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Narcisissm, Lies, and Cruelty... Freedom from the Pain

Posted by Donnaleigh on May 28, 2012 at 11:00 AM

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 “I don't care what you think unless it is about me.”

― Kurt Cobain

 


Narcisissm, Lies, and Cruelty...


Seeing cruelty? Lies?  If you have seen bullish behavior around you and it doesn't make sense, this book is very much worth the read.  It’s called How to Talk to a Narcissist, by Joan Lachkar. You may not be dealing with a Narcissist, but if the behavior is outlandish, self-centered and repeated, you just may be.


This post is long, but may explain a lot and provide peace if you’ve experienced or witnessed a Narcissist in action. The book "How to Talk to a Narcissist" by  Joan Lachkar, has been EXTREMELY helpful to me.



I downloaded it to my Kindle without realizing its price (almost $40), but have very rarely been THIS excited about what I've found in a book. It it written in the style of a text book, but so well written a lay person can read it.  I hope this summary helps people understand some things you may see around you.

 

I lived in the middle of a Narcissist sandwich for about 18 months, a difficult and confusing place to be, but these were 2 very different kinds of Narcissists. This book helped clarify the overlap and the differences. Below I've highlighted some of the important things I learned in this book. You may even recognize some of these traits in people you may have come across. It's just as hard when you encounter the Narcissist in the workplace, particularly a person whose position of authority is above yours, as you become involved in a situation that is hard to escape.

 

RESCUE THEM?


One of the Narcissists who attached to me was what is called a Malignant Narcissist, the other a Pathological Narcissist. Although there is considerable overlap between them (and there are also overlapping traits with sociopathy, often with both diagnoses present), they present differently in personality. (Note: current psychology often lumps together Narcissism, sociopathy, and psychopathy as a single disorder).

I tried to "rescue" one (pathological narcissist) after realizing the narcissistic issue existed but not having a clear definition or full understanding of it yet.


The book explains that they are not treatable in the traditional way one would expect, because they are not capable of wanting get to that point of wanting help. Why? Because it is "never their fault."


But because the person with the rescue archetype tolerates them (as well as the codependent personality that enables), believing the Narcissist can be helped, they are often entangled in these relationships for longer than they should. This is unhealthy for the person the Narcissist attaches to, because Narcissism is actually an unfixable disorder like sociopathy (again, many Narcissists also have sociopathy).  The book stresses that while even good therapy can't change them, you can learn how to speak to them (praise them even when complaining or criticizing) in order to avoid setting off their vulnerability.  If you praise them, however, you are sustaining them and giving them NS, Narcissistic Supply, the mirroring they crave and need. We see it as giving them love, they see it as something they need for ego sustenance. It is not love.



It is not a treatable disorder, nor can they experience real love (although they can pretend to show it and be very good actors based on what they observe others doing), nor can they experience empathy or desire to change. This is the hardest part for many who have been in a relationship with a Narcissist, because time spent in a relationship without love seems so wasteful.


I also learned that the person who is the object of their "affection" or "attention" is simply used as a mirror to feed their ego. It is true that they rarely talk about other things than themselves other than to criticize. And their discussions about themselves are grandiose!

 

WHAT IS A NARCISSIST?


A Narcissist is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, the need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. According to the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) the individual must meet at least 5 of the following criteria to have Narcissist Personality Disorder:

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance
  • A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
  • A belief that one is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
  • The need for excessive admiration
  • A sense of entitlement – that is, unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance by others with one’s expectations.
  • Interpersonally exploitative personality – for example, taking advantage of others to achieve one’s own ends.
  • A lack of empathy and unwillingness to recognize or to identify with the feelings and needs of others
  • Envy of others or the belief that others are envious of one
  • A display of arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.


There is considerable overlap between the various narcissistic disorders and distinguishing some of them can be a challenge.


Melanie Tonia Evans says:

"Narcissist Personality Disorder is a Cluster B mental disorder, and is categorized in this cluster alongside others such as Histrionic Disorder and Borderline Disorder (just to name a couple.)

Narcissism is known to be a construction of a false self, and therefore the individual will exhibit behaviour that is pathological (not real) in nature."

 


  • HERE are some warning signs of a Narcissist.
  • And click HERE for a fabulous list of common behaviors for a Narcissist.


DIFFERENT KINDS OF NARCISSISTS


The author of How to Talk to a Narcissist differentiates between Narcissistic types and behaviors including the:

  • Pathological Narcissist
  • Malignant Narcissist
  • Antisocial Narcissist
  • Depressive Narcissist
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Narcissist
  • Passive-Aggressive Narcissist
  • Narcissist the Artist
  • Cross-Cultural Narcissist 

                                                                    

COMPARING THE TWO TYPES I MET:

PATHOLOGICAL AND MALIGNANT


One of the Narcissists that attached to me was a Pathological Narcissist, the other a Malignant Narcissist. This paragraph helped me separate them:


"...pathological narcissists join with others (community or relationships) as a mirror reflection of themselves, whereas the malignant narcissist joins with an external object to project their cruelty and malevolence. This sadistic internal tendency gives the malignant narcissist a momentary sense of power and superiority: 'Now others will experience the pain and torture I feel!' In some delusional way this is an attempt to remove psychic pain from normal states of dependency for fear of being hurt or vulnerable."

 

For this sake of this post and community, I’ll focus on the Malignant Narcissist I experienced. Since there is some overlap between Narcissistic types, there may be overlap between this kind of Narcissist and others.

Above, Joie de Vivre Tarot


MALIGNANT NARCISSIST


The Malignant Narcissist is listed as one of the most severe forms of narcissism, often accompanied by Borderline Personality Disorder features and characteristics. These individuals tend to be vile, cruel and malicious. These narcissists are full of self-doubts and self-loathing and constantly need to have others reinforce their beliefs and convictions. Many are pathological liars who often believe their lies are the truth. Sadism, hatred and uncontrollable aggression are the most common syndromes of the malignant narcissist, whose paranoid features drive self-serving political aspirations that become the rationale for acting out one's worse sadistic fantasies through destructive aggression. The malignant narcissist is usually a leader with striking similarities to heads of various dictatorial and tyrannical regimes.

 

POOR ME!

THE VICTIM ARCHETYPE

 

The most pervasive trait of malignant narcissists is that they often claim the role of the VICTIM: "It is not me doing something to you; it is you who has done something bad to me!" (in the book, this is compared to Osama bin Laden claiming the 9/11 attack was in defense of his own people and was the will of Allah). You'll see them claiming victim status even as they attack or lie or say irrational things.

 

In addition, the malignant narcissist may be so infused with envy that he will use any possible mode of control and domination to ensure that the other will not succeed; "I'll do *anything* to see that you fail!"

 

Additionally, they will often claim that their past fixation is “stalking” them, when in fact that is not happening, but they themselves remain fixated on the other person.

 

PROJECTION

 

Another important trait is how regularly they project, or “evacuate.” Their communication is not based on rational thought, but on the urge to get rid of something internal within themselves that is felt to be dangerous or toxic. So they frequently PROJECT or translocate these traits onto another (the hurtful things that they believe about themselves but are afraid to say, they claim is a feature of the person they are attaching to).  When their vulnerability is provoked, they will say the most irrational things in order to avoid their own inner pain.

 

They are evacuating the bad things they believe about themselves and placing them onto an object of their attachment.

 

When the narcissist become vulnerable or inflamed, his/her tender vulnerability (V-spot) has been hit. Their communication is then not based on rational thought, but on the urge to get rid of something internal that is felt to be dangerous or toxic. This is when they PROJECT or evacuate them onto another. However, this primitive defense of projecting strips the ego of its internal ability to self-improve as well as the ability to think rationally (they never look within so they cannot learn from experience). Therefore, the same destructive behavior is repeated again and again.

 

When their V-spot is hit, the first things to go are judgment, memory, perception, reality testing, impulse control, tolerance, and ego identity. As an aside, this can have medical implications/psychosomatic illness (migraines, asthma, night sweats, nausea, pain)…particularly with narcissists who become overwhelmingly stressed in trying to prove their specialness through relentless pressure-seeking goals (i.e., fame, power, admiration). 

 

CAN’T SEE WITHIN

 

Narcissists don't have rational thought or the capacity to look within, so they cannot learn from experience. Thus, the same destructive behavior is repeated again and again, and they spend their lives self-destructing.

 

I now recognize their tendencies so that I will see it coming the next time (if there is a next time), and what a lesson it was. Now I know where my boundaries will lie, and what qualities in me let them in. Now I know how to respond in the future so I don't repeat this lesson.

 

LETTING GO

 

Another good book I downloaded is a bit less academic (not quite as good as the first one, because the above book hit an 11 on a scale of 1-10 for me):


Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover, and Move On, by Cynthia Zayn and M.S. Kevin Dibble..



This book affirmed that letting go is the wise choice.


Both books are also available as hard copy books or on Kindle.


Other very helpful books I've found:


One of the first books I usually recommend to people who have difficulty with creating personal boundaries  is The Disease to Please, by Harriet Braiker, one of the best books I found on how empaths don't create clear boundaries around themselves out of being too "nice" is the book. You may be shocked how many times you let people run over you just because you want to "be nice."


I also discovered a terrific podcast led by a Melanie Tonia Evans, who specializes in dealing with Narcissistic relationships. Her podcast can be found HERE. And THIS particular episode interviews multiple women who left narcissistic relationships and they explain their experiences and healing journeys. I found this a very moving episode.


WHY DID I ATTRACT THEM?

 

I also wondered why I had attracted these people into my life because I always learned that "like attracts like," and I am not narcissistic, aggressive or cruel. Was there something negative in me that drew them toward me? I also wanted to be sure this did not happen again.

 

I was comforted by what I learned.  

 

Apparently I had qualities they desired and each latched onto me for different reasons because those were things they wanted or felt were desirable. One person wanted these qualities to feed themselves and make themselves become what they felt I was or had; the other felt threatened by my being what they wanted or what they felt they were or needed to be. Narcissists latch onto what they wish to be, yet these two people each responded differently to their narcissistic drives. Both are banned from my life, but Narcissists tend to have a fixation on their past attachments, speaking negatively of them for quite some time. They use criticism as a way to control. 

 

I am not the only person who was impacted by these Narcissists. The problem follows them from relationship to relationship, or from fixation to fixation (because like one of mine, I was not in a relationship with the individual; they just fixated).  The trick is recognizing it as early as possible.


A terrific article on why a Narcissist chooses someone is HERE.

 

FINDING THE CALM AFTER THE STORM


If you have seen cruelty or victimization around you and it doesn't make sense, these books are worth the read and may give you some inner peace and great enlightenment about the actions and reactions of the Narcissist around you.

 

A big blessing through the latter book, Narcissistic Lovers, is I learned also that the way I ultimately dealt with them both was appropriate and ultimately recommended by the authors. The technique is called "No Contact," although I didn’t know at the time it was a technique or had a name. Because even negative contact feeds them...they need attention to feel alive.  Even your criticism gives them power over you in their mind, because now they have your attention. Negative attention is better than no attention. They thrive on it.

 

For more information on the No Contact Rule for Narcissistic relations,

see HERE and HERE.


  "Let go or be dragged."  ~Zen Proverb



FREEDOM

 

The first book, How to Talk to a Narcissist is outstanding and can be life changing. The book is now loaded with personal highlights and underlines because so much fit into the scheme of my experience. While it is meant for the clinical psychologist who needs to communicate with the Narcissist for productive therapeutic responses, I found it most valuable for the clarity it gave me with the people with whom I was dealing. With clarity I better appreciated my own responses to the situations. It also allowed me to assume less blame or guilt, because their pattern will follow them from relationship to relationship. I just happened to be standing in their way.

 

An experience with a Narcissist is a difficult and confusing thing to live through. The lies and deceit that serve to fit their agenda can be confusing and out of control, and we do deserve better. They will never change, but we can change the way we perceive them and respond to them. "No contact" is best if you decide you have had enough.  I learned how little control they actually do have over my life…unless I give them the illusion of power. Which is what they are actually trying to seek within me, an illusion of their own personal power.

 

I own me. And the power remains mine.

 

 Have you got time for the pain?


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Here's wishing you a tarot-filled week of peacefully interactive relationships.


Warmly,

Donnaleigh

www.Donnaleigh.com

Learn more about the secrets of reading tarot at our award-winning educational tarot podcast.

See a listing of all show topics HERE.

 


 

 

Categories: Life Experiences as Seen through Tarot

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8 Comments

Reply Chele
5:02 PM on May 28, 2012 
Thank you Donnaleigh! I would suggest another book to your readers "Trapped in the Mirror"
http://www.amazon.com/Trapped-Mirror-Children-Narcissists-Struggl
e/dp/0688140718/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338238779&sr=1-3
Reply Donnaleigh
5:06 PM on May 28, 2012 
Thanks for stopping by, Chele, and thank you for the excellent suggestion! I'll check that one out!
Reply Chanah Liora
6:06 PM on May 28, 2012 
This was powerful and reminded that my mother and sister have this personality disorder. I was reading the list of a few of the signs and my sister is dead on for every single one.My mother as well, and she love that victim role!) My sister also fits the criteria for many of the symptoms of a sociopath. Egads, I need to read this book! No wonder I have such a hard time being around them! Thank your you for blogging about this.
Reply Mary Greer
9:02 PM on May 28, 2012 
Donnaleigh - Thanks for this. I was involved with a someone with narcissistic sociopathic tendencies. It makes such a different when you finally get what was going on! Remove this comment if you find it offensive, but I can't help but see the Republican Party right now as malignant narcissists. The fit the description exactly!

Mary
Reply Donnaleigh
10:46 AM on May 29, 2012 
Chanah Liora says...
This was powerful and reminded that my mother and sister have this personality disorder. I was reading the list of a few of the signs and my sister is dead on for every single one.My mother as well, and she love that victim role!) My sister also fits the criteria for many of the symptoms of a sociopath. Egads, I need to read this book! No wonder I have such a hard time being around them! Thank your you for blogging about this.



Chanah,

I'm so sorry you have had to go through this, too. After a lifetime of experiencing it, doesn't it feel validating to hear what it was? The book to me felt like getting a powerful reading, as it really spoke to me and explained what had happened in my life. I hope you can move forward now with more peace and self-love. When it's family, it's extra hard because you can't get out.

Hugs.

DL
Reply Donnaleigh
10:49 AM on May 29, 2012 
Mary Greer says...
Donnaleigh - Thanks for this. I was involved with a someone with narcissistic sociopathic tendencies. It makes such a different when you finally get what was going on! Remove this comment if you find it offensive, but I can't help but see the Republican Party right now as malignant narcissists. The fit the description exactly!

Mary


Interesting comparison, Mary! The book does talk about how many businessmen and politicians (and even actors, artists, and musicians) do have these qualities, not such a coincidence, I think! It's too bad the rest of us have to live their impact on our society when the politicians with the issues are our leaders.

So sorry that you had to go through it, too, Mary. Glad you go through it and have released and now that you are able to join those of us who can say, "I *was* with a narcissistic sociopath..." because *was* is such a better place to be than *am.*

xo

DL
Reply Chanah Liora
12:02 AM on November 24, 2012 
Well, I think I am finally ready to read these books. Wow, my mother, my brother, and sister sure fit the bill for Narcissist. My brother is the Malignant kind, borderline, severely borderline.I think reading these will really help me. Thank god I stayed away from my family as much as I could as a child. I spent most of my time in the woods, and if I wasn't there I was in ballet class. I know now that really saved me. Thank you for talking about this so deeply in the post. It was very helpful The first time I read it I had a hard time. I didn't want to face that this is really what my family suffers from. My father does not fit this the other thing that saved me! I was closes to him and still miss him dearly.
Reply erica
12:34 AM on September 28, 2014 
Loved this. I've been in a relationship with someone I've recently realized was a narcissist. In the beginning he seemed so amazing, so perfect but quickly our relationship became chaotic and codependent. The past couple years we have been separated more than together because he played this game of saying he still loves me and won't move on but is unable to see me. When we were together, I was never allowed to voice my feelings on things for if I did I faced being hung up on, ignored, and punished woth not being able to see him because I made the mistake of confronting him. It grew even more into ignoring me all the time, even if I was not upset. No matter what, if anything hurt me or my feelings, I was never given validation or any empathy whatsoever and was even called crazy and psycho and he is always right. I don't know why I still miss him because I'm so tired of the way this plays out! I have made it a promise to myself not to contact him, even though I know in a week or two he will send some message showing care, I know it's a lie now because it keeps getting worse and worse. Am I wrong to think this behavior is narcissism?