physically stranding her, and even going as far as turning her own family against her. I hope you will try to see it.
A typical abuse sequence goes like this: Do you suppose their son would enjoy a yard? This man for approximately the last 5 springtimes in a row has told me he is going to get a house and yard because his son would enjoy it. He seems excited about it. Sadly, I now see through his terrible ruse. It must be your birthday every spring or maybe it’s a conference or an audit? He talks about getting a house to future-fake with his ex wife, filling her with hope of a little stability in her son’s life so that the blow he’s about to deliver is extra, excruciatingly painful. He future-fakes getting a house for a couple of weeks, maybe a month, they look at a couple and dream about a couple more, and she is extremely happy and excited and then wham, with literally between 2 and 15 minutes notice, he announces he is leaving and is going to be gone for an undetermined number of days, maybe 10 or so, lying about his whereabouts and about his anticipated return date, the house and yard vaporizing into thin air, him claiming he never said any such thing. This, as he has planned all along, leaves his ex wife reeling and gets him some bonus attention. I hear the 100s of text messages dinging and the phone calls rolling in as he once again dumps chaos and lies (you) into her life. The duper’s delight on his face as he walks past my office on his way to then go meet you gives away the satisfaction he feels for his job well done. The house with a yard for his son? A ploy, an act, a hoax, a sad, cruel game, designed to cause such forceful emotional gaping trauma in his ex wife that she distances herself from him to recover, which buys him time to do what he was scheming to do all along, which is to sneak away with you. He could care less if his son has a yard. Last month it was money for a rental car that he had long-promised to loan his ex wife that he renigged on the day she went to rent it (the day of!) so he could make her angry, cause her to distance herself from him, and go on a trip with you the very next morning. I imagine their current two-week trip to California together will end badly, too, since I see he’s booked a trip to London, you’re favorite. He’ll have to scheme extra hard to keep his ex wife from contacting him while he’s with you there. He’ll arrange it, I have no doubt. His manipulation of others knows no limits.
Do you see how his ex wife is meanwhile trapped? She cannot complain or act out against this man because he will use it against her to gain custody of their son. He has made sure she is completely isolated – and broke. He has told everyone who will listen to him how crazy she is, completely undermining her. She must swallow every ounce of this in total silence. Google divorcing a narcissist or co-parenting with a sociopathic narcissist and you will see what she goes through. Narcissist’s are very convincing and charming – teachers, therapists and judges are easily manipulated by them. It is one of the most unfortunate things I’ve ever run up against.
There is another even more serious reason she needs to stay close to their son. Did you know people with NPD have one of the highest rates of pedophilia of all disorders? Your children, not to mention her’s and her grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, may not be safe around this man. It is most likely, however, that their son is the one who is not safe, which is why it is so important that his ex wife be allowed to stick close by (and for you to stay away so that she can realistically do this). Since NPDs are devoid of empathy, they cannot imagine how molesting a child would harm the child. NPDs have the added problem that they love themselves; it is a disorder of being in love with oneself. Because NPD’s kids are half the NPD incarnate, it is apparently super arousing for NPDs to have sex with their offspring. It allows NPDs to come as close as they will ever come to having sex with themselves. Isn’t that the most terrifying thing you’ve ever heard? Could it explain why his son is so severely delayed? I somehow managed to slip the subject of pedophilia into a conversation with this man one day. I commented how awful it must be for a child to be molested. I had hoped this man would be as mortified by it as me and allay my fears. Instead he said, “Pedophilia has been happening since the dawn of time and it will continue happening from now until forever more. I really don’t see anything that wrong with it.” Yikes!!! I didn’t ask him anymore about it or infer anything about his son. NPDs aren’t stupid. They know they can go to jail for such things.
Sixth, he has already begun covertly devaluing you. He told me recently you are having a hard time moving on? Really? Is that even remotely true? He is painting you as a loser in the eyes of others. Did you know?
For you directly, there are four final reasons (in addition to having your money stolen, being a slave and being someone he stays in touch with because you are having trouble moving on!) why I wish you hadn’t come back.
First, there is a lot more sadness in store for you if you decide to continue sneaking around with this man. NPDs repeat the same relationship over and over, throughout their entire lives. It is a cycle as unchangeable and impenetrable as it is frustrating and hurtful. They don’t grow. They don’t learn. They don’t evolve. They aren’t capable of these things. They Idealize. They Devalue. They Discard. That’s it. Some, like this man, stash old sources of supply underneath rocks like a crocodile and return to chew on them whenever fresh supply runs low. I read that somewhere and it has stuck in my mind fitting this man’s predatory behavior so perfectly. I have a picture of you in my mind where he is dragging your body out from under a black swamp rock to chew on it like a piece of meat as he vacillates between you, his ex wife and others. I used to think he was handsome but now he only looks like a reptile to me. When his ex wife is too exhausted to adore him anymore (because NPDs demand constant and absolute adoration and attention to feel normal), he turns to you. When her energy is back, he returns to her. Since she lives in the same city as him, she is more accessible to him, which means you, by default, are bound to be left out in the cold more often than not.
Second, the crazy-making you will be subjected to will fundamentally change who you are and how you view life – negatively. Gaslighting. Deceit. Brainwashing. Control. You can see how it has affected me (if writing to a total stranger doesn’t make me look and feel like I am off my rocker, seriously, I don’t know what would!). By now I’m sure you’ve heard his ex wife yelling at him on the phone. Have you wondered why she would do this? He lies to her about the hidden presence of others in her life and her world is totally unstable because of it, that is why. Over time this has caused so much damage to her brain that she can barely control her emotions any longer. Was this your intention? For me, the chaos and yelling and berating and belittling and saying things about me behind my back to misdirect people’s beliefs about me are so enormously stressful to me that, like his ex wife, I am also starting to have a very hard time controlling my emotions. Do you remember the time he called the police to come get his ex wife when she found you and him together? He set you both up. If he had been honest with you both, I doubt either one of you would’ve found yourselves there that day. It had to have been so emotionally charged that you probably figured it was an accident. It was no accident. This man created it for his personal entertainment. He loves to relive it and has told me the story about how it happened many, many times, yesterday included. He loved, absolutely LOVED, being fought over. He does not feel bad for you or for his ex wife or for the police officers wasting their time, he is incapable of it. He lacks empathy; he cannot put himself in your shoes or his ex wife’s and feel how awful that must’ve been for both of you. Each time he tells this story, I am amazed by the way he revels in the way it put him at the center of attention. I am astounded each time by how he completely doesn’t see what an a-hole it exposes him to be. He would do it again it without thinking; it just doesn’t register properly with him. He continues similar setups. Last year, he was lying so much to his ex wife about you that she got her wires completely crossed and accused me of having an affair with him. He didn’t feel bad at all for causing this to happen. To the contrary, he super enjoyed the attention and drama and chaos it caused and is now very pleased to be getting extra mileage out of it by holding my response to it, which was to contact her, over my head. It is over the top, unreal, unstoppable, crazy-making.
Three is you will not thrive in this man’s presence. No one does. Not one single person. Have you noticed this? Is anyone close to him doing well for themselves? The office has been decimated by his behavior. I am the only employee left and I for the sake of my sanity have just this past week started working in the office early in the morning before he arrives and then the rest of the day from my home to avoid him. The one other person in our office, the controller, is a contractor now. She comes in only at night or when he is on vacation in order to avoid him. His ex wife thinks she’s losing her mind. His sister, Mom and Dad rarely want anything to do with him. Ask him who his friends are and he will give you a list of contractors, yes, the only people who can bear to put up with him are paid. About a month ago I sat in the locker room in my office building not wanting to go back into my office because I sensed he had spent the previuos day with you and that he was going to cover up for it by proceeding to mutilate my words and thoughts beyond all recognition the instant I was within sight. He knows I might tell his ex wife that he was with you, so he must destroy any and all possibility of that happening. I felt terrified and dissociated. I felt angry that I had to worry about such a thing at work! I am now hypervigilant – I do not know when he will unleash his next round of angry bullying and rage on me and so I am constantly on the lookout for him, where is he, when will he be back, is he with you that day or his ex wife and so on. His son, have you seen him lately? He is nothing more than a shell. He’ll smile for a camera but the light in his eyes has flickered, died and gone out. Is this how you want your life to be? Terrorized, gray, your children endangered, unable to control your emotions, traumatized? No one does well for any length of time in this man’s presence. It is not allowed. He will not have it! Look around and tell me one single person in his daily life who is not terrorized by him. After a time, you will discover that you dare not be happy in his presence because he will purposely take it away from you, one way or another, to re-center all attention on himself, holidays, special occasions, illness, the death of loved ones all being no exception. He told me Friday his ex wife’s dog had died suddenly after coughing up blood. He had taken care of the dog for several days. Isn’t that something? It was her one possession in the world that gave her such joy. What do you think happened to the dog? This man’s behavior is outlandish, bewildering, dumbfounding, manipulative, and I fear deadly.
Finally, you deserve better. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are. Don’t let this man ruin your health, your mental well-being, your wealth, and your reputation. He will replace your hopeful spirit with hopelessness, wreck your credit rating and your reputation, make you question your basic belief in the goodness of people, and, most of all, take away your ability to experience joy. It can be so disorienting that you may contemplate taking your own life. It is an incredibly harrowing experience.
He targets smart, compassionate, independent women. He mirrors their niceness to gain their trust. He gains their sympathy by convincing them others are harming him. There is nothing you can do or could’ve done differently. He is a gifted actor.
One woman has committed suicide. His ex wife exhibits 100% of the symptoms of abuse by a NPD. His son is hopelessly delayed. I believe I have CPTSD.
Trust your instincts, take notes, do not make excuses for him. You will thank yourself later for it. Better yet, I pray you will leave and find a better man who will genuinely care for you and be kind to you. Never look back.
There are many good sources of information online, Tereza’s blog and her video on our biggest mistake are a couple. Here also is the link I mentioned. It accurately describes the symptoms one experiences as a result of this man’s abuse – it is an accurate description of your future with this man if you decide to continue a relationship with him.
Please be careful.
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Hi CC and thank you for your comment. I do agree that narcissistic, sociopathic and psychopathic personalities are the source of evil on the global scale – the horrid exploitation of our environment, the terrible inequality in society that the world is facing – humans with empathy would probably find it difficult to justify buying a third Ferrari when there are people in the world that have nothing to eat. And the reason why some people struggle is not because they are lazy but because they were born into unfortunate circumstances… anyway….
You ask what can we do with it…. I don’t think we can make someone see who is not ready to see. If someone is manipulated and essentially trapped in the narcissist’s false reality, he or she is more likely going to think that you are crazy when you try to bring the truth to them.
I think we need to be smart and first of all protect ourselves. Learn how to spot them and how not to get lured into their games and erect boundaries. Then we have to wait for those who are nearing the shocking discovery of what they had been involved with and provide them support and validation as they go through the experience. I believe that learning to spot people that had been damaged by narcissists and helping those people to recovery psychologically is the best thing we can do.
I am personally a great believer in psychotherapy. The majority of the population lacks self-awareness and increasing self-awareness is, in my opinion, key to becoming immune to narcissists and psychopath.
I hope all goes well with you and I am really sorry to hear about your work situation 😦
I would love to live in the world where teachers can detect signs of narcissistic abuse in a child and interfere in the family. I guess we need to take it one step at a time. And hopefully, as more and more of us will become immune to these manipulations, people who were originally the supporters will become targets and will eventually wake up to the reality.
i have not read anywhere else anyone else putting it quite how you put. i was super jazzed to start the following week as a gray rock. As gray as i could get since i had been conditioned since childhood to react. Well i made it halfway through Monday and then realized that i am still providing supply by just being there and being told what to do. My narcissist is my boss.
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Thank you for your comment. I totally understand. I too have been conditioned to react by my family. It’s really tough breaking these habits. It sucks to have a narcissist boss. I hope you manage to find another better job, it’s really a fucked up situation and one that is hard to win. To go against them usually just backfires because they are such liars and manipulators…. It takes time to work out your triggers to the level that you don’t need to react anymore. They are super skilled at figuring out exactly what’s your weak spot. And once they do, they would hammer that weak spot and make you look like crazy. And then tell everybody they don’t have a clue what you are talking about or what your problem is …