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How to Spot a Narcissist

By Samuel López De Victoria, Ph.D.

How to Spot a Narcissist

At the core of extreme narcissism is egotistical preoccupation with self, personal preferences, aspirations, needs, success, and how he/she is perceived by others. Some amount of basic narcissism is healthy, of course, but this type …

669 Comments to
How to Spot a Narcissist

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  1. Dr. Lopez — you wrote:

    …….With all due respect, I personally believe that when a woman and a man have unprotected sexual intimacy then a connection happens that goes beyond just body fluids co-mingling (please excuse my attempt to avoid being explicit) …….

    ……When “the two become one” then there is an obsession state that becomes initiated, almost like an addiction but at a psyche level
    Since your man is not willing to get healthy, for you to get healthy, you must leave him. The problem is that you have this psychical (sp?) dependence on him. In other words, you have an addiction to this person. To break it you must break that union but you must go to the inception memory and surrender it to your Higher Power,

    Can you elaborate on this? By inception memory do you mean the first time you had sex with the person you want to disconnect/deaddict from. And what do you mean by surrender? Do you simply mean to pray for it to be released from you? I’m not a faith-based person but neither am an aethiest. Any advice for an agnostic?

  2. Oops (regarding the above post,) I just realized your last name is De Victora. I stand corrected. Sorry.

  3. Chelsea,

    You said,”Can you elaborate on this? By inception memory do you mean the first time you had sex with the person you want to disconnect/de-addict from. And what do you mean by surrender? Do you simply mean to pray for it to be released from you? I’m not a faith-based person but neither am an athiest. Any advice for an agnostic?”

    I think you probably can do the approach without necessarily doing it in a spiritual context. You can try the following:

    You will want to do a reframe of the original first event. There are many ways of doing this at the memory. One simple way is imagine that you are there minutes/seconds before the first incident and then take back the decision working through your reasoning on the spot of why it is much wiser to stop the behavior right there and then. Release the former belief about the “need” to do the behavior then and release your need for intimacy with this specific individual. See if this approach works with you.

    Don’t worry about my last name. It is all three words (“Lopez De Victoria” = one last name). I live constantly with being called all kinds of variations of it.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

    • thinking about other people coldly behind their back without remorse for karma is ignorant, not narcissistic also taking this into the physical world of saying someone is so inferior to you as to be mentally ill from your supreme observation, when it is just your opinion from observing the situation. those are the people who need be imprisoned for mental issues,

  4. Um, yeah. You might want to remember that psychology has a tendency to diagnose anything out of the ordinary as a personality disorder, although, considering that you’re a psychologist yourself, I doubt you will.

    Who is to say that narcissists aren’t “healthy” people? Maybe they’re happy being the way they are. Maybe this is really just another socially unacceptable, but healthy coping mechanism. (It’s not any worse than smoking, is it?) If that’s the case, who has the right to say anything against it? And as for people who were narcissistic but who claim to be glad to have “overcome” that challenge – well, how can you be sure that those are their real views, and that they aren’t just some product of social conditioning? (i.e. thinking, like most of us do, that anything out of the ordinary is scary and/or harmful.) How do we know society’s views on narcissists are true? Can we ever know?

    I’m sorry, I’m more than a little skeptical of psychology as a science, having been hounded by psychologists for most of my life. Anyway, those are the questions I’d like you to address. How do you know that any of your “diagnoses” are accurate, or that any “disorder” is really a “disorder”? And how can you prove that psychology is a science and not just another tool that society uses to create stigmas about people who are different?

    Thank you.

  5. Aerin,

    I would tend to agree that putting labels on people can be a greatly unfortunate thing… and can be abused, even if it is in the name of “helping” that person. There are some that totally think that the DSM-IV has been created to help the health insurance companies, for political reasons, for pharmaceutical reasons, etc.

    Whether that may or may not be true one thing is for sure…

    When a person is going through so much mental and emotional pain affecting their social context involvement, their families, and their jobs then there is a need to figure out what has contributed to creating that condition for the person. At the core this is what psychology/psychiatry tries to do regardless of how it tries to do it.

    Psychology is a science in so far as it is investigative and has integrity in that process. The ultimate validity to any psychological process is whether it actually helps to improve the life of a person experiencing the aforementioned issues.

    You will find competent and incompetent clinicians. I know because I see the results of both types constantly with my colleagues.

    You will find that some traditional approaches in interventions at best help some. I have consistently found that the most amazing healing approaches are still entering the psychological arena among academicians. One reason for the slow acceptance to these modalities that are very powerful in healing is that they tend to not totally fit the “box” of academia or the modalities lack still “official” packaging via journal research showing that the modalities are valid and do work.

    Maybe your case is one that you have been poorly handled by professionals who may not be good healers. I am of the opinion that there are few true healers out there in my field. Most are very good people but not true healers. I find many still stuck in some basic developmental states and dysfunctions that, in my view, curtail their effectiveness with patients/clients.

    I’m sorry that you’ve been mistreated or not handled with the proper respect and care you very much deserve. If I could I would apologize for my colleagues.

    Best regards,

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  6. Hi, I have been researching for some months now and you are the first that I have seen to say there is hope for a malignant narcissist or one with npd. Why do you believe this can happen. I am getting ready to divorce my husband of 26 years. We have been struggling to make it for 2 years almost. I could never understand why no matter what he said it wouldn’t satisfy me. Than I started to do research and came to realize that my husband is afflicted. I see a person without sincerety pretending that God has shown him the light but sometimes the things he says show me that he is still making justifications for everything he did. I am constantly being criticized by him and feel that if we were to get back together he would eventually try to manipulate me into believeing that all the problems were my fault. He has had numerous one ngiht stands. Slept with my friend of 28 years, his best friends wife, taken vacations to where he is from and looked up old teenage sweethearts to have sex with. I wouldn’t be suprised if it numbered over a hundred woman. He has had 2 dui but it could have been hundreds he just wasn’t caught. He has had two fist fights with his son. He has been arrested over 6 times.
    I will not go on and on but one thing that was my saving grace is a career buying and selling antiques eventually I had them everywhere in our house and he complained to everyone through the years about it. Another narcistic trait. I now realize that I was trying to fill the whole in my life with something. I no longer do that. But I never cheated and was a good wife. But he complains about everything I did and says he had the right to complain about my collecting even as he carried on many sexual infidelities unknown to me.
    I still am quite curious why you think there is hope. I am not looking for some sort of saving grace I think my husband is evil puts on his Angel face and goes out into the world and lies about me to everyone.

  7. Catherine,

    Just a clarification…

    The kind of narcissist that has hope, in my opinion, is the one that is brave enough to admit that he has a problem and wants to get down to the core of his issues.

    It appears to me that your husband is not one of those candidates. You need to protect yourself from his abuse.

    Best regards,

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  8. Dear Dr. Sam and Everyone here:

    I found this site tonight because a friend of 35 years just told me that I was a narcissist. She told me to look it up, so I did. Thanks to all of you for the wonderful posts that I just read.

    I had read about 10 sites before I landed here. I have some of the qualities (who doesn’t?) of a narcissist, but I don’t lie. In fact, I am honest to a fault, many times to my detriment. As I read the opening paragraphs, something you said about getting your PhD and losing a friend really struck a chord with me.

    At age 50, 5 years ago, I finally got my BA. That is when 3 of my long time friends basically turned on me. The same people that used to call me a “professional student” and laughed about it, now were saying that, “College doesn’t make you smarter.” None of these three friends went to college, but that made no difference to me at all. This was a personal thing for me to achieve. I guess you could call it a goal.

    Two semesters before I graduated, my husband cheated on me for the second time and I kicked him out. We were together 18 years and it broke my heart. It took all of my strength to handle the divorce and finish college so I could get a good job to support myself. I know it took an emotional toll on me, but I had a Psychologist that I had seen previously in my life give me what I term a “tune up.” She assured me that I had a good grip on my life and that the sadness that I felt would eventually go away. So far, 6 years later, I still feel the loss, not as much, but it is still there.

    The people that I thought were my good friends seemed to sense my “open sore” and went into attack mode…today being the last of the 3 friends. I have tried so hard to maintain the friendships because they were long term and after today’s research I fear that I have enabled their attacks. Does this make me a narcissist? I am becoming more isolated, by choice, because I am so tired of arguing and sticking up for myself. I have made new friends since my divorce, but there is not the same connection that you have with friends of many years. I’m lonely, but I keep trying. And, I do still have some 30+ year friends left, along with a ton of family, so all is not hopeless!

    I know this is long, I’m sorry. I just am so confused right now. I would welcome any suggestions or ideas or anything!

    Thanks much,
    Sue

  9. Sue,

    I don’t think you are the kind of narcissist I wrote about (extreme narcissist). If anything, I think you have had poor boundaries which extreme narcissists abuse and take advantage of.

    I work with so many folks that have battled similar areas you are describing. My approach, which has been very successful with many, is to find the inception point of becoming an “enabler.” This is the point an individual made a subtle decision to do whatever it takes to be liked and loved. In other words this dynamic is an attachment issue where a person’s love tank was not filled by their mother foremost (less involving the father). You may contact me via my web site if you desire a more professional and intervention based approach.

    I hope my response helped some.

    A couple of good books I’ve recommended in another article here are “SAFE PEOPLE” and “BOUNDARIES” by Townsend and Cloud.

    Best regards,

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  10. Dear Dr. Sam:

    Thank you very much for your insightful reply. I will get the books you recommend. Depending on how I do with these books will determine whether I contact you on your website. I will do whatever it takes to re-establish my “boundaries.”

    Thanks again, Sue

  11. Dear Dr. Sam,

    I just stumbled across your blog today and have read everybit of it. My fiance (lose term) I believe has some if not all of the signs of this behavior you speak of.
    I came into this relationship so ready to be loved, so trusting, so naive and believing. It makes me sick to think how innocent I was. I have been lied to and deceived numerous times. He seems to fit the description there. In the beginning he made me believe he had so many things in common with me, he said all the right things, I thought he was everything I had dreamed. I am the ever hopeful co-dependant I guess. I still think back to how he made me feel and believe that he has it in him to be so wonderful. He isn’t anymore though, maybe moments. He is fantastic with my children when they are around, but to me he complains because he makes ridiculous rules for them to follow and of course they aren’t perfect. He really believes that he is. He can do anything better than anyone. He is convinced that if he isn’t here (we live together) that we are all disrepectful of his wishes; the lights, the dishes – there can be no dishes in the sink or the drainrack, the garage door – needs to be shut immediately after entering the house, no one can forget these things, oh and there is so much more! Everytime we “master” a rule, another rule is imposed, until I feel that there is just no possible pleasing this man. You would think that by listening to him we are the biggest pigs and the most inconsiderate bunch of people. My children are both at the top of their classes are extrememly respectful and I get compliments all the time on their behavior, so what he says is simply not true! However, I begin to doubt my worth, it is beyond hard listening to someone slam me and what I don’t do on a daily basis. Like most people he can be the sweetest and most loving person at times, but I am beginning to see the light and I think I am falling out of love with him. I want to be in a healthy relationship and don’t see the point about wasting my life feeling angry over minor things such as dishes and my in-ability to do what he wants when he wants it. I try, that is what I tell him. I try. And I also have found it best to simply agree with what he says since I do not like arguing, unfortunately this may only fuel him. I haven’t yet found a way to avoid being yelled at or criticised. I do my best to please him, nothing works. Confronting him is even worse. Thank you for the post, it is nice to feel that I am not crazy.


  12. Sue,

    Your “fiance” wants the universe to revolve around him. He imposes his views on you and your family to the point that you must disappear and become fused into him. You must lose your individuality to become him.

    What I just described was a close-minded person, a controller, manipulator, abuser (potentially)… an intolerant person. That’s childish and at best it is adolescent. He cannot respect your “No.” He disrespects your personal boundaries.

    I would say that unless he gets help and you see significant evidence that he has changed, you should drop this guy. He is not good for you. If you think there are no good guys out there that are healthy, then think again. It may be because you must get healthy and whole to attract a healthy guy. Ask yourself if your dysfunctions and desperation to be loved makes you take a controller like this guy. If so, then get your inner person fixed and stay away for a while from a serious relationship until you know that you are very healthy.

    Hope this helps.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  13. Dear Dr. Sam,

    Thank you for this article. In reading your article on narcissism, I can easily identify that my ex husband was a narcissist by every definition, as I had already suspected and learned through counseling. However, I am stuggling to determine whether my current boyfriend of 1 year may also be a narcissist or if it is some other dysfunction. He is 35 years old, never married and has lived at home with his mother his entire life. He tells me that the reason he has not left home is because his father died when he was 13 (over 20 years ago) and since then he has felt like he needs to “take care” of his mom. His mom is only 64 and has no physical limitations except that she doesnt drive becuase her eye sight is not great. She does treat him like a child in many ways though, always telling him what to do and making him feel bad for not doing this or that. His brother is a couple years older went to college and married and seems to be much more independent of his mom and doesnt have the “guilt” associated with leaving home. Also my BF seems to not have much motivation for becoming independent, moving out, being sucessful financially, etc. He is a very gererous caring person and seems to have a close relationship with God which is the thing I love about him the most. The reason I am questioning the narcisim is 1) becuase you mention that the person becomes “frozen in childhood” becuase of a trauma which I truly believe is the case 2) becuase I have a fear of falling for the same type of person, as seems to be the case in alot of people. He does get defensive if I say anything negative about his choice to remain at home with his mom, but he is open to talking about feelings usually, but does usually try to make it out to where I am wrong and he is right. He is also very jealous and we have had numerous arguments about me spending time with friends and “making him feel like he is not priority”.

    Do you think he might be a narcisit or is it something else going on related to his childhood trauma?

    Thanks!

  14. Cam,

    I think your boyfriend exhibits some traits of a narcissist. The question is whether he is skilled in covering up his selfishness under a veil of “generosity” and what might appear to be “caring.” This could be one of those false personas narcissists create and why so many folks are thrown into a loop wondering how could a “kind” person possibly be so selfish and controlling? I would have to observe him or hear more about him. One principle in his family dynamic is that he appears to be a shamed man and possibly “castrated” by his mother. Shamed people shame people. Think about that.

    He is a “Mommy’s boy” and that should send all the red lights turning on in your head. His mother pampers him but he probably has a love-hatred relationship with her. She takes care of him and loves to have him eternally her little boy to satisfy her motherly instincts and not be alone (maybe even making him a surrogate husband via emotional incest). In this process she emasculates (castrates) him. Thus he becomes a “wimp” with little or no ability or desire to take risks as a man. Why should he? His mother will be there. Ever hear the Pink Floyd song called “Mother?” I recommend you go and get it or download it and listen to it. It is a very scary song. I believe it describes accurately your boyfriend and his mother.

    I think at the very least your boyfriend has narcissistic traits probably from being pampered as a mommas’ boy and that he also has stuff from his childhood. Right now he has fear of leaving the comfortable amniotic sack (home) and go into the real world of responsibility as a man. Do you want that kind of husband and father for your future children? I think if you marry him, you might end up hating him for making you his next mother.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  15. Hi, I just wanted to thank you for your kind response to my entry above. I believe you have a great grasp of the dynamics of NPD I call it what it is Malignant narcissism. I think that you like others in the medical profession might be hesitant to address the ill will and intent to do harm that some of these people have or the evil as Dr Peck talked about. Thank you for also not telling me only a professional should diagnose a person with NPD. I see other people kind of guessing about relationships with people they believe might have NPD. I have 26 years in a relationship so I am qualified to diagnose my husband I lived it. Also those on the web telling people to only let a qualified person diagnose a person with NPD is rediculous. For one they are not very likely to be in a situation to get diagnosed. Also if they see a therapist or mental health professional who isn’t familiar or knowledgable they will manipulate lie and fool them and will remain undiagnosed. Narcissistic personality disorder is a very serious and severe condition and I do not think people should use for a fits all diagnose of any person you are having difficulties and has some of the traits. I hope you do some more articles becuase I think this problem is flying under the radar of national attention. Really the only info is on the internet. Thanks again.

  16. Hi…

    Thank you for your shares. My family history has many N’s, my ex, Father, Grandfather. My Mother sufferd from chronic depression and drug/alcohol addiction. I have a fear that I am N also, I saw a therapist she said I was not N, she said an N would never think they were N, she said I had a passive reactive personality, I asked her what that was she said it means that I do what other people want me to do. It’s funny I don’t see myself that way. I do have a tendency to run away from conflict, job hop, very shy around men, and keep to myself.

    In other words this dynamic is an attachment issue where a person’s love tank was not filled by their mother foremost (less involving the father).

    My question for Dr. Sam is in the above statement are you speaking of an attachment disorder? I took an online attachment test and it said I have a “secure” attachment, but I often wondered if that was correct, I get so frustrated with my Mom, and have always felt like I was a thorn in her side, my Dad mainly was cold, distant and absent. Is it possible to attach properly to a person with a personality disorder?

    Thanks…Lynn

  17. Catherine,

    That was a gracious response. Thank you for your kind words.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  18. Lynn,

    Your question is difficult to answer with precision without me knowing you.

    I would say we all have attachment issues in terms of degrees. I think that if you felt like you were a “thorn” to your mother and if you felt your father distant plus felt he was narcissistic then you may possibly have a higher level of attachment issue

    I cannot think of a mother supposedly with unconditional love thinking that her child is a thorn to her side. A father that is detached from his daughter creates a huge hunger to get that need met in another man typically.

    I think that a person can attach to another person with a personality disorder but that would look dysfunctional in some way and would have emotional issues and deficits, in my humble opinion.

    Hope this helps.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  19. I found this article and the various responses very interesting both personally and professionally. I am a practicing psychotherapist also (LPC and LMFT). Not many narcissists come in by themselves or willingly, but I will see them from time to time as part of a couple. As has been stated, they often come up with a reason to decide counseling isn’t helping them and that they don’t need to come back. Oftentimes, either eventually or from the beginning, I am working with the girlfriend/wife or something similar to that. This is often about helping that person see what they’re dealing with and face the reality that they will have to make changes if the partner is not willing to do their own work. There is a book out called “How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk.” One of the things in the definition of jerk is that person not being willing to take responsibility for their own actions or change patterns of behavior or relating that are destructive.

    I find it interesting that, with narcissism, as with so many other things, it all goes back to childhood trauma and attachment issues. These “emotional children” take their issues into adulthood and act and react based on them. So much of this is about avoiding closeness and feeling unsafe. My guess is that narcissism is just one of several responses someone can take on. Avoidant personalities are just another way of coping with the same initial trauma and so on. As one responder said, we can feel sad for that wounded child inside the person, catch glimpses of who/what they could be in unguarded moments, and feel compassion. At the same time, whatever the issue, if that person isn’t willing to own it and take responsibility and is doing things that are emotionally hurtful or physically harmful to others, limits have to be set. Sometimes, setting these limits is what forces the person to confront themselves. Other times, they’ll just move on to the next person they can suck dry and blame everyone else for their problems.

    I really like Susan Johnson’s work on adult attachments in romantic relationships. For people who truly want to experience safety in adult relationships, emotion focussed couples therapy can be a greatthing. She has written a book for couples called “Hold Me Tight” also. The individual has to be at a certain place of readiness, of course. I love the Cloude and Townsend books also. We all have to have a certain amount of concern for self and that is not a bad thing. Some of the respondents also are responsible for children so that it is not just about two adults.

    Good stuff but hard stuff.

  20. Carmella,

    Thank you for your many valuable insights. They are welcomed and quite helpful!

    Best regards,

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  21. Hi, My exhusband is Narcissist and I am Co-dependent. I lived for years thinking things were my fault but now that I am divorced an a friend of his girlfriend, she is seeing what I saw in him and now she is dealing with the lies for no reason and wondering if he is cheating on her. Now I am finding out that my daughter is the same way. Everything I give her is never good enough and then wants more. She is telling me everything is my fault and never satisfied with anything and wants me to feel sorry for her, for her self gain. I am so glad that I am aware of her behavior and also glad that I got out of the abusive marriage I was in, but now I just don’t know what to do with my 14 yr old daughter. I just don’t know how to handle her. Somedays she is fine but then she explodes into this person I can’t deal with. Help. Thanks

  22. Davena,

    Risking the possibility of missing things please consider the following concerning your daughter:

    1. She has some root cause event(s) that wounded her and maybe even violated her personal boundaries via disrespect for her input and voice making her feel a non-person and now she is speaking up or standing up for herself. She may have been shamed growing up. She may be angry for the breakup. I would try to find these type of things out. Maybe she feels neglected at an early age.

    2. Maybe she was over-pampered and acting like a “princess” with entitlements.

    3. Maybe she is very angry at her father for abandonment or abandoning you.

    In any event, when you see a child exploding in anger it shows either lack of boundaries in respecting others space or there is a deep, deep wound that needs to be found and healed.

    If she acts spoiled then you probably need to lay down strong lines with accountability and consequences of violating them. You may experience hell in the immediate but you must be the parent… not her. I would also make, if possible your ex-husband responsible to reign her in unless he is that bad of a narcissist that he even doesn’t care about his daughter much or does not back you up as a co-parent.

    Just some thoughts.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  23. My brother is sinking deep into his narcissism. At 33, he’s dating an anorexic teenager. He tells people that they might be married in 3 or 5 years, but there is no engagement forthcoming. He’s not talking to me, yet he has turned a whole church against me by saying that I’ve abandoned him. All I did was respond to his meanness and controlling behavior by drawing a boundary around myself and my children. I have grieved for months about what a liar he is. My dad gets mad at him for lies, but then kind of forgets about it. My sister was recently in town. She emailed my brother to call her. He never did. The last time he saw her was at our mother’s funeral, 4 years ago. We’re wondering what the excuse will be. It will be something like, “I didn’t get the email for weeks.” There is always confusion when dealing with him. Looking back, I realize that my brother doesn’t really care about anyone. He’s never been in love, not really. He smirks when we expressed concern for his safety. He really enjoys that people put him in the center. What really scares me is that he thinks he is God’s favorite. Women at the church buy him clothes and fawn all over him like he’s King David. My brother is a talented singer, but I’ve never seen women treat other single men this way. I think my brother emits a charisma, or neediness that makes people think he is very spiritual. He once argued with me for 9 hours straight to let him drive my car. He was hissing through his teeth. I don’t think he respects women at all. I’m older and have been married for 17 years. My husband is furious with my brother’s bad behavior. It’s been hard to let go of relationships in order to keep my sanity. It’s harder still to know that people think I’m mean because they think my brother is the greatest.

  24. Dee,

    It sounds like your brother has gotten used to getting away with “murder” figuratively. I am curious if he was raised with a lot of pampering and he developed his victim tricks and cuteness strategies then. If so, he is still using those strategies to get what he wants. Obviously, he does not give a dime about hurting others. He only cares about himself inside or outside the church. He has to be careful because dating a teen potentially exposes him to child abuse charges if he easily makes one single slip, especially if the girls parents prohibit her from dating. He can go to jail. It is very sick that he is dating an anorexic person. That is strange especially since he does not typically care about people. Maybe more is going on where he gets some sort of trade-off, perhaps looking like he cares.

    I would probably get with your pastor to explain the truth of what is going on with your brother so he can defend you to others in your congregation. If this is not possible and you have difficulty with being shamed in that church then go church shopping until you find a safer and healthier one. If the leadership of your church thinks he is a great person and can’t see his utter selfishness and manipulation then I would be concerned and wonder whether that is the church for you. What other things do they not see and excuse?

    I believe you and your husband have the right outlook. I probably would be more severe in my relationship with your brother if I were you. I probably would have nothing to do with him until he would apologize to you both.

    Hope this helps.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

    • I know it’s been several years, but thank you for your reply. My brother was indeed the pampered baby in our family. He also maneuvers himself into being the spiritual guru in his social situations, perhaps to control and deflect notice about his lack of empathy. If he can’t get that position of importance, he walks away. Anyway, he married his girlfriend in a grandiose ceremony that included a fog machine, a band, a choir, and light show. They dated for 3 years until she was not a teenager. Part of the draw is that she literally worships the ground he walks on and works herself to the bone for him. Her mom was totally on board from the beginning. When he announced his engagement on fb, he said “I am engaged” but didn’t say to who! In their pictures together, she is clinging to him and his arms are down and he’s not reciprocating. My relationship with him is still the same. He whines to everyone that I have abandoned him when he makes extra effort to avoid me (perhaps to keep up his elaborate story about me). My family and I have been happily at a new church these last few years. It’s sad for me still, to try to accept that my brother doesn’t have love in his heart. He truly is afflicted. He will use any opportunity to throw me or my plans under a bus, so I know he hasn’t changed a bit. Thankfully, it’s far and few between and our family has benefited from being away from the manipulation and drama. It hurts when I’m around town and people from our old church give us the cold shoulder, but I think the best defense is no defense sometimes. We are living our lives and know that we have value even though my brother desperately tried to devalue me.

  25. Dr Sam,
    WOW! Thank you! What a clarifying light your article directs on the subject of the Extreme Narcissist. I’ve read all the posts following your article and have found an enormous, emotional, personal liberation that’s contained in your advice as well as the illuminating comments of the posts.

    In my experience with this subject this summer I had a complete falling out with a close, female friend at work. At first I thought that it would blow over and soon realized there was something seriously emotionally wrong with her. I knew she came from great dysfunction but still didn’t appear damaged. WRONG! she just managed to cover it well. Her deep seated issues have stunted her emotionally and kept her there at the about the same time line as her original trauma.

    I was baffled at our falling out at first, she didn’t respond to my emails, texts, letter, or even my direct apology. A cold, stony, silence settled over what once seemed like a warm, mutually agreeable, friendship (there was no physical intimacy). However we did share a closeness that I thought meant a great deal to her. Apparently not, I was used, then discarded and dismissed. This chasm occurred in June of this year and she still has not responded to any of the gestures I presented. So even though I wanted to resolve this issue, realizing it couldn’t be fixed (she wouldn’t allow herself because of her low self-worth and even lower self-esteem), I left with my dignity since her silence sent a very clear message. I’ve ceased all communication with her. Although I have thought about printing your article and putting it on her desk or mailing it to her anonymously since I do want to prick her conscience about a behavioral pattern that I now realize she has repeated with others in her life over and over for years.

    I have broken my addiction to her by realizing that while she is a physically beautiful woman and can appear very charming and extroverted, at her core in her present condition she is really a wounded child in a woman body. She is a taker and has what appears to be absolutely zero empathy towards the feelings of others. From your description of the N, I now realize we were in a toxic relationship and breaking all communication with her was the best approach for me. We still work in the same building and when I have to go by her work area she can’t look at me her eyes just flutter I think out of embarrassment. She knows in her heart of hearts I was one of the best friends she’s ever had but her pride and self absorption prevent her from seeing anything else. In those instances when our paths do cross she can’t face me and will turn around to avoid me, more examples of her childish mentality.

    Originally I was furious with her now I pity her and am disappointed that the great times together we shared are now just memories. When the situation first surfaced I immediately went to work on myself to try and neutralize the ambiguity of her actions and I’m thrilled I didn’t just stuff my feelings and walk around in a daze wondering about the “WHY?” of what she had done to me. In my estimation if our friendship was as one-sided as it’s turned out to be then she never really was a friend just a user and a taker. I hope she does eventually encounter a situation that rocks her to her core (but not out of spite) and then perhaps at that point she can begin real healing. Till then she’s still just looking in the mirror and just fooling herself that she’s “all that” as a sad, weak, little defense.

  26. I want to add to Cam’s comment from 10/1 because it sounds exactly like my son’s dad. He left me when I was 3 mths pregnant and refused to acknowledge the birth and now blames me for getting pregnant (I am now happily married). Now 5 years later I wanted to make some simple chnages and it has become it all out war with my character being torn to shreds by lie after lie after lie. He also lives with his mother who is a psychotherapist and pastor and basically feeds his supply.

    I have realized that I need to not engage him but it is hard. My poor little son is exposed to this. When we go to the court mandated counseling he lies to the doctor, and we cant really say anything about the other person, it is more about learning to communicate. Hopefully she sees thru it.

    How do you co parent with someone who is constantly lying, twisting things around and basically doesn’t have a heart? Who makes it all about them and that you are lesser of a person than they are- they are more important, do more at work are busier, etc etc

    The courts and lawyers have not really seen thru it yet.

    He has had trauma- dad dying when he was 11, losing a job, he is now successful, brother dying in front of his mom and him in a bad accident a few years ago, that brother was a drug addict, lives with a sister who is was/is an addict/alcoholic and God know what else. They have all been diagnosed with at least one mental illness, if you want to call it that.

    He will of course not admit to anything because he says I am the one who is trying to control. He blames others for eveything, and gets mad when you hold him accountable for soemthing he said he would do. He will use charm and humor to con his way out of things and basically you really do not know how to deal with him because you do not really know how he will be?? I really think he is one tragedy away from cracking ut he may in reality get worse!

    HELP!

  27. Dean,

    In return, “Wow!” to you!

    I was impressed with your insight and your ability to act correctly when dealing with the narcissist that has meant so much to you. That is not easy.

    I would encourage you to consider a career as a professional counselor or psychologist. :)

    Thank you for your valuable input.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  28. LS,

    Here are some ideas. Get your lawyer to convince the judge to have both of your do the NPI (Narcissistic Personality Inventory) and maybe the MMPI. With the results, assuming you score low on the NPI, you also submit my article and any other ones you want (you can research this). Personally, I would not give your son’s father much time with him, especially to poison him. You can request that his time with your son has to be supervised and maybe with you present there. That would be the best. That way you can monitor if he is trashing you to your son.

    Here is some documentation to help you:

    On validity of the NPI here is a journal article:
    http://www.columbia.edu/~da358/npi16/raskin.pdf

    From http://www.narcissistblog.com/2007/08/narcissistic-personality-inventory-npi.html

    The Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) is the most common psychological test used to diagnose narcissism in patients. According to recent research, NPI scores are higher today than in past generations. The original NPI was based on the DSM-III (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and consisted of a forty item checklist of symptoms. Over the years however, many psychologist have found that only a few symptoms are regularly found in narcissism patients. The NPI is flawed in that it only measures normal to moderate narcissism and diagnosis for the severe narcissism is often overlooked. While research has uncovered more accurate measures of diagnosis; the psychiatric profession will often times use the NPI for final diagnosis.

    The number of factors used to diagnose have drastically changed from forty to around three or four reported factors. This means that the NPI is only detecting a few reoccurring factors of narcissism. The NPI has resulted in psychologists being able to conclude the potential actions of a narcissist.

    According to reoccurring NPI results, researchers have found that narcissists are more likely to play games in a relationship, including mind games, cheating and other devious acts and they will value themselves over others. They also value material possessions and are obsessed with their own image.

    Just some thoughts.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  29. Dr. Sam, Thanks for sharing your work and the kind responses to others. In trying to self diagnose my actions it seems NPD hits a lot of nailheads! I know everyone can’t fit in the same box but have you found other patients that fully REALIZE their lack self esteem and insecurity? The arrogance, defensiveness, and other symptoms are real clues, and looking back on past relationships with lovers, friends and family seem to support the dx, but I also noted many readers indicate the self centeredness of their significant others. Have other patients gone to the other extremes trying to prove love or is it only to compensate for their own insecurity? Lastly, I read that some meds prescribed for certain symptoms will actually aggrevate NPD. Does this match your expirience? Thanks

  30. Dr. Grohol said,

    Dr. Sam, Thanks for sharing your work and the kind responses to others. In trying to self diagnose my actions it seems NPD hits a lot of nail-heads!

    You are welcomed! It takes a lot of maturity and healthy humility to see our own needs.

    Have you found other patients that fully REALIZE their lack self esteem and insecurity?

    In the context of the article I have had many patients who lack self-esteem. These can come as one of two kinds:

    1. Caregiver types who grovel, beg, and serve at their expense to get a little bit of love back from an extreme narcissist

    2. The extreme narcissist who also lacks self-esteem and is insecure but takes advantage of the caregiver.

    The arrogance, defensiveness, and other symptoms are real clues, and looking back on past relationships with lovers, friends and family seem to support the diagnosis, but I also noted many readers indicate the self centeredness of their significant others.

    Have other patients gone to the other extremes trying to prove love or is it only to compensate for their own insecurity?

    I have found both situations you describe. Some have tried to prove their love in wacky ways such as join the narcissist in his pot-smoking or cocaine habit. These types are so insecure and fragile that they can be controlled by the narcissist. Keep in mind that an experienced extreme narcissist knows how to depersonalize and strip their mate of their dignity until there is only a shell of a person left. That person becomes an extension of the will and personality of the narcissist. Some of the folks commenting on the article tell how this depersonalizing has gone on (usually through shaming and abusive treatment). The extreme narcissist is quite insecure and therefore has to control others and their environments lest his real internal, fragile, and wounded child is discovered as vulnerable. That child is deathly afraid of perceived danger, hence the fake personas.

    Lastly, I read that some meds prescribed for certain symptoms will actually aggravate NPD. Does this match your experience?

    On this question I defer to my good friend Albert Ray, M.D., psychiatrist and former director of the National Pain Society. His response to your question:

    The drug wouldn’t have a direct effect on a personality disorder. However, if the person gets any side effects, i.e., agitation, nervousness, etc., then their way to deal with it would be through a flair of their narcissistic characteristics. So it might appear to make their personality worse, but in effect, it is the personality qualities being used to deal with negative drug reactions.

    Hope this helped.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  31. Dr. Sam

    Am I dealing with a Narcissist. Second marriage for him – he left her a few times , had another baby when he went back and left permanently when the second child was an infant. He was 27. WE got together, lived together 4 yrs and then married. So 18 yrs married -22 altogether for us. He cheated on me the first time with a married neighbor next door. That was ongoing for a few yrs before discovered. He would never sell our home so we have stayed here all this time.
    Second affair was 2003 AND I found out 2005 when she called me. This person was promised a lot of stuff by him and he lied to her about a lot. Told her he was leaving – well he did leave after I found out he never ended this affair. Gone 6 months and came back to work things out. Now in April of 2008 he left again and I find out he is back with the neighbor next door – we have 2 children and they are extremely hurt, confused and angry over his behaviors.

    ALSO, He has hidden money he has made in his own business and made investments in his name only. I work and make a decent salary so my income made it easier for him to do this.

    ALSO, he bought ahouse around the corner and never finished building the new one in 5 years -now he is living in it even thoiugh he promised it ti our family. Originally, he told everyone but me it was for him so he could leave. But he presented it to me and the kids as our new start.

    Broken promises of all kinds…he bought a shore house two and promised the kids we would enjoy it on the weekends-he hardly ever showed up.

    He tried to join a notorious motorcycle gang

    Lies about everything…even when it doesn’t matter or is a big deal

    ALWAYS LATE FOR EVERYTHING

    Doesn’t seem to understand our feelings…gets a blank look or tells us we shouldn’t feel that way

    Uses others to get what he wants

    Fantasizes abnout being rich

    Has his own busibess , is building another one but we are in DEBT like crazy. I ran credit reports when he left -obviously his success is built on debt he never wanted me to know about.

    He has used friends for money and I am afraid they will get hurt

    He has hardly any relationship with his mother -really can’t stand her

    He likes to show off his stuff to others

    He is 50 acting like a teenager

    Has vision this neighbor is his IDEAL love
    Sex was good but like a performance – no tenderness – NO KISSING!!!

    So – is he a Narcissist? Will he do the same to her?

    I was a good wife and mother but it was like I could never get inside him _ yet I loved him – the little injured boy that he seemed to be – I was out to prove he was worthy and so was I – but now it is like I am dead.

    I also believe he never stopped contact with her for the last 10 years and that he made sure she would be available when he left in April and filed for divorce. Isn’t it unusual for them to leave???

    MY HEART IS BROKEN and my children……

  32. Thanks to all for your time and responses. I would suspect it takes some type of life crisis to cause a EN to delve into self analysis deeply enough to recognize these character flaws. I know that’s how it worked for me. I was researching social anxiety and depression when I stumbled onto this dx which seems to address many of my issues. Am I correct in thinking there can be overlay of other symtoms or conditions on top of EN? From Dr Ray’s response maybe these can be treated independently? A complete cure would be great but even learning to be one of those fake “nice guy” EN’s beats being the “jerk” kind! Thanks again, j

  33. Tess,

    I read your story. It is full of heartbreak. I see a couple of general things:

    1) Your husband is an extreme narcissist and acts like a 14 year adolescent full of hormones with little discipline in his life. He only cares about himself. You are a convenience to him that he uses to rescue him. You serve as the grounding part of his life but at your expense and that of the children.

    2) You are co-dependent on him. You must get healthy or he will destroy you. Join a good group of Codependents Anonymous. Look them up on the web for closest meeting to you. Get competent psychotherapy to heal your emotional deficits that drive you back to him. Obtain a healthy grid to process relationships so that it will protect you and filter out future narcissists. This way you won’t repeat your mistakes again with Part II. Lastly, get yourself a wonderful bulldog divorce lawyer, preferably a woman who understands you. This way you bring him to his knees and force him to stop abusing you. He must pay for his abuse on you and your children. Have him court ordered to pay for good therapy for your children. Your lawyer can get that done. If he forces you to get a psychological evaluation by judge then insist he get it also and include the Narcissistic Personality Inventory to expose his total selfishness and pathology to the judge. Force him to pay you back and more or else he goes to jail. Maybe he’ll grow up then.

    Just my two cents based on my experience with situations like this.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  34. Dr. John asked:

    Am I correct in thinking there can be overlay of other symptoms or conditions on top of EN? From Dr Ray’s response maybe these can be treated independently? A complete cure would be great but even learning to be one of those fake “nice guy” EN’s beats being the “jerk” kind!

    I do believe that there can be overlays of other symptoms/conditions on top of a person being an extreme narcissist. Extreme narcissists can be complex because underneath that mask is a whole series of hurts that caused that person to go “underground” and hide. Issues can vary such as childhood neglect, parentification, emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. The list can go farther. Obviously, extreme narcissists have attachment issues that do not permit them to bond in healthy ways. Part of the problem is that they distrust all human beings that try to get “inside” them. They are threatened but such efforts. They devalue people around them and use them.

    I also agree with you that if the choice is between a “nice” narcissist versus the “jerk” kind then the first is better.

    Thank you for your valuable comments, Dr. John!

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  35. Hi Dr. Sam, you said:

    Thank you for your valuable comments, Dr. John!

    Just in case you weren’t joking, I am not a doctor, just a “know-it-all” who’s never wrong about anything lol. I do have one pt. though and I need to get him in shape pretty quickly.

    While doing a self inventory to deal with a life change “Dr. John” dx., social anxiety, probably general too; mild to moderate depression, probaly both general as well as situational.

    It was during researching these that I learned there was a thing called Narcissistic Personality which seems to explain a lot. The problem is these traits have been honed over so many years it will take too long to undo (if possible) or learn the coping skills needed hence my questions regarding drug therapy for some of the symptoms. Kind of a “fake it till you make it” patch.

    I guess you know you are being “used” but I do (really!) appreciate your sharing your time and knowledge. Thanks again for caring about all of us! j

  36. John,

    You said,

    “It was during researching these that I learned there was a thing called Narcissistic Personality which seems to explain a lot. The problem is these traits have been honed over so many years it will take too long to undo (if possible) or learn the coping skills needed hence my questions regarding drug therapy for some of the symptoms. Kind of a “fake it till you make it” patch.”

    If you use typical psychotherapy then undoing narcissistic traits will take VERY long. When I treat a narcissist that is honestly seeking healthy change in his life I can see change at a much faster pace. This is because of the type of treatment model I use. I have a model that believes that many beliefs, behaviors, negative emotions, phobias, compulsions, obsessions often have a starting point where they are imprinted to our neurological system. Finding this place and treating the memory with any tested reframing techniques quickly dissolves the issue. Since extreme narcissists typically have at least one major wound in their past that caused them to go “underground” then healing that wound will free them to come up to “level” ground.

    This is the best I can put it for now without writing a novel. :)

    Also, remember that medication, particularly psychotropic medication, typically does not cure anything. It just controls the issue and sometimes helps you to manage it. Other times, it can cause exacerbation of symptoms or add more symptoms.

    Best regards,

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  37. Dr Sam,
    Thank you so much for your reply. Is there any chance that a divorce and all that goes with it will have any effect on him seeking help? It is in the courts as we speak and he seems so confident this is what he wants. That this old relationship is his answer.

    Also, my 15 yr old daughter has now been ignoring him because of his behaviors over the years – and especially now with his affair in all of our faces. She rides the school bus and sees the girlfriends van at his house. She is in counseling but at this time does not visit and barely speaks to him. He goes to the bus stop to see her but that is even rejected by her. He feels that as long as he doesn’t try to put them in HER direct company it is OK. But we all have to look at her right in our back yard.
    My son , on the other hand, while he is hurt and angry , does choose to go for overnight visitation. He is very torn by his conflicting feelings and he is only 10. ANd now his father seeks him out to an extreme and I am worried about his influence on my son.
    And how does this make my daughter feel that her father chases her brother like crazy and cannot sit and face her and try to heal their relationship?

    Am I asking for the impossible? Since narcissists can’t be intimate , what does this do to their relationships with their children?The kids have commented the last few years as they have gotten older how selfish he is and only into what he wants.

    I have explained to my 15 yr old some of what his issue is – but my son is too young.

    It seems I can’t do anything to PROTECT my children’s emotional well -being -except for loving them, encouraging and they are in counseling.

    I am also worried about HOW MUCH visitation the court will give him -permanently.

    He says he wants to co-parent the children with a split week visitation. This is my worst fear. He was never involved before -honestly he never spent even 5 weekends a year at home with the kids. Rarely picked them up at school. Didn’t go to Dr visits. So why now???? Now he has become INTRUSIVE.
    I could NEVER depend on him before and I am certainly not going to now.

  38. Dr Sam, Thanks for your response. I tried to be patient since we EN’s can try and dominate any situation. When you get kicked out of an Assertiveness Training Class for being too assertive you know you have problems lol.

    Your tx modality makes perfect sense to me. I have always felt my social problems were the result of defensive reactions to insecurity and self esteem issues rooted in childhood but with many more years behind me than I have left:

    I wonder if any of the SSRI’s would at least mask enough of the sx of the self esteem isssues to allow conscious reactions to “perseived” threats over purely emotional responses ie: defensiveness/arrogance/etc. I can easily see them possibly exacerbating the situation too but wondered if it was worth a try?

    One thing I would offer for your book ;-) (and to some of the victims in your audience) is that some EN’s do have a conscience and feel true guilt everyday for the pain we have caused others. Thanks again for your help, I wish your practice was closer. J

  39. Dr. Sam,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my question. You wrote:

    I think that a person can attach to another person with a personality disorder but that would look dysfunctional in some way and would have emotional issues and deficits, in my humble opinion.

    You got that right…..My Mom is pleased when I am compliant…displeased when I am assertive….As I work toward greater assertivness is feels strange, like I am being mean, but with time I know it will get better and feel more normal….Thank you again, Lynn

  40. Dr. Sam…

    I just wanted to say I find such comfort in re-reading your article over and over again, each time I absord it more, you wrote:

    At the core of extreme narcissism is egotistical preoccupation with self, personal preferences, aspirations, needs, success, and how he/she is perceived by others.

    I am slowly discovering that being raised by this personality type has twisted my thinking in such a way that I think I am suppose to always please others, it’s like blinking to me. What I have noticed with myself is that if/when I fail pleasing I feel hatred toward myself, I was raised to beleive my job was to serve others not myself. I was raised by selfish people and it turned me into a selfless person, I do not like it, is sucks and keeps me in no where land. Thank you, Lynn

  41. I am a reforming N. My original hurt inflicted over a long period by mother and uncle. cannot receive or give love. distrustful of others. miserable. was bullied for looking different. also co-dep. my opinion is that there is no hope except in eternity where God can use time to His/Our advantage.

  42. Perry,

    I came to this sight because of this same issue.

    My parents have both been self loving narsisitic for as long as I knew them.
    I grew up trying to make my “father” happy and always hurting because I realized that I was practically the only person in the whole world that he seemed to hate. He was charming in public and was very good with other people’s children, but not me and my brother.
    To top it all off I was always bullied in school and even mistreated by teachers, so I consequently developed health problems by the age of eight. I wasn’t even ugly so what was the problem(?)….I thought.

    He especially took his anger out on me, the oldest who was expected to clean all the time.

    Well, he ran around on my mother with other woman and had a child by one.Opening her wounds of her childhood molestation even more.

    As an adult, I noticed she turned on me when I got married and b/c a vicious liar and slanderer and isolated me from my siblings. The only friends I really had.

    I moved far away from them and have been ignoring them, trying to live a normal Christian life, they hated that decision.
    Begging me not to move further

    They began spreading rumors about my husband and me and stalking us to get our attention. When he was finally talked to by us, he began quoting scriptures and calling my husband names. This has happened many times over since I’ve been married.

    This made me so angry I began yelling and shaking, I also began to have flashbacks, which I have never had before.
    I began to cry for the first time about how truly wicked and evil they are. I told them that I have officially cut off all ties with them and to never expect to see their grandchildren in this lifetime.

    It has taken many, many years for me to come to this point.

    To top it all off, they are ministers of a Baptist church.

    I woke up at night angry, wanting revenge and not being able to get sleep, which is what led me here.

    I decided to get on my knees often and ask God help me surrender the pain and unforgiveness. The key word is OFTEN. I need to stay in the perfection of God’s presence in order to heal.

    I know that both my parents have been deeply wounded, but as a mother I can’t relate to frequent (seldom maybe, and I dont like those either) blows, daily to my children.

    My “Parents” can’t see the truth and are blinded and quite frankly…..just plain stupid.

    I pray for their souls.

    Lihn E.

    p.s. I even changed my name. From a boys name to a girls since this drama.

  43. Lynn,

    By the way that’s my legal name. I have decided to change the spelling of the first and completely change my middle name b/c my selfish mother named me(A GIRL) Lynn Charles, after my father…. even her family begged her not to do it and she even used the name for my brother 11 years later.

    You may have to just get mean with your mother b/c she just won’t get the picture other wise. I can’t believe how tolerant I was for over 18 years with mine and got N-O-W-W-H-E-R-E. It’s a waste of time to reason with a narcissist, I personally believe that they are driven by and evil force that they lose control of at some point.

    Being mean is really being firm, but please keep your cool. Years of pinned up anger rolling out at once is not good for your health or your spirit.

    Lihn

  44. Lihn,

    I recommend the book, People of the Lie by Dr. Scott Peck. He shares how houses of worship can attract people who are sick because they can hide behind all the God-talk and still do their dysfunction.

    My background was ministerial before I went into professional psychotherapy. I know first hand how folks can join a church/temple and cover their evil and/or sickness with many nice sounding words of spirituality. In my opinion, these can be some of the sickest. I have known narcissistic leaders who are abusive towards their spouses, children, and congregants. When I have dared to confront some of these, they cut me off. That is in keeping with what I wrote. Some have endeavored to discredit me in order to prop themselves up as “righteous.” I know that game and won’t play it.

    What you did in having healthy boundaries is very good. Narcissists hate you getting healthy and implementing good boundaries. This is because they no longer can control you and use you to prop their large ego. In some cases, when your parents are narcissists you have to go to extremes like you have. In the end, you get to be healthy though at a loss of not having your parents around you and your children… but remember they are sick parents. It is better to start off a new generation of healthy people even if you get lonely and have to create your own family traditions, rituals, and future. That’s the cost of breaking multigenerational dysfunctions. These almost seem like curses that condemn members to the same old sick behavior and thinking. What is better? To be well connected, staying sick or disconnect from infectious dysfunctional behavior? In starting a new generation of changed, positive, healthy parents you are insuring that your descendants have that embedded pattern in front of them. This gives them a foundation to have successful lives and families.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  45. Thanks Dr.Samuel,

    The children where the one’s that I protected their image for.

    When my children wittnessed them stalking us they no longer wanted anything to do with them.

    They are so sick they even persued continuing a relationship with their other son in law who visited nude bars and was a drugs but had a successful carreer.

    When my sister tried to leave the marriage, they coached her into going back and staying (b/c he had a nice home)

    We have been married for years and have been faithfull to each other and never ever got this treatment.

    My poor siblings are to afraid to contact me and their eight out of only nine nieces and newphews in the “family”
    Wack job pastors

    Thanks again

    Lihn

  46. Dr Sam,

    Can you read back, please, and offer any answer to my letter of October 25th, 2008.

    I have been looking to your answer each day.

    Thanks so much and God Bless all who deal with this problem!!!

  47. Tess,

    I read again your response of Oct. 25, 2008.

    As for your husband getting help and he responding to it correctly as a result of the divorce and proceeding I can only say no one knows. My experience is that it takes a pretty dramatic shock in the life of an extreme narcissist to start on the road to recovery/healing. My guess is that your husband doesn’t get it and probably won’t get it even with divorce pain.

    As for your daughter feeling bad in light of her father taking interest in her brother… sure that will create a wound.

    Your options are:

    1. Have your children see the most competent (by word of mouth) psychotherapists/psychologists. If they are not helping after a while, then change them until you get a real good one. I would recommend one that knows well how to treat trauma and quickly help the person reframe and neutralize it.

    2. Limit the access they have to your husband if possible by court order.

    3. Love them deeply and don’t parentify them (see my other article here:

    Harming Your Child by Making Him Your Parent

    Hope this helps.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
    http://www.DrSam.tv

  48. Tess,

    I feel for your daughter b/c this is what I’ve gone through and still have many, many years later concerning my “father”

    Often your daughter will feel as though she’s the only one going through this. Especially, looking at father daughter images that are everywhere including the media.

    Pray that your daughter will realize that she’s not the only one going through this. While this may not make her feel better at least she will know that she’s not alone.

    I don’t think that evil parents really get it, until something trumatic happens to them, thus causing them to wake up. And even the child just simply looses interest after a while. Just like Dr.Sam said something drastic usually wakes up a narcissist.

    Unfortunately by then it’s sometimes too late.

    God is not sleep and the whole while he is working on your daughter and picking her out for a special reason to be someone He has elevated for His purpose, there is no telling what lesson your poor husband will have waiting for him down the road. Believe me, somethin’s waiting to wake hime up.

    Psalms37

    Lihn

  49. I come from a bad childhood. I am a codependent love addict and have been in 3 relationships with men, all being narcissists. The first was for 7 yrs, he wasn’t as bad as the following two. The second one turned out to be a psychopath, felon, and registered sex offender. I have had to get a restraining order against him for stalking me. And the most recent is the cop who ‘rescued’ me from the stalker. What he put me through, although it was the shortest relationship, was the most painful experience yet.

    Being a love addict, I always fantasized about this ‘hero’ who would rescue me. The cop fit the bill. He swooped in and told me everything I ever wanted to hear: “I’ve spent my whole life looking for you,” “I can’t believe you like me,” “I’m not gonna do anything to screw this up,” “I’m gonna show you that good men exist,” “I’m not gonna hurt you,” “I haven’t felt like this since high school,” etc… As soon as we became physically intimate, his walls came up and his fear of intimacy took over. He shut me out and no matter how hard I tried (and being a codependent love addict, believe me I TRIED) he would not let me back in. He has lied to me so many times I’ve lost count (“I’m gonna call you,” “I’m gonna read that book, I promise” (the book I gave him about being emotionally unavailable), “I’m gonna reply to that email you sent me,” “We’re gonna spend the weekend together,” “I’m not gonna go back to that [Russian Mail Order Bride] website,” (he also turned out to be a sex addict), “I didn’t go back on that website” (when it clearly shows his ‘last login date’) etc.

    He demonstrates everything you mentioned. He is 53 years old yet acts like a child complete with temper tantrums. Anytime I attempt to have a heart to heart with him, a normal adult conversation that adults in relationships would have, he will RUN. He’ll hang up on me, drive off, leave me outside and go in the house and slam the door on me, etc. If I corner him inside the house, where there is no escape, and gently try to have a conversation that involves feelings, then he will act like a trapped animal. He becomes verbally abusive, yells at me, distracts himself by cleaning, rearranging household items, attempting to change the subject, tries to kick me out of the house, etc. At no point do I raise my voice or anything. This is his reaction to a normal everyday question concerning our “relationship”.

    He has isolated himself for many years. I was his first relationship in 6 yrs. He’s described his prior 2 relationships which he behaved the exact same way in. But he does not want to accept his faults and it’s all about HIM HIM HIM. He will start yelling about all the things that have happened to him, listing things he feels victimized over (nothing to do with us). He repeats this again and again to me every time I try to talk to him. It has nothing to do with what I’m talking about.

    Last time I saw him, 2 weeks ago, I was crying on his porch (after he refused to come to the door while I was out there for an hour, after I drove an hour to see him). When he finally came out, he began yelling at me with his list of HIS problems again. He yelled for 10-15 min, then told me to “have a safe trip” and left me outside crying while he went inside to bed. I hadn’t said one single word the entire time.

    This has been the most painful situation I’ve ever gone through. After trying to figure out what makes this one so much more painful, I’ve come to the conclusion that it was the ‘hero’ factor. I wanted so bad to bring out the him I saw in the beginning, the guy who would bring me flowers all the time and tell me the sweetest things I’ve ever heard and was so kind and sensitive. I have tried everything to help him. I’ve spent the past 4 months reading everything I could about codependency, love addicts/avoidants, fear of intimacy, emotional unavailability, etc. I buy one book after another and read every day. He clearly is too consumed w/ feeling sorry for himself (for the irresponsible decisions he’s made which have lead to predictably bad outcomes) and has no desire to change. He won’t even open the books I’ve bought him that could help him see the light. I do fear that he will be one of those who die lonely, as you’ve said. I feel sorry for him but I’ve had to walk away. (…And he hasn’t even attempted to get in touch with me since the crying on the porch incident.)

  50. Also, I appear to have a lot in common with Dean above. My emails, calls, and text messages were ignored by the cop. He would even delete them without reading. (I thought about sending him this article but am pretty certain he wouldn’t read it.) He has plenty of excuses for it all, “was busy”, “phone was broken,” “lost phone,” “phone was upstairs while I was downstairs,” etc (he has 2 cell phones and a home phone by the way). His excuses never end. And they are so childish and unbelievable that I’m amazed he could expect anyone to believe such nonsense.

    He doesn’t even THINK about the consequences that his actions will have on someone. It doesn’t even occur to him that by him telling me he wanted to marry me and was in love with me and all, and then going from that to completely ignoring me literally overnight like the flip of a switch, would cause me trauma. All he thinks about is himself.

    And also, like Dean above, I work in the same building with the cop and see him all the time which makes breaking the addiction to him extra difficult.

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