From my experience, the fastest way to clear a room or kill a conversation is to say you were involved with a narcissist.
Has anyone else had that experience? You can be talking about domestic abuse, you can talk about men who hit women, it makes people shuffle their feet or squirm in their seats, but mention the word narcissist and people will literally start looking for the exit sign.
It is akin to having Tourette’s and shouting out an F bomb in the middle of church or something. I had it happen shortly after I met the woman next door; she works in social services, been abused herself and helped many victims of abuse so I thought she would relate to the devastation they cause. I mentioned her ex sounded like a narcissist and she got obviously uncomfortable and defended him or minimized the abuse, it was the strangest reaction. As time has gone on she will make more reference to narcissists but she really doesn’t want to acknowledge they exist. I was talking to a man who teaches anger management courses and mentioned narcissists and he stopped talking mid sentence, got this look on his face, like “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know we don’t talk about …… (with darting eyes) the N word?!” He started making excuses for the men he taught and then I asked him what his success rate was with the men in his classes. He stuttered that he didn’t know.
I said, ” Most of them are court ordered to attend, aren’t they?” and he said yes. “and no one knows if the classes work or not? there’s no follow-up?”
“Well, he hesitated, “I never sees the guys again once the classes are finished, all I know is what the guys tell me, and ” and even as he said it I could tell he realized how pointless it was to order men to attend anger management and never follow-up to see if it works. “but they could tell me anything, of course they wouldn’t tell me they were going home after class and throwing their wife around.”
So typical of our legal system to blindly sentence any man who hits his wife to anger management without even verifying if the program works.
A narcissist made to attend anger management classes is like teaching a thief how to be a pick pocket, you are helping him hone his skills.
A narcissist may say you drove him to hit you with your incessant nagging or suspicions but I think you have to admit that it didn’t matter what you did or said or didn’t do or say; if the narcissist was looking for a fight he would keep pushing your buttons until you cracked and argued back and THEN he would hit you and blame you for driving him to it. Narcissists are all about control. You can be out and having a wonderful time, come home and the minute that door closes he is a raging maniac. That is not anger mismanagement, he can manage his anger just fine. He waited until you were behind closed doors, didn’t he? You can do something that should have angered him and he does nothing, acts like everything is fine and you are shocked. But wait for it, the narcissist will get his revenge. Something precious to you will disappear or accidentally get broken but you won’t know for sure he did it or are you just being paranoid?
There is a disconnect I see with society and even the many mental health professionals; everyone is quick to label someone like the pilot of the German plane that went down, a narcissist, because flying a plane into the side of a mountain on purpose is so inexplicable, so horrific, people want reassurance that it could never happen to them or their loved ones. It is a freak occurrence committed by a psycho. People can accept that a narcissist is someone who would fly a plane into a mountain. But suggest a man who systematically destroys a woman’s soul and tries to destroy her life, even take her life is a narcissist and people run for the exit. Why is it that society will believe the woman is over reacting, “too sensitive”, imagining things, exaggerating, or being vindictive or jealous when she even suggests the man is a narcissist? and not believe her when she shares what life with the narcissist was like?
Is it any wonder women will go their whole life unable to move on after the narcissist when what happened to them is never acknowledged? When they are forced into silence because they just cannot handle being dismissed by everyone and forced into trying to explain the abuse which sounds crazy to their own ears. It is a shame that for generation women have learned that it is better for them if they just keep their mouth shut, “forgive and forget”, move on, and “act happy that the narcissist has moved on and is happily involved with the love of his life.”
I have Googled domestic abuse support sites, women’s rights groups, women’s shelters, and not one of them ever mentions the word narcissist. Why? It makes no sense to me, women are criticized for going back time after time and even blamed for their own death because she kept going back. There was something wrong with her, so in a way it is her own fault and the rest of the world can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it would never happen to them because THEY would never allow it.
That train of thought is so dangerous! for many reasons:
1. It gives women a false sense of security. I never thought I would end up in an abusive relationship! No man would ever hit me and if he did he would never get a second chance. Because the narcissist does not fit the description of what we envision an abuser to be.
2. How do you protect yourself from something you know nothing about? No one tells women that a narcissist enters your life disguised as the love of your life.
3. When the court’s order absolutely useless anger management classes for the narcissist they are telling the victim that the abuser can change, he can be helped; it is not that serious. How can you tell a woman to leave a man for good and at the same time act on the assumption he can change. That is what drives women to go back, the belief that the man can change. If the women had the facts they could make an educated decision about their lives, decisions that could save her life.
3. The only time people find out about how toxic and prevalent narcissists are is after the damage is done and they are either trying to find answers to what happened to them or to a loved one. But how does the public learn about narcissists if victims are always shhh’d and never allowed to speak out or believed when they do?
It is going to take a lot of brave victims speaking out and not allowing society to shut them up; that takes courage, to speak out when everyone in the room looks at you like you are the psycho bitch. It is so much easier to shut up, bury the pain and hope you find happiness somehow. But buried pain never heals, it sits festering, and will come up time and time again. The victim will seek out narcissists because they don’t connect the whirlwind romance to the abuse and they have this pain deep inside that they feel can be healed by the love of a man, if another man thinks they are wonderful, if another man accepts them for who they are; he will heal the pain the narcissist inflicted. Next thing they know they are right back in another abusive relationship and don’t understand why this man turned on them also; there MUST be something wrong with them! Why are they an N magnet? He didn’t act anything like their ex, he was so loving, he couldn’t get enough of her, he loved everything about her; yeah, just like the last one did.
The victim doesn’t connect the man they fell in love with to the man who abused them. They can’t get their head around the fact that someone so kind and loving could be the same person who treated them with such loathing and if they aren’t ever allowed to discuss or have their pain acknowledged, how will they ever learn. The victim ends up afraid to ever love again, puts a wall around herself, grows bitter, numbs her pain with booze, drugs or some other analgesic.
What a shame, when we know how to stop the cycle, when we could be arming our young women with the skills to detect and protect themselves from these soul suckers.
I am not saying all abusers are narcissists, I am guessing that the majority of them are but a small percentage would be men who get violent when they drink, or do drugs, or really do have anger management problems and they can change with help. ie: quit drinking, therapy and counseling. How would you know the difference? they would probably not have swept you off your feet and been your knight in shining armor, they wouldn’t be pathological liars, and they would not be two different people, other people would see the abusive side of them.
If you have ever had the police show up at the door you have witnessed the narcissist morph into his alter ego: My ex could flip from the raving psycho I thought was going to kill me, into a totally pulled together, rational person who didn’t know what my problem was. I was a shaking, babbling, incoherent nut case. He would be telling the cops a joke, shaking their hands and inviting them to check out his new car or whatever, not even a bead of sweat on his brow or hair out-of-place. Is it any wonder the cops thought I was the psycho bitch. It just goes to show how in control the narcissist is, the narcissist does not have an angry management problem and he doesn’t have the feelings to get depressed.
I have read news articles about the German pilot that flew the plane into the mountains killing all 149 people on the plane and he is being called a malignant narcissist. I am not a professional by any stretch of the imagination, any knowledge of narcissists I have are my own experiences and what I have researched; but I didn’t immediately think he was a narcissist. I hope someone will correct me if I am wrong because I always want to learn but from what I know he doesn’t fit the typical description of a narcissist.
To my knowledge:
A narcissist is not suicidal, he will kill other people. He is the man who will kill his own children as the ultimate revenge on his wife for leaving him. He will kill his wife for the life insurance policy or to get rid of her so he can run off with his new lover.
A narcissist usually hates boundaries or following the rules. The German pilot has not had one person from his past come forward to say he was anything but dedicated and a rule follower..
His girlfriend has said he had told her that he was going to do something that would shake up the world but she has not said a word about him being abusive or any other typical traits for a narcissist. When ever a narcissist beats a woman, kills his kids, someone comes forward with some information that shows he had issues and red flags before he committed the crime. Some ex girlfriend will come forward saying she feared for her life or like with Bill Cosby women start coming out of the woodwork telling tales of abuse. Maybe it is yet to come, but so far I haven’t heard anything of that nature.
A narcissist rarely seeks help because he doesn’t see himself as having a problem, the problem is you not him, he is perfect and superior. yet the German pilot had sought help for some emotional or mental problems for some time. He had been suicidal in the past. Most narcissist I have heard of aren’t suicidal, they feel they are superior and deserve to live more than anyone else. I don’t see a narcissist as being a “depressed” person, that would mean he has feelings and I really don’t believe the narcissist is capable of being depressed, he thinks too highly of himself. James and I lived in some conditions that would make anyone depressed. His mother called him “resilient” and praised his ability to “bounce back” I called it delusional. Their lives are based on lies and fantasy so they really don’t care, as long as they can fake a life style, it is almost as good as having the lifestyle. They don’t care if they lose the house to foreclosure, not enough to prevent it; if they lose the house they will just find someone else with a house and move in with them. They blame the victim, the victim should have saved the house, now he has to go out there and find a woman with a house; if only the victim would have taken care of this mundane details he wouldn’t have to put in the effort of sucking in another victim.
There is the need to be famous or infamous but he wants to be around to bask in the lime light, if he is plastered all over the side of a mountain there is no benefit to him. Narcissists get off on the power of inflicting pain or committing a crime and being so superior that they get away with it. My ex would injure himself to get attention, take the attention off something he had done or take the attention off someone else. He will drive like a maniac to scare the victim into thinking he will kill them both but he isn’t planning on killing them both, he sees himself with superior driving skills and knowing exactly what he is doing. He is having fun, he is in control, remember any attention is good attention whether it is love, fear or anger. The narcissist isn’t deep enough to get depressed, he is all about immediate gratification, he would much prefer attaining things the easy way and rarely works hard for what he has, he will cheat, lie and manipulate instead of just doing the work and getting it the normal way. Like with my ex who rarely completed any of the courses he took and just made up his own certificates saying he was a mechanic, welder, or whatever he wanted to be.
Definitely the pilot had major mental issues, what they were I don’t know, I do know that people with Borderline Personality Disorder tend to have very similar traits to a narcissist but for opposite reasons. A Borderline personality is painfully lacking in self-esteem, are clingy and jealous because they feel inferior and they are apt to be self-harmers, they have attempted suicide several times, and suffer from depression. I know someone who was diagnosed as BPD and was fine as long as she took her meds but without them she could slip into a deep depression within a day or two. She also had other personality disorders combined with the BPD and I suspect this pilot was the same, inflicted with a couple of disorders, on medication, stopped taking his meds and fell into a deep depression and when he had an opportunity he took a dramatic exit taking a plane load of innocent victims with him.
I am only being an arm-chair psychiatrist, but that’s my opinion on it, for what its worth.