Showing posts with label Divorce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Divorce. Show all posts

March 16, 2018

Dear Narcissist Problems "Postal Stalker"


Dear Narcissist Problems,






Dear Narcissist Problems,

I’m almost freaked out even writing you because of the narcissism but I need some quick advice. My ex husband is a diagnosed as a narcissist and has put me and my child through hell to make me pay for leaving him. I could show you so many games he plays- the most recent was him sending his monthly post card to my child (he never calls) and he wrote her name on the postcard with his address then crossing it out with two lines and put my address. This was, as you know, a mind game to make her think the judge is removing her from her life, Mom, and sister and making her move to another state with him who she has no contact with.


What is the post card mind game? He sends one a month, usually 2-4 days before his child support comes. Does he just know it has me living in fear of what’s next? Can I make him stop? We go to court soon for custody ruling and when the judge finds out that he has zero contact except for this monthly post card and that he illegally moved our marital property out of state and sold it.... I’m scared of what he’ll do next. My attorney has played so many games with him and he’s walked into every one. So, can you tell me what the post card game is?


Btw.. I started reading one of your books and it put me into a panic because it’s so exhausting and draining. I’m so tired of the games. He now has a new girlfriend who I know is just a game for him but whatever. Ugh I just know you’re probably the best person to ask about the postcard thing.

(Response from Narcissist Problems: If you moved and left a forwarding address it would send the card back to him with your new address. Do you want me to post anonymously? Phone is dying. I'll write more when I get to my house).

We live in a military base and can’t move at the moment. Legally I have to give him the address where our child is. At least for now. Yea.. can you list it anonymously? I had a mother just like him and then I married that idiot now I’ve had to fight the fight of my life for custody so he can’t destroy my daughter. Because destroying her destroys me. So far he hasn’t won anything and everything has backfired on him because my attorney is very experienced in narcissism and has cornered him- which scares me because I don’t know what he’ll do after court when he realizes he’s done. So I’ve put things in place legally in case he does anything to me. Then again, I don’t think he’ll ruin his military career because that’s all he has to make people respect him.





Sincerely,





“Military Mind Games”











Dear “Military Mind Games”,

Your message has been weighing on my mind and I needed to give this some thought before posting this. This is exactly what narcissists do to their victims! They make us scared when we leave to the point that we second guess ourselves and their motives. Make no mistake about this; while your narcissist LOVES the mind games their ultimate goal is power and control over you. These people do not think like normal people do. You are in a legal battle and unfortunatley the rules rarely apply to them because they are rarely punished for what they put us through even if it is illegal. There will always be a believable excuse! He sold your property? Do you know what he plans on telling the judge? “Your Honor, I had to sell the property to get away from her because she was making my life a living hell”. The fact of the matter is that he has probably made more than a few police reports where the police found no evidence of you doing anything wrong BUT now those reports are on file with the police department for him to show a judge. I would get a FOIA request form and send it to gather the police records where the two of you lived and to the city where he moved for whatever time periods are relevant for each location.


Ok so these post cards….


Narcissists know exactly what they are doing and just because you are following the rules doesn’t mean they will. He expects you to take your children and run. Hell, any sane person would contemplate a life on the run just to stop our children from being abused. This is what the narcissist would do… so the narcissist also expects that this is what you will do! However, the narcissist is acting out of a place of spite and revenge and not out of protecting their child. As you said you are sick of the games and this is exactly what the post card is. The narcissist is always thinking ahead. They strategize their game plan based on all the possibilities of things that YOU might do in reaction to their abuse….. Moving and disappearing is on that list for your narcissist. When you say you “can’t” move what I hear is “I can’t move yet because I’m financially drained but once I’m stable I’m out!” I don’t think there is a law requiring you to live on that military base (where he most definately has flying monkeys so if you have a friend on that base stop sharing personal information with them especially about your divorce and your future plans!). Also, never underestimate a pissed off narcissist! “I don’t think he’ll ruin his military career because that’s all he has to make people respect him.” (You, 2018). Think again, he will try to get away with what he needs to get away with but sometimes a narcissist will be so pissed off that even if they get caught they will consider it worth it. Don’t give this narcissist the opportunity for revenge.


This monthly post card is in anticipation of your move. It’s a slow conditioning so that when you DO disappear, if that card is not already marked “Service address requested” then it will be once this case is over and you will never notice because your so used to getting the card already!


Get a P.O. box and NEVER use your address for anything! Even utilities use a p.o. Box and regularly google yourself to see if you pop up on those websites like Spokeo or people search and then request that they remove that information immediatley.


The post card is more than just a mind game for the two of you…. It’s a method of stalking in the event that you move without leaving him your address. The United States Postal Service call this an ancillary service endorsement.


Depending on the purpose of your mailing, you may want those pieces forwarded to customers who have moved, or you may want a corrected address returned to you. Ancillary service endorsements include five basic phrases that are printed on the address side of your mail piece:


  • Address Service Requested 
  • Return Service Requested 
  • Change Service Requested 
  • Forwarding Service Requested 
  • Electronic Service Requested 


Undeliverable mail is handled differently depending on the class of mail, the endorsement you use, and how recently your customer has moved. Some of these actions have fees associated with them and may cost you money. (USPS, 2018).


For Address Service Requested, Return Service Requested, or Forwarding Service Requested by sender then this is what the time frame looks like after you have changed your address in most cases:


Months 1 through 12: mailpiece forwarded; notice of new address provided, address correction fee charged.


Months 13 through 18: mailpiece returned with new address attached


After 18 months or if undeliverable at any time: mailpiece returned with reason for non delivery attached.


Return Service Requested: No forwarding, only return. New address notification provided.


IF there is NO ENDORSEMENT placed on the postcard/letter by the sender then the mail will be handled by class and then “Same treatment as “Forwarding Service Requested.” USPS Retail Ground, Media Mail and Library Mail forwarded as postage due to the addressee. If refused or being returned, mailer pays postage at the appropriate single-piece price 3 (507.1.5.4).”


What you are experiencing is more than just a mind game…. It is stalking. Your narcissist is stalking you months before you even know that you are going to need help. When this is over and you need to disappear and he later finds you….. This is how it happened. Take precautions to protect yourself because I find this very disturbing. The fact that he is already hunting you down before you “need” to be says A LOT….. regardless of military career.



Regards,


April 19, 2017

Hoovering and the narcissistic relationship cycle of Idealize, devalue, and discard


If you think the Narcissist regrets breaking up and wants to make amends, think again!




Dear Narcissist Problems,

Hello!! I thought maybe you could help me understand what’s going on here.... My ex - who I believe is a narc - or sociopath - or something, broke up with me a bit over a year ago - over text. He had been getting messages on his phone from other girls, and I found out had cheated on me with one, who he is now in a relationship with. He's apparently moving to be with her (5 hours away).

I'll try keep this short - but when I was with him, he made me cook dinner every night - and would complain if it was late. I cleaned, did the washing for him etc. - and wasn't even living with him. He said that every time he came to my house it was like he had to work (?!) because I'd ask for help. He would grab my belly and ask if I’d been to the gym, said I could have a thigh gap, my hips wouldn't hurt so much if I lost weight off my hips (I'm a chef and stand all day). He dragged me down the street one day because I wasn't walking fast enough. etc. etc. etc.

His work overlooked my gym, and after we split, I started training for a half marathon. He would watch me and text me while I was at the gym (Still seeing this other woman). I ended up seeing the police about it. This weekend, I had to do a catering function for the surf club he is a member of (I am associated with the club). He wasn't attending the function, until the very last minute he bought a ticket. I can only assume it was to see me.

The whole night, he was watching me, but ignored me. He would hover by the kitchen. Saw me coming and tried to step in front of me. One time he walked past he stopped in his tracks, so I said hello. I've lost 17kg since leaving him. I dressed nicely as I'm promoting my business. He was asking my friend how I was etc. And then started texting my friend to tell her to tell me to reply to the texts he started to send me, because he wanted to chat. He's supposed to be madly in love with this new woman (The mistress - who doesn't know about me) but they spent the night apart, and he was chasing me again? He blocked the door so I couldn't leave - but wouldn't actually talk to me. Hiding behind his texts....WTF?!

He left me at a time I was under a lot of stress taking former business partners to the lawyers. I fought it by myself. He didn't support me and I was at rock bottom. I've started my own business and have built it up to the point I'm self-sufficient. Do you think he's realized he's lucked out?

Sincerely,

“I’m a Boss”





Dear “Boss”,

 What childish games narcissists play to get attention? This seems to be a pretty cut and dry example of a narcissist hoovering. Do I think he realized that he lucked out or regrets his decisions? Nope, not at all. What I do think he realizes is that you now have more to lose and getting you back will be a nice challenge for him which will give him all the more pleasure if he does get you back and then break you down again.

This is a pattern of narcissistic abuse which is to idealize, devalue, and then discard. It seems that he is simply utilizing what he probably considers cute little hoovering tactics to reel you back into the abuse. It’s like a cat playing with a mouse. Normal people understand that when a relationship ends that means it’s over for good. However, this is not how it works for a narcissist. Narcissists like to draw things out.

Hoovering and the narcissistic relationship cycle of

 Idealize, devalue, and discard

Idealize Phase

When we first meet a narcissist they really do a great job of making us feel as though they are the answer to all our prayers. They are the perfect match for us. We are like two peas in a pod with them and they make us feel like we are on cloud nine. This isn’t fate, a random coincidence that they are so much like us, or an accident. This is very calculated and deliberate on their parts.

If you notice or recall meeting this person they were initially absorbed with you. They wanted to know it all. They wanted to know every little detail about everything that has happened to you since birth. They want to know who your parents are and what your relationship is like with them. They want to know about your siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. They want to know who your favorite people are and who you dislike and why.

They want to know about your circle of friends and your relationships with them. They even want to meet and impress them! I mean, how great is that! Someone who is not only perfect for you but they also have an interest in your friends and family. What’s even better??? EVERYONE LOVES THEM!!! If there is someone who doesn’t love them then that person is usually the first one the narcissist targets to manipulate out of your life.

They also want to know about your job and your co-workers. They are especially interested in if you have any problems with anyone. At first they take on a stance of mutual dislike but later they will gather all the people that you don’t get along with so they can all abuse you. After they gather up your “enemies” they then target your friends and family to see who they can get on their side because in their mind it is now them against you. They also use people as their flying monkeys to help them hoover such as your friend he was sending text messages to as a go-between.

Devalue Phase

The honeymoon quickly wears off and you start to notice that the narcissist is now doing little things to take digs at you. They once loved to hear your laugh and now that same laugh is a witch’s cackle. They used to love your body but now you really could lose a few pounds. Here is the thing.

While they were idealizing you when they complimented any part of your body you most likely replied with what you hate about it such as your thighs, your underarms, or abs. I’m going to assume that you had made a comment about hating your inner thighs at some point and that is why the focal point of your “need” to lose weight was that you “Could” have a thigh gap if only you tried to take care of yourself…

The devalue phase is especially wounding because the things the narcissist chooses to devalue are the things you just got used to hearing that they loved. Before you could do no wrong and now you can do no right. Further, the narcissist is also testing your tolerance of their abuse at this stage. They want to know how far they can take things before you snap and fight back. Once you do react to the abuse then that becomes the marker they need to whittle away at. So they keep pushing that marker further and further back until it doesn’t exist anymore and you are willing to tolerate pretty much anything they can throw at you.

This doesn’t happen overnight so when you recognize it then get out of the relationship ASAP. It can sometimes take years for a narcissist to destroy that marker. That marker of tolerance is where your boundaries are. That marker is where you put your foot down, where you say “no more”, the place they can’t get into. That marker is where the narcissist ends and you begin and they know it. They want to destroy that marker of tolerance because they want to own every last piece of your mind and soul so they can destroy you from the inside out. You can’t destroy a person with good healthy boundaries that they refuse to budge on unless you slowly whittle them away.

During this phase they are recruiting others to help them achieve their ultimate goal of your destruction. The more you care for someone the more hell bent they become on getting that person on their side. They want to stick the knife in and twist. In your situation, I would be very weary of what you tell the “friend” he was sending text messages to while at your event. Our friends usually don’t make it a habit of staying in contact with our Ex’s who dump us over text message.

Discard Phase

After the narcissist has destroyed you by eroding your self-esteem, confidence, and boundaries they simply throw you away like garbage.  Nobody lucks out with a narcissist but in this case I think you lucked out to be discarded in such a cowardly way. This narcissist truly is a coward and it’s no surprise he would only communicate through text message at the event because it seems that’s the only way he knows how to communicate at all.

During the discard phase they want you to know they have found your replacement. They have new supply and want to throw in your face. They found their ultimate soulmate, they were wrong about you, and they want you to know about it. They want you to beg them to come back and they want to see you being a hot mess. They want to be able to show the new supply how crazy obsessed you are with them because they are such a great catch!

Just keep in mind that this new girlfriend is no different than you were and has no idea what kind of train wreck she is about to witness. I’m not saying you have to go around feeling sorry for people but before feeling any pangs of jealousy remember that there is nothing to be jealous about being abused.

By ignoring his attempt to hoover and reel you back in he is likely to become angry and bad mouth you to everyone. This is his attempt to make himself feel better about your pure and utter rejection of his futile attempts at dominance over you. You should be patting yourself on the back really for doing such an epic job of blocking his asinine attempts to further abuse you! Way to go!

When the Narcissist hoovers and why


A narcissist will hoover in order to maintain a connection with their victims. They will never truly leave you alone. They will try to keep an attachment to their victims under any circumstance even if that attachment is pure hate and rage.

This is a video from a very sweet set of down to earth ladies where they explain the situations that happen when we leave a narcissist, their stalking, and gaining control over your life after narcissistic abuse. Tracy has a new Youtube Channel so check out her videos and subscribe to her channel because she has new videos all the time. Tracy and Lieselle, from my understanding, actually met while they were dating the same narcissist. The relationship they developed after that is pretty amazing and they made this video below to share their story with others.

Tracy Malone & Lieselle "Narcissists Stalk And Police Do Not Care-HELP"




Think about all the time spent wishing that your narcissist would contact you after they discard you. You want little morsel of hope they could throw at you. They usually give you just enough time to where if they let you go any further then their attempts to hoover you back into a connection will be rejected.
 They will send an email, send a text message, or show up at events just to let you know they are there and they are still thinking about you. Don’t confuse their thinking about you with them caring about you. This is just a game to them. They want to see how much crap they could throw at someone and still be taken back.
 If you ask them to stop contacting you and they don't then please go no contact and document their behavior (here is an article about going no contact). If you need to get a protection order you could file for one at your local courthouse but make sure that you have enough tangible evidence and/or witnesses to support your case. If you have legal questions you can ask a lawyer for free here.

This can be very confusing especially if you are not aware of what is going on. A person with a normal mind thinks that maybe the narcissist has seen the light. Perhaps the narcissist realizes that they made a mistake and are trying to make amends but they simply don’t know how. We start to have compassion for their situation and take pity on them.

Make no mistake about it this is as calculated as their idealization of you in the beginning of the relationship. They have not seen any light except maybe the light radiating from your smile because you are healing and they need to suck that light right out of you again to fill themselves up. Your shining light of life is like spotting a gas station on a long stretch of road when your car is about to run out of gas and nothing more. They need a fill up and you got what they need.

Narcissists are emotional vampires who like to suck their victim’s dry of any soul or life they have within them. Essentially, they drain you but keep you alive just enough to recover so they can later come back for more. They need to drain you in a way that feeds their soul and gives them life force. It sounds really ridiculous as if we were talking about some sci-fi movie but this is no joke. Narcissists are energy vampires in the purest form.

Narcissists hoover their victims to keep them in line. They like to keep their victims at an arm’s length just in case they should need supply from you again. After seeing you with your life together and thriving it is prime time to get a little of what you have to offer. It really has nothing to do with regret or lucking out for them. Another reason for the hoover is that his new relationship might not be going that well and he knows it.  

Whatever the case maybe for the hoovering there is only one reason for doing it and that is to gain control over you again. Narcissists don’t see their victims as people they see them as objects that they can manipulate, abuse, put on a shelf, and then bring out to play whenever they feel like it. Here is the thing, you are a real person and not an object and you don’t deserve any of this. If I were you I would immediately change my phone number, let my friends know I don’t want to hear about him again, and then block him from all social media and email accounts. Good Luck to you!

Regards,




November 27, 2016

Call to Action!! Support The War at Home Foundation!

As a survivor of narcissistic abuse, I know that we went back too many times to mention, back into a situation of abuse and the cycle that we knew would inevitably put us back into a homeless situation. We knew that it was just a matter of time until we were once again abused and rendered homeless. That is why we developed the War at Home Foundation, we wanted to give people a stepping stone to freedom. As victims, we leave, we know the cycle and we have become aware of what is happening, but then what? As survivors we are left with PTSD, many times we are unemployed, being bombarded by the abuser still and we cannot see clearly. Our foundation aims to provide that clarity, it aims to bridge the gap between being a victim, becoming a survivor and evolving into a thriver. We can only do this with the help of people who can afford to donate to our cause. There are people throughout the world who are being forced into homelessness, and back into abuse, these are the people we need to help. Our initiatives are as follows:
To support those in domestic violence shelters, we have gained a commitment from a retailer to donate food and clothing to shelters that we have affiliated ourselves with. Our eventual aim is to build safe havens/retreats throughout the world offering shelter to victims and support groups to survivors.
To embark on an intensive awareness campaign through schools from January 2017, we have a commitment to do monthly campaigns from 12 schools, so far next year.
We have developed a "KEEPING YOU SAFE KIT" which is a pack of vital items that someone will need when leaving an abusive situation, it also includes vital pointers on a safe plan for leaving.
We are committed to raising awareness surrounding the court system and the pitfalls that a survivor will face and we are recruiting domestic violence advocates throughout the world who can lend a hand of support to those who are facing court issues and need a supportive hand.
The only way we can fight the scourge of narcissistic abuse is through supporting those who are being forced back and through a consistent campaign of awareness and "red flag" identification.
Please help us give those a voice who are voiceless.
If you donate a minimum of ZAR 150, which is around US$10, you will be moving us forward to reach our objectives around and save lives.
The website has been redesigned to make the donations easier as there was a problem last time we called for donations, nobody could donate, it's very self-explanatory, all you need to do is click on www.wahfoundation.co.za, them click on donate and the rest is easy...... the winner of the 500 US$ will be announced here and on the website on the 1 December 2016. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, we will ensure that you receive the prize.
Please help us to make a difference in the world. Please make a difference in someone's life, IT'S TIME xxx

August 7, 2016

Dear Narcissist Problems, “Lost in South Africa”






Dear Narcissist Problems,

I need your advice because I am desperate. I met my pervert narcissist on Facebook when I was in the UK and then I moved to South Africa (he is Congolese but lived in Cape Town). We had a long distance relationship for 4 months and I felt that he was my soul mate (he used to say that as well). He threatened me twice to break up with me but I was stupid and I went to Cape Town. We stayed together for 1 year and now since January 2015 we are in UK.
Everything was fast. We got married 1 year after we met and it was a nightmare: threats, lies, manipulation, silence treatment....
Since last June I started the divorce process and now he said to me that he realized every mistakes he made, he wants to change, he booked 1 appointment per week with a psychologist... lots of nice promises. I left him last Sunday because I want a new job so I told him that I needed a 4 month break to think and I will postpone the divorce. So now I am in London and he is in Manchester and he is still harassing me with his promises and talk to me for hours telling me that he will prove himself... he wants me to postpone the divorce process so he can keep his job because we are not married for 3 years. I don’t think he can change. When he knew I will divorce and received my petition, he changed everything on his behavior. It was too quick and not credible for me. Too much!
I don’t know what to think.
I really need your help as it’s a new life for me in London but he is still on my mind trying to convince me to stop the divorce because he is sure he can change.

Thank you! 😵😵

Sincerely,

“Lost in South Africa”

 

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Dear “Lost”,

     While rushing into a relationship with someone who immediately calls you a soul mate is a red flag of a narcissistic relationship without more detail I can’t be too sure that you are married to a narcissist.  After reading this I am under the impression that this man is going to be getting some type of Visa through your marriage as he wouldn’t be able to work in the UK without being married for 3 years?  If this is the case and you were not aware that he would be gaining a Visa through your marriage then it seems that he is using you for this purpose.  You mentioned that he booked appointments to see a psychologist but did not mention if he was actually attending those appointments.  When dealing with manipulators it is always important to consider their actions before believing a single word that comes out of their mouths!  From what you wrote here this man wants to work on the relationship but do you?  I agree that the marriage may have happened rather quickly and was formed on the basis of lust rather than a real connection or commitment.  It takes time to form trust and bonds with people.  It also takes time to really get to know others especially if that person is someone who you plan on spending the rest of your life with.  Whether this person is a narcissist or not it seems as if you may need time to consider exactly what you want out of a relationship and life.  This is your life and you should take all the time you need to figure the situation out.  I do not condone divorce but I do recommend that you use this relationship as a learning experience if you divorce or if you stay.  I guess the number one piece of advice I would give anyone is to give all your relationships time to form.  Moreover, really get to know the people before making commitments.  Too often when we share ourselves too quickly or are too giving and loving we can be taken advantage of.  It seems as if this may have happened to you but only you know exactly what is going on behind closed doors.  Never stay in an abusive relationship and if the contact with him is overwhelming and harassing document it in case you need it for court.  Ask that the behavior and contact be limited and if this request is ignored then ask him to stop any further contact.  If this request is ignored you might need to take legal action.  However, if you are telling him that you need a break because you too want to work on the relationship and not telling him that the contact is unwelcomed then you are also contributing to the problem here.  It is good to be very clear about our intentions in these situations.  Being passive is only going to make the situation worse and we can’t expect others to read our minds or between the lines and hope they get that they are not welcome in our lives.  Good luck to you!  I wish I could give you a step by step guide to figure the whole situation out but I can’t.  This is going to take some soul searching and you are the only one who can do that.  If anything new arises please feel free to contact me or join our group for support!

Regards,

May 7, 2016

Dear Narcissist Problems, "Confused"


 
 
Dear Narcissist Problems,

 
     I know it's possible to have PTSD from being in an abusive relationship. I have yet to run this by my shrink. But imagine this. The narc so quickly scooped me up from a marriage I choose to leave. Blinded me of course. The destruction, loss of just about everyone and everything. I never gave my now ex-husband a second thought. Not one. Our bond a hidden box because to even think of him shamed me in fear of what my narc bf would think. Now that the spell is broken, we have been living apart fir 5 months, had a restraining order last Sumner, this is our 25th or so break up. But he knows I'm done. On to the next. .. But is it possible... for me to still be IN love with my ex-husband or is this just me mourning the huge loss of my life due to the narc. I'm coming to the thought that had I not been so enraptured by such a con artist, I would have given my then husband the second chance he rightly fully deserved....

Sincerely,

“Confused”

Dear “Confused”,

      You have described here the perfect example of a rebound relationship.  Unfortunately, your rebound after divorce landed you in the arms of an emotional predator.  Break ups of any kind can be devastating and leave us feeling broken, unloved, and unlovable, damaged, and left with a general sense of there something being wrong with us.  I am going to assume that you were love bombed by this narcissist you jumped into your next relationship with.  While you were experiencing rejection from your divorce here comes Mr. Wonderful who is full of immortal love and admiration for you.  He probably showered you in attention while simultaneously telling you that your ex was horrible and stupid for wanting to leave someone as amazing as you are.  What you didn’t do is give yourself space or a chance to think about things clearly before continuing on in this relationship.  I’m sure you ignored many red flags that this relationship would most likely be doomed to fail.  Now after this horrible experience with Mr. Wonderful you are probably doubting the problems that you had with your ex-husband.  There is a saying out there about nostalgia helping us forget all the bad while focusing on the good that occurred in past relationships.  This is probably why you are feeling confused about your ex-husband.  I would give yourself adequate time to sort out your feelings.  It seems as if you are a giver and in this moment you are trying to find someone to fill a void.  Someone to give that love to.  I want you to stop right now because you need to be giving that love to yourself.  Divorce doesn’t just happen.  There were reasons why you split up.  I’m not saying it’s impossible for you to still love your ex-husband but perhaps you should take things slow if anything and rebuild a friendship before exploring feelings of being in-love.  I don’t know about your childhood but you just might be confusing feelings of intensity with feelings of love.  Take a lot of time to get to know yourself before even considering a relationship with anyone other than yourself.  I hope this helps! Good luck to you on your healing journey!

Regards,

Narcissist Problems

September 7, 2015

Dear Narcissist Problems: "Suddenly Slapped"


Dear Narcissist Problems,

Hello, I'm needing some advice concerning my wife. After much reading and honest thought, I believe she may be somewhere on the spectrum of NPD. I've been hit in the face multiple times, hard (to which she says, "it was a slap, my hand was opened")....well, I'm a 200# man, and my ears were ringing. She changes into someone else when she's mad. After following her around the country for her PhD (in psychology no less), supporting her all the way, only to have her abandon her dissertation at the last minute, and blame me for her quitting. Recently I believe that we've entered into the devaluation/discard phases. Over the past two years, I've been working on being my best, and feel I've made big improvements. 5 weeks ago, shortly after her getting a big raise, I noticed her not needing me emotionally anymore. She's always been very attention needy, so I knew something was wrong. I checked the phone records and discovered an hour/day phone relationship with a lawyer "friend". It quickly became her primary emotional relationship, and when confronted, she yelled at me for things in the past, and showed anger, not remorse. She's stated repeatedly that she "doesn't have much empathy", and that she "wants a man who would go to the ends of the Earth for her"- which I do. After asking the lawyer to stop talking with her, twice, with no reply, I threatened him with a lawsuit and he cut it off. Now she's angry at me, stringing me along with enough charm to get what she wants, and distant coldness, especially after intimacy. I could go on....but I'm trying to figure out if she is indeed on the spectrum of NPD or something else.

 Thanks much,

Suddenly Slapped


Dear Slapped,

    I would first like to say I do not hold a degree in psychiatry the only thing I can do is give advice from experience and help dig up some research.  Before I get into the research I would like to ask: “What in the hell are you doing with this woman”?  I see so many men stay in abusive relationships and I really need to understand this more.  I already understand why but are you seriously thinking of sticking around to salvage this train wreck?  It sounds to me like it doesn’t really matter how far on the spectrum she is with any disorder she is abusing you physically and financially. I was just participating in a conversation earlier in a group for people who support men who are abused.  This man posted a picture of what his girlfriend did to him.  I’m sure it started out with slaps but over time this escalated to being stabbed with a fork and onto a butcher knife.  He almost died!  This woman has also confessed to you that she has very little empathy, thank god she didn’t finish her dissertation in psychology.  My point is that this woman is toxic and I have seen from experience what an aggressive woman with no empathy is capable of.  They are capable of stabbing you, running you over with a car, and trying to smother you with a pillow in your sleep.  They will make your life a living hell and then tell the police and the courts that YOU were the aggressor.  You stated that you are a 200 pound man and I’m sure as soon as she turns on the water works the authorities will buy her story of self-defense.  Get away from her and make sure you document the crazy!

    As for how far on the spectrum she is According to the DSM-5 there are two criteria that must be filled to diagnose a person with a personality disorder.  Criterion A is used to test an individual’s level of personality functioning.  This is further diagnosed by assessing an individual’s pathological personality traits, Criterion B.  So if you are looking for how far down the spectrum your wife is you would want to ask how extreme her personality traits are.  It can be noted even by experts in the field of psychiatry that “numerous potential inconsistencies in the conceptualization of narcissism, including variants in describing its nature (normal, pathological), phenotype (grandiosity, vulnerability), expression (overt, covert), and structure (category, dimension, prototype). In all four of these areas of conceptualization, DSM descriptions of the concept have been limited.” (Skodol, Bender, & Morey 2014).  It is also noted in this article that there is very little research on narcissistic personality disorder, its manifestations, and treatment available.  As far as psychiatry is concerned the study of this personality disorder is lacking.  This is why you will find so many of these support groups and pages popping up all over the internet.  Victims of Narcissistic Abuse usually have no idea that they were abused or they blame themselves for the abuse and rationalize it away.  Moreover, the topic has such little research into it that when we do go to therapy we are further invalidated in our experiences. 

So what does it take to be diagnosed with NPD?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) - The DSM Criteria

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) as an Axis II, Cluster B (dramatic, emotional, or erratic) Disorder:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

Requires excessive admiration

Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes


I suggest visiting the above link.

There has been research springing up here and there that recognizes the need to further explore this personality disorder and the conclusion to a recent study was that “Conclusions: These findings suggest that DSM-IV criteria for narcissistic personality disorder are too narrow, underemphasizing aspects of personality and inner experience that are empirically central to the disorder. The richer and more differentiated view of narcissistic personality disorder suggested by this study may have treatment implications and may help bridge the gap between empirically and clinically derived concepts of the disorder.”(2008). This article goes on to say that “Despite its severity and stability (1 , 2) , narcissistic personality disorder is one of the least studied personality disorders.”

Attached is a useful study into the subject that will help you further explore what could be going on.

Regards,

Narcissist Problems

 By: Elsa Ronningstam
Harvard Medical School;

Pathological narcissism is characterized by fragility in self-regulation, self-esteem and sense of agency, accompanied by strong self-protective reactivity, emotion dysregulation, and a range of self-enhancing and self-serving behaviors and attitudes. Areas or periods of proactive and healthy narcissism coexist with pathological narcissism. Self-regulatory fluctuations and accompanying shifts in self-esteem are context dependent and affected by situational, that is, interpersonal or event triggered reactivity. The phenotypic presentations of pathological narcissism and NPD range from interpersonal pretentiousness, arrogance, and assertiveness, to insecurity, shyness, and hypersensitivity (Cooper, 1998; Russ et al., 2008). Notable is also that narcissistic individuals’ internal experiences may differ significantly from their overt behavior and descriptive accounts. From an attachment perspective narcissistic personality style and pathological narcissism are suggested to be anchored in a detached-dismissing pattern (disliking attachment to others and preferring investment in interpersonal space and own agency), or in an avoidant pattern (defensive self-sufficiency). In addition, sensitive, vulnerable narcissism has been associated with anxious or fearful preoccupied attachment style (aspiring attachment but anticipating disappointment or rejection; Fonagy, 2001; Dickinson & Pincus, 2003).


Grandiosity and accompanying self-enhancing and self-serving incentives and behavior are part of a self-regulatory spectrum of narcissistic personality functioning. Overt as well as covert signs of both grandiosity and vulnerability coexist and affect narcissistic personality functioning in each situation (Pincus & Lukowitsky, 2010). Sense of competence, control, standards, and achievements are crucial for self-evaluation and self-esteem (Zeigler-Hill, Myers, & Clark, 2010).

Self-agency conceptualizes the subjective awareness and ownership of goal setting, and planning, initiating, executing, and controlling one’s own thoughts, intentions, actions, and accomplishments (Fonagy, Gergely, Jurist, & Target, 2002; Gallagher, 2006; Knox, 2011). It signifies implicit as well as explicit initiation, mastery, and self-direction, and it is a fundamental part of self-regulation and self-esteem. As such self-agency is a potential base for evaluating self-esteem regulation including grandiosity and inferiority. In social-psychological studies of narcissism, self-agency has been introduced to conceptualize narcissistic interpersonal and self-regulatory strategies, such as attention seeking, competitiveness, and self-esteem-enhancing relationships (Foster & Brennan, 2011).

Psychoanalytic studies noted that the subjective experiences of fluctuating or loss of self-agency are especially consequential for people whose sense of self-worth is fragile and whose ability for interpersonal relatedness is compromised (Knox, 2011). Disturbance in self-agency is an essential part of psychopathology (Spengler, von Cramon, & Brass, 2009; Fonagy et al., 2010). For example, schizotypal traits correlate with deficits in prediction which lead to weaker sense of self-agency (Asai & Tanno, 2008; Asai, Sugimori, & Tanno, 2008). Discrepancies between predicted and actual action–effect connection contributed to decreased sense of agency (Sato & Yasuda, 2005; Spengler, von Cramon, & Brass, 2009), and perceived reduced control of events was associated with decreased experience of authorship/instigation (Aarts, Wegner, & Dijksterjuis, 2006).


A young man, Bob 21 years old, dropped out of college and was hospitalized with a range of problems: At the initial evaluation the clinician noticed general anxiety, obsessive–compulsive preoccupation, racing thoughts, social anxiety, avoidance, and suicidality. Family members and friends portrayed Bob to the case-manager as inconsiderate, demanding, and demeaning, with threatening and verbally aggressive behavior, and involved in poly substance abuse. Bob described himself as struggling with internal agony caused by his inconsistent cognitive intellectual functioning, and feeling overwhelmed by insecurity and internal self-criticism. He often felt frustrated with other people; he found them stupid, unpredictable, and difficult to understand. In addition, he had been isolating and engaged in Internet sex-dating where he felt safer and more in control compared with if he tried to meet somebody at bars and parties.

Bob also described the week before being hospitalized; on Friday he met with his professor and began outlining a project for a paper. He thought the meeting went well as he perceived that his ideas were well understood and appreciated by his professor, and he left feeling motivated and competent. On Sunday he spoke in front of 10,000 people at a big sports event at his college. Apparently he did a good job, both according to his own assessment and based on the others’ enthusiastic feedback. With a smile he admitted that he felt he could become a future president of the United States. On Tuesday he found himself unable to speak in front of his class of 8 peer students. It was his turn to present the outline of his project, and just before the class began he experienced sudden anxiety with difficulties holding on to logical thinking and reasoning. When he was about to begin he experienced a total cognitive blockage and had to leave the room. A day later he saw no future for himself and struggled with excruciating self-reproach and intense suicidal ideations and impulses. He admitted that he anticipated critical and “stupid” comments from his peers and feared the anticipation of exposing himself to something he could not control. Most of all, he felt unable to rely upon his own competence and dreaded a sudden loss of his ability to think and speak.

Bob was highly intelligent, with an IQ in the range between 140 and 150. Some even considered him to be a genius, although he himself did not believe that, but he appreciated the admiration and acknowledgment. He was a competitive swimmer and leader of his swim team, and had encountered no problems with either swimming or team leadership. He had overall done well in college, especially on exams, and received high grades despite some inconsistencies. His professional aspirations and plan was to become a lawyer like his grand-father. He met 8 of the 9 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM–IV) and fifth edition (DSM-5) criteria for NPD (not #6, interpersonal exploitive) according to the Diagnostic Interview for DSM–IV Personality Disorders, DIPD-IV (Zanarini, Frankenburg, Sickel, & Young, 1996).

After having presented this rather diverse set of experiences Bob said to the therapist: “I cannot trust my faculties, I do not know from one day to another whether I can rely on my thinking and reasoning, access my knowledge, communicate, and perform. I struggle inside myself with dreadful self-scolding, constantly comparing and criticizing myself. I am a perfectionist, and I know that I can be very good, even exceptional. I have been considered a genius, but it does not hold up. I can’t tolerate closer contact with people. I get so angry and frustrated at them. I can see that I may be unfair, at times . . . , but I just can’t stand it. It works much better when I am in charge or if there is a distance to other people, like if I have a large audience. I feel extremely afraid of the future and ashamed of having to be in treatment. Some days I really doubt that anything can change or that I can get help, other days I can feel more optimistic”.


Bob presented with areas and moments of real potentials, consistent competence, and proactive interpersonal functioning, that is, as a swimmer and team leader, and in individual academic performance and interactions with his supervisors. On the exceptional side was his ability to speak in front of large audiences. He had both unrealistic grandiose fantasies as well as real age-appropriate professional aspirations. He came across as confident and self-promoting, alternating between bragging and a disdainful attitude. However, internally he struggled with extreme self-criticism, self-doubt (the reverse side of perfectionism), and interpersonal insecurity when facing close and intimate or collaborative interactions with peers, as if they tend to become critical enemies. However, this most consequential vulnerability was not triggered in his physical sport activities, only in his intellectual academic activities. In terms of self-agency, Bob was unable to integrate and regulate perceptions of challenges, failures, and interpersonal limitations with his actual competence and real abilities. From a self-regulatory perspective he used perfectionism and avoidance as well as substances to enhance self-esteem, and sense of control and to modulate self-criticism, fear, and anxiety. Apparently he had reached a point where he faced a rapid and extreme downhill spiral. High ambitions, perfectionism, and intermittent experiences of competence and even exceptional abilities under certain circumstances, turned into escalating interpersonal intolerance and fear, insecurity, distancing and avoidance, self-criticism and self-scolding, with substance usage and suicidality.


Although grandiosity is a diagnostic hallmark for NPD, and an indication of the pathological grandiose self (Kernberg, 1975), its complexity and changeability suggest that the diagnosis of NPD should not depend heavily on overt indications of grandiosity (Ronningstam, Gunderson, & Lyons, 1995). State-dependent signs or temporary reactive increase of grandiosity can alter or coexist with more persistent overt or covert grandiose self-experience, as well as with more proactive or authentic functioning. Given narcissistic patients’ identity diffusion and difficulties knowing who they are, identifying and differentiating their real competence, assets, and accomplishments from exaggerated or non-existing achievement and wished for talents are important. Equally important is the differentiation of their age appropriate ambitions and proactive aspiration from high-flying or unrealistic fantasies. It is not uncommon that patients with NPD struggle with uncertainty, shame, excessive self-criticism, and insecurity related to their actual talents, value and competence, parallel with an enhanced self-presentation, especially if they are young. Like in the case of Bob, it is also important to acknowledge areas of actual individual uniqueness and special talents or potentials as part of the overall self-regulatory functioning. In addition, encouraging patients’ own narrative, especially describing moments when they experience incompetence, inferiority, and fragility, is also a most essential part of the diagnostic process. The shifts in self-esteem from grandeur to inferior or vice versa with accompanying self-regulatory change in self-enhancement and self-devaluation are most informative. The subjective experiences of those interpersonal or situational conditions that cause such shifts are diagnostic hallmark for pathological narcissism and NPD (Ronningstam, 2012a, 2013).

Diagnostic evaluation and treatment tend to mobilize self-protection and control in people with narcissistic personality functioning. Some can be extremely and effectively defensive, focusing on details or seemingly relevant issues while avoiding more urgent or deeper and challenging problems. Others can mobilize plasticity and adjustment, agreeing and following along, and still others can get argumentative, aggressive, and critical. Although on the surface intelligent and articulated, even with moments of perspective-taking and reflection, these people also present with a significant resistance or inability to deeply connect, attach, and change. Doubts, shame and insecurity, confused self-identity, and self-criticism, combined with a range of self-enhancing strategies, contribute to their sometimes drastic self-regulatory interpersonal stands.

A conditional and limited alliance is unfolding, that can seem collaborative and interactive with common language, and even with processing of challenging inquiries and complex interpretations. However, the patients’ motive for seeking help and experience of facing treatment may be totally separated from acknowledging their problems and work toward changes or modifications of problematic areas functioning. Their reputation of being difficult to treat, or even untreatable, stems from a particularly complex and constricting mental functioning. Clinical observation and empirical findings indicate compromised functioning and impaired abilities behind the NPD diagnostic traits that indeed underpin pathological narcissism and contribute to the specific internal and interpersonal regulatory patterns. Awareness and integration of these factors in the diagnostic process is crucial for gaining a meaningful identification of the narcissistic patient.


The first set of such factors concerns the ability to access, process, and identify emotions. Studies have shown that both defensive and compromised emotional functioning influence self-regulation in people with pathological narcissism or NPD (Model, 1975; Krystal, 1998). Avoidance of emotions, especially fear of failure and humiliation, is considered a motivating, self-regulatory strategy (Bélanger et al., 2012). Vigilance, sensitivity, and reactivity to negative events and anticipation of humiliation (Besser & Zeigler-Hill, 2010) can coexist with emotion intolerance and difficulties processing feelings, in particular fear and shame. Fear, recognized in both psychoanalytic and empirical studies as essential in pathological narcissism, is also underlying several management and avoidance strategies typical for narcissistic personality functioning, such as competitiveness, perfectionism, risk-taking, and procrastination (Ronningstam & Baskin-Sommers, 2013). Shame also plays a significant role, especially in narcissistic interpersonal relating, and can motivate avoidance as well as defensive, retaliatory anger to regain agency and control (Tangney, 1995; Trumbull, 2003).

Compromised emotion recognition, that is, impaired accuracy in recognizing facial emotional expressions in others, especially fear and disgust (Marissen, Deen, & Franken, 2012), weaken the narcissistic patient’s ability for interpersonal guidance and information processing. Similarly, alexithymia, that is, the inability to feel and identify own feelings, either because of unawareness or incapacity to distinguish physical and affect states or because of lacking words for emotions (Krystal, 1998) can also impede on the ability to recognize emotions in others (Fan et al., 2011).

Studies of empathic deficits, another outstanding feature of NPD, have raised the question whether motivation/self-regulation or actual deficits, or both, contribute to compromised empathic ability. Impairment in emotional empathic ability was found in patients diagnosed with NPD (Ritter et al., 2011). Although their cognitive emphatic ability was intact and influenced by motivation, their emotional empathic functioning was affected by compromised ability for mirroring and responsiveness to the emotional states of others. On the other hand, NPD patients’ failure to accurately recognize emotions in others combined with overestimation of their own empathic ability indicates a more general empathic deficit (Marissen, Deen, & Franken, 2012). Emotion intolerance may also play a role in empathic ability as the person may be able to notice feelings in others, as mentioned above, but the perception of others’ feeling states can evoke overwhelming powerlessness, disgust, shame or loss of internal control, and hence trigger strong aggressive reactions or emotional or physical withdrawal (Ronningstam, 2009). In addition, noticeable fluctuations in narcissistic patients’ empathic ability may be influenced by self-regulation, with increased ability to empathize when feeling confident and in control, and decreased ability when feeling exposed, inferior or threatened.


The specific attachment pattern associated with pathological narcissism and NPD, as mentioned above, contributes to a second set of factors involving significant difficulties relating and connecting, especially in ways that can promote change (Kernberg, 2007). NPD patients often do not know who they are on a deeper level, and their identity is influenced by more profound and persistent self-enhancing efforts. Difficulties with dependency and mutuality and strong tendencies for avoidance and control are also, like in the case of Bob’s choice of intimacy via Internet, typical indicators of compromised interpersonal functioning (Kernberg, 1998). Perfectionism is such an effort because it involves both exceptionally high or inflexible (although inconsistent) ideals and standards of self or others, with strong reactions, including aggression, harsh self-criticism, shame, fear, or deceitfulness when self or others fail to measure up (Hewitt et al., 2008; Ronningstam, 2010). In interpersonal and social situations perfectionism can be self-promoting to enhance certain qualities, but it can also be self-protective and serve to hide something non-perfect. On the other hand, self-prescribed perfectionism can contribute to extremely unyielding self-criticism, like in the case of Bob, with hypervigilance and automatic cognitive appraisal of interpersonal situations as overly provocative or threatening. Especially, it contributes to reluctance to acknowledge and being seen as imperfect, and hence, to seek help for own distress and to integrate and benefit from treatment interventions.

Impaired ability for self-disclosure, self-silencing, selective or noncommunicativeness, and inability to share feelings and thoughts (Model, 1980; Besser, Flett, & Davis, 2003) are all aspects of narcissistic pathology that contribute to diagnostic challenges. Similarly, reversible perspective taking (Etchegoyen, 1999), the tendency to smoothly adopt the therapist’s comments and interpretations and seemingly internalize those given perspective without changing one’s own, and without incorporating the therapeutic process to generate change in own personality functioning, is yet another complicating defensive feature.


A third set of factors relates to the specific psychological aspects of trauma that can reinforce pathological narcissistic functioning. A narcissistic trauma is caused by a subjective experience of loss of supportive or sustaining external life conditions, such as changes in marriage/family, work and career, or financial situation, or loss of connection to a good, supportive idealized other person, leading to a loss or distortion of internal ideals and meaning. Sudden loss of a sense of control and competence, like in the case of Bob, can also be traumatizing for people whose self-esteem is strongly connected with performance and achievement. Such losses cause an acute internal state that threatens the continuity, coherence, stability, and wellbeing of the self (Maldonado, 2006). Narcissistic self-protection aimed at organizing and understanding the traumatic experience fail, and the sense of loss, rejection, and abandonment, along with feelings of shame, fear, and worthlessness become overwhelming (Gerzi, 2005). A narcissistic trauma is more subjective and self-esteem related, and involving exposure and humiliation. Sometimes such trauma can even be entirely emotional and internal, accompanied by compromised hope, sense of value, control, meaning, and affiliation. This contrasts to more external obvious traumatic experiences, such as physical attacks, abuse, accidents, and so forth. Narcissistic trauma, like in Trauma Associated Narcissistic Symptoms, TANS (Simon, 2002) can be intrinsic to the characterological vulnerability to disruption of self-regulation, and loss of agency and self-esteem in NPD. On the other hand, narcissistic traumas, experienced in young age, can also be deeply internalized and subjectively organized in a narcissistic patient’s mind, contributing to an armor-like, seemingly impenetrable narcissistic character functioning, with denial, omnipotence, and organizing and protecting narcissistic fantasies, covering split off shame and fear. These types of traumatic experiences may easily be either misdiagnosed or bypassed in a diagnostic evaluation as they often differ from standard psychiatric definitions of trauma involving abuse, neglect, catastrophes, and so forth (Ronningstam, 2012b; Simon, 2002; Krystal, 1998) and can remain effectively shielded. Facing the impact of external life events might actually help some patients to begin to access and process such subjectively internalized experiences.


This study has focused on identifying underpinnings and self-regulatory patterns behind the diagnostic traits for NPD. A flexible, exploratory, and collaborative diagnostic process is recommended that attends to the patients’ internal experiences and motivations as well as to their external and interpersonal functioning. The patients’ limitations and compromised abilities, as well as their interpersonally provocative, although sometimes quite elaborative self-regulatory and enhancing strategies should be attended to in ways that are informative and meaningful for both the patient and clinician. Identifying and differentiating healthy or protective aspects of narcissistic patterns from those that are pathological and perpetuating is important. Clarifying the threatening, injuring, or traumatic experiences and situations that escalate narcissistic reactivity is equally essential. Clinicians’ observations of the narcissistic patients’ functioning often do not concur with the patients’ own experiences of themselves or formulations of their problems. More detailed exploration of a recent event that caused fluctuations in the patient’s self-esteem and agency can be a useful start. Such exploration can provide the opportunity to clarify the patient’s internal subjective perspective, needs, and motives for self-enhancement, experiences of vulnerability and deflation, and the organizing and protective role of narcissistic functioning, both internally in relation to self and in relationship to others. A focus on these areas of functioning is in line with the Workgroups proposal for personality functioning in DSM-5 Section III, which includes identity (regulation of self and emotions), self-direction (self-agency), empathy and intimacy (interpersonal relatedness). With regard to the diagnosis of NPD, these changes represent significant improvement compared with the entirely trait-based diagnosis. Encouraging self-assessment and the patients’ own narratives of their performance, anticipations, aspirations, and shifts in states, self-esteem, and emotions can begin to bridge the different perspectives of the patient and the clinician, and help reaching a diagnostic agreement and understanding of the patient’s functioning.


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Source: Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment. Vol. 5. (4), Oct, 2014 pp. 434-438)
Accession Number: 2014-42878-005
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1037/per0000034


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