Sleeping Mills During Lockdown

old buildings with deserted roads

Night Time During Lockdown

Old hosiery mills lie still during lockdown.

Loughborough UK

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Covert Narcissists: A Summary of Their Traits, Behaviours & Values & How To Escape

Beware! Covert Narcissists Bring Destruction

In the previous 4 posts, we examined the traits, values & behaviours of covert narcissists so that we can begin to identify whether our own life is being impacted by their malignant & destructive activities.

PART 1 Covert Narcissism: (1) Why Their Web is SO HARD to Escape From introduced some terminology commonly used in this subject to describe individuals, traits & behaviours, along with some background on the narcissistic types & how to spot them …

PART 2 Covert Narcissism: (2) What Others See & What You REALLY Get started to look more closely at the behaviours & values that flag-up that all is not well …

PART 3 Covert Narcissism: (3) Starting to Break Free From Their Web continued to look at traits & behaviours but also started to examine how to take action & begin to find a way out of the narcissist’s web …

PART 4 Covert Narcissism: (4) Escaping Alcatraz looked at an actual Case History that illustrates what was discussed in Parts 1 to 3 & the important lessons which equip us with tools to escape …

We saw how trying to reason or negotiate with a covert narc is pointless & produces no benefits for us. They will only pursue what they want, when they want it & how they want it. Negotiation always leaves the victim worse off than before.

How our relationship with the covert narc, especially if it has been long-term & intimate, such as marriage, will be highly negative, rob us of confidence, self-esteem, self-worth & knowing who we are.

We looked at how narcs have many barbed hooks in you & your soul, how they use lies, deceit, procrastination & diversion, isolation & former mutual friends to do their dirty work & achieve their aims. Beneath the confident, calm, unruffled exterior they are self-loathing cowards who have chosen their path in life & who will stop at NOTHING to get what they need: SUPPLY! Input from others (or one specific other) to bolster-up their fragile ego & image.

We learned that what you experience as the victim, will be the complete opposite of what the covert narc portrays to the world outside. To you they are Hell on earth; to others they are paragons of virtue, victims of deranged partners, those who try their best but are continually misunderstood: butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth.

One thing is certain: they will NEVER accept responsibility for their actions (usually denying they ever took place or were someone else’s fault), they will never admit to doing anything wrong, never be accountable (even when they are presented with the evidence) & will continue in well-established patterns of behaviour, seen across all narcissists, except they will be far more sneaky (covert) about it.

Escaping from the relationship is costly, drawn-out, painful, energy-sapping: an experience we never thought could be so difficult. For this we NEED support & back-up from reliable & trustworthy friends AND from people who have been through similar things themselves. It is rarely something we can do alone.

Although covert narcs are much more devious & emotionally destructive, their inner rage should never be underestimated! If they do lose it, they are capable of violence resulting in injury & even death.

In the UK, accessing help & support from frontline workers like police officers is much more difficult, partly through over-stretched resources but also through poor understanding of what is now a Criminal Offence under UK Law: Emotional Abuse. Sadly, something physical usually needs to happen or the victim needs to feel in danger (which they already do much of the time) before they are taken seriously, at which point it is often too late!

Covert narcissists use the unseen: their actions, lack of actions, words, secrecy, subliminal provocation, destruction of your self-confidence & knowledge of who you are to press-home their plans for POWER & CONTROL. They may not leave physical bruises or scars, but they leave emotional scars & debris that may never be healed over a lifetime.

We have not discussed how to completely break ties & stay free as that is beyond the scope my aims for this set of posts, which was to put it on the agenda that something may be wrong & may need action. However, the following web sites are excellent sources of help & advice from those who either specialise in treating narcissists or those who have experienced being on the receiving-end of a narcissistic relationship & have managed to escape:

survivingnarcissism.tv  – Great resource with videos, chat & contacts.

facebook.com/PegStreepauthor – Peg is a survivor, psychologist & author. Great insight.

meganholgate.com – Help & advice from a survivor of narcissism

I always love to hear feedback but please seek help & advice from those who know. These online resources are a great start.

Take care until next time …

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Covert Narcissism: (4) Escaping Alcatraz

inside alcatraz prison showing cells & spiral staircase

Escaping from a Covert Narcissist Can Be Harder Than Escaping from Alcatraz

In Part 1 we looked at terminology & background to narcissism
In Part 2 we started to look at traits & behaviours of covert narcissists
In Part 3 we examined narcissistic patterns, behaviours & starting to break free

In this final page of a 4-part blog post we will look at ways to break free from the clutches of a covert narcissist.

I cannot stress highly enough the importance of help & support through the process of disentangling yourself from the narcissist’s web & finally breaking free.

Having watched my friend suffer such injustices & rejection at the expense & behest of a pathological liar has been one of the most difficult experiences of my life. Seeing the depths to which narcissists will plunge has been both enlightening & scary.

BUT escape can & does happen: the many blogs & books on the subject are testament to that. Below is an account, based upon my friend’s ongoing struggle with her narcissist husband. I have highlighted important take-away messages in red italics. This example does not include children. Cases that do can be more convoluted & require specialist legal advice & support.

IF YOU ARE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP & AT ANY TIME FEAR FOR YOURSELF OR OTHERS IN THE HOUSE, GET OUT FIRST & CALL THE AUTHORITIES. I HOPE THEY ARE MORE CLUED-UP THAN MANY APPEAR TO BE & UNDERTAKE THEIR DUTY OF CARE TO PROTECT YOU,

 

CASE HISTORY

My friend was married to her covert narcissist for 17-years (their relationship had been longer) before she decided that enough was enough & took the step to commence divorce proceedings. AT THAT POINT what was hidden became visible & the onslaught of covert harassment, lies, deceit & secrecy escalated to previously unimagined levels!

Read the brief history below & see if you notice any of the traits & patterns we have discussed so far.

Brief History

Relationship Events Overview

Her husband (narcissist) had been previously married & had two daughters. He was very close to the youngest. She was an attempt to save his previous marriage. He failed to use any kind of discipline with her, saying on one occasion, “My daughter can do whatever she likes!”

At the outset of their marriage he promised to take care of their affairs & he did a very good job. All bills were paid by him, usually in his name. The fact that all major income & most of their joint money was in his accounts did not seem strange to my friend because, she trusted her husband. If he decided to make a payment she simply agreed. She was a bit confused that she was never allowed to know about income, outgoings & financial accounts: it was just one of his ways of reducing worry for her.

Relationship with his youngest daughter deteriorated over the years. My friend was sent caustic messages by his now adult daughter. When she mentioned these to her husband he simply asked, “Well what have you done to her this time?”

Her husband increasingly wanted just the two of them to spend more time together. My friend is naturally sociable & caring, with many friends & connections. She had been a professional singer who had toured extensively. Her husband had become relatively disinterested in friendships & quite reclusive; definitely not very sociable (although when she first met him he would run karaoke parties at his house & be the life blood of the party).

His emotional input to the marriage was almost zero. He seemed devoid of all emotions except anger. He spent most of his time on his cell-phone & when challenged would either ignore my friend or issue some accusation about her to distract from the subject.

She was treated to periods of silence & he often only mentioned some problem days or even weeks after it had happened, when she had forgotten about it. Whatever had happened was her fault. In exasperation & on more than one occasion she told him, “I envy you because you & your family are never wrong!” If she tried to challenge him on his behaviour he simply replied, “I didn’t do that!” or “It wasn’t like that!” She fell into several periods of depression & anxiety throughout the time of her marriage.

Eventually, after a disastrous holiday where she was watched obsessively & he became abusive & violent in Spanish restaurants, she secretly returned home & commenced divorce proceedings on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. That is when he really opened the can!

How the Narcissist Responded

He too returned home early from the holiday, saying it was because she had ruined it. He stated that they must not discredit each to friends, to which my friend agreed … he then set about scorched earth policy like only a narcissist can.

  1. Smear campaigns started:  His activities included:
    • destroying her name & reputation by targeting key neighbours, friends & church leaders with his lies
    • accusing her of leaving him for another man. He was the victim. This bait was swallowed completely by the church leaders & as a result my friend was:
      • banned from all meetings she had helped to set up & lead for previous 10 years & from her singing role
      • forced to leave the church. Leaders subsequently instructed people not to be in contact with her, causing her to lose around 400-450 friends & acquaintances overnight, including some she had known for 30 years (much longer than she had known her husband!)
      • ignored in her town of residence by people she knew as word spread quickly about HER wrongdoings. These same people remain supportive of her husband: he has done a thorough job
      • called a liar by her church leaders when she challenged them over the accuracy of her husband’s account.
  2. Lies, deceit, accusations & control: Listing these will be easiest. Her husband:
    • denied any problems during the holiday, accusing her of coming home early to see her lover
    • accused her of leaving the family home to set up with her lover (her lover did not exist & she cannot leave because all of their finances, except her state pension, are in his accounts)
    • declared at mediation, in writing that he was being open & transparent about all matters. He was not, especially concerning his finances & work’s pension. Sadly the mediator was pretty inept & did not follow up on these, so they remain unresolved to date
    • stated that my friend is not entitled to the same standard of living as him & has refused to pay any support during the past 20-months. No proper reason has yet been given. He continues to live the high-life whilst causing her to struggle financially
    • keeps her trapped in the family home through lack of finances. She is now in debt with legal expenses & cannot afford to move out until final settlement. At the same time he insists that she moves out. So he keeps her trapped whilst insisting she leaves & sees that as perfectly reasonable!
    • has accused her of being deceitful, lying, abusive, using foul language, being emotionally abusive, stealing, telling tales to others.

As you can see, he feels highly entitled, & is avoiding accountability, whilst playing the victim (in public).

The REALITY of what has happened is rather different:

  1. Her husband struck up a relationship with another woman,
    • less than 4-months after my friend filed for divorce
    • on whom he spends extensively & has taken away for nights, weekends & probably at least one holiday
    • with whom he spends a large amount of time phoning, messaging & visiting
    • who, until lockdown in the UK, spent 3 to 5 nights sleeping at her house, leaving his car parked outside his mother’s & walking to his girlfriend’s house nearby
  2. Has been deceitful, lying, used foul language, thrown things at her, been emotionally abusive, stolen personal items from her, provided appropriately skewed updates to those who need to hear
  3. Denied saying & doing things which are recorded in writing & in photographs
  4. Has made multiple verbal promises which have been forgotten or denied later
  5. Kept records in writing & photos (which, when taken out of context) make my friend look bad
  6. Twisted what my friend said so that it sounded bad or unreasonable, to gain advantage
  7. Has defied even legal professionals along a path where he knows is right. Time will tell.

I hope you get the picture & can see how these traits expose him as a covert narcissist. His accusations of others are based on what he is doing, his truth is fluid depending on how he feels, there is no accountability or sense of doing anything wrong, he is entitled & devious, he is the life & soul of the party to friends & a downright nasty piece of work in private.

 

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS TO HELPS US?

  1. Keep detailed records of what happens: make sure you keep a factual record of what was said or done, date, time & setting. Make sure you also have back-up evidence (letters, e-mails, messages, texts etc & photos of any injury or damage to  artefacts).  Since narcissists respond according to what they feel at that time, their recall of detail after the event is, at best, unreliable. In reality it usually bears no resemblance to reality or truth.  Their brazen ability to lie & deny will astound you! 
  2. Take an inventory of belongings in the house: record who owns what & make special note of anything of value. If you have receipts, keep them safe. It is not unusual for things to mysteriously disappear along the way. Narcissists are also adept at  producing receipts for presents they bought you, claiming that the items are theirs!
  3. Never underestimate how devious, toxic & dangerous these people are: they will play on your good nature, expect you to submit to their demands whilst expecting to give NOTHING in return. They will take EVERY opportunity to make you look bad & will have zero conscience about how true their accusation is: if they accuse you, it is truth to them. 
  4. Keep focused: narcs will take every opportunity to steer you away from where you want to go (& they don’t). This is most likely concerning fair division of property, savings & ESPECIALLY their pension. Know what you are after & pursue it like a bloodhound until you get what you need OR reach a decision on what action is required in order to obtain that information. Solicitors are very good at taking a wider view & identifying what is important. Narcs throw-up all sorts of irrelevant & trivial matters to put you off the scent.
  5. You will never win in their mind: narcs are driven by power & control to ensure that they win. There is no second place for them. You don’t NEED to win their arguments; you just need to get what you are entitled to. If they need to win, let them in their own mind. Say, “Okay! You win, you’re right!” but never stop pursuing your aims. Even if a narc is found guilty, it will always be someone else’s fault!
  6. Narcissists MUST win at all costs   If you are in a legal battle, expect solicitor’s letters accusing you of unreasonable behaviour: it is all part of the narcs big plan to win. Ignore what is irrelevant & focus on your goals. Don’t get distracted into superfluous or pointless discussions or arguments.
  7. Be patient: you will need more patience than you have ever needed to cope with the abuse, total unfairness of the situation, interminable delays & red-herrings, downright lies & false accusations that come your way. Many narcs can also be smug: humming & whistling to make you wonder what they are up to next & keep you on edge.
  8. Shut down emotional engagement & investment: this is probably the single hardest thing to do. You have been in their clutches for so long that you may be trauma-bonded to them. BUT they need their supply & will get it however they can. They don’t mind whether it is good or bad: a confrontation can provide more energy that ego-stroking. If you are able, distance yourself emotionally from them, act as if they are not there & get on happily without them.
  9. Become factual, focused & business-like: This ties-in with many points above. The aim of breaking free is to BE FREE. Keep focused; stay on track, place emotions on hold & achieve your goal.

Putting the above into practice is much harder if you have to live in the same house as the narc, but it IS still possible. During any legal proceedings ensure that all communication is through solicitors. Under no circumstances should you try to make private agreements with a narc: they will take you to the cleaners.

Issues relating particularly to the UK:

  1. Response to solicitor’s letters is voluntary. Someone’s hand can only be forced using the courts which is timely & expensive.
  2. Mediation is compulsory but pretty useless for negotiating with a narcissist.**
  3. Implementation of policing emotional abuse is sketchy at best. Even though it is now a CRIMINAL offence & part of UK Law, poor understanding & interpretation by  personnel to whom these cases are reported mean that getting any action without physical violence is very difficult.

 **  Narcissists are only negotiable on their terms & will take every opportunity at mediation to

      • make you look stupid &/or themselves look superior
      • delay proceedings & obstruct the revealing of key information for your case
      • intimidate you if both parties are in the same room (always ask for Shuttle Mediation where you & the narc are in separate rooms with the mediator shuttling between the two).

(Footnote: ALWAYS vet mediators before using. Some are useless & will walk into the narcissist’s traps, leaving you worse-off than before mediation started)

 

My hope & prayer is that you are able to begin to find the freedom & quality of life you deserve & that your testimony will appear somewhere in writing when you are out of the narc’s web. The light at the end of tunnel can seem non-existent & it can take a LONG time to see, but once it appears it is surprising how rapidly you can appear at the other end.

Staying free is a topic beyond the scope of this article but the web sites below & many other excellent online resources are available to help you as you continue your journey. They are written & managed by people who either specialise in treating narcissists or who have experienced being on the receiving-end of a narcissistic relationship:

survivingnarcissism.tv  – Great resource with videos, chat & contacts.

facebook.com/PegStreepauthor – Peg is a survivor, psychologist & author. Great insight.

meganholgate.com – Help & advice from a survivor of narcissism

 

Take care until next time …

Posted in abuse, emotional abuse, emotional control, encouragement, freedom, help, mental health, narcissism, quality of life, relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Covert Narcissism: (3) Starting to Break Free From Their Web

photograph of spider's web

Webs May Look Beautiful But They Are Designed to Kill

In this 3rd Part of 4, we will continue to look at ways to identify covert narcissistic behaviours & start to look at the road to freedom.

In Part 1 we introduced to terminology & background information on narcissists
In Part 2 we started to take a deeper look at the traits & behaviours of covert narcissists

Three more character traits & behaviours that are common in covert narcissists include:

  1. Wearing down any opposition by continually changing their story: the technical term for this, as we saw in Part 1, is Gaslighting.  It is part of their secrecy, deceit & lies which help them to keep power & control & maintain the advantage. Such behaviour eventually leads to serious mental illness in the victim as they keep asking themselves whether they are going insane. The end result is usually anxiety & depression, sometimes ending in suicide. We will look at ways to counteract this below.
  2. MUST win at all costs: there is no place for losers & the narc can NEVER be seen to lose! Blaming others, avoiding questions, distracting attention, secrecy & lies are all part of the narc’s winning equation. Even if they do lose, it will always be somebody else’s fault. If you are seen to take power from them, the narc will unleash Hell as their fragile ego cannot handle it.
  3. Emotionally abusive at home, but star of the show in public: narcissists are great actors, many capable of winning an OSCAR for the way they win people over. Part of their act is to ensure they come out on top, are seen as the good guy & play the role of victim like a member of RADA! There is a MASSIVE disparity between their real, home life & their public image. The more they can convince people of how deranged, deluded, insane or unreasonable their victim is, the better they look. Although physical abuse can occur when a covert narcissist’s rage is triggered & they lose control, their emotional abuse is much more subtle & harder to prove.

 

THE NARCISSISTIC CYCLE

Narcissists can be quite intellectual & in positions of responsibility, but in their aloofness & fake confidence they can be remarkably blind, even stupid. Every narc may be different BUT their BEHAVIOURS conform to a common pattern or cycle, with 3 definite stages:

LOVE  ⇒  DEVALUATION  ⇒  DISCARD  (repeat)

 

LOVE

At first nothing is too much trouble. Gifts appear in profusion, statements like, “I have never met anyone like you!” or “We were meant to be!” or “I feel a special connection to you!” appearing frequently in conversation & writing. They will see you as often as they can, taking you out for meals, buying expensive clothes, shoes, taking you on holiday. Many narcs also consider themselves to be a reincarnation of Casanova himself, so use of the bedroom will be expected.

BUT DON’T BE TAKEN IN! They will have been watching you for a while & initially they will want to know all about you: likes, dislikes, favourites. Surprisingly they will probably like the exact same things you do (called mirroring). They will say what you want to hear, thereby creating an illusion of knowing all about you, taking an interest in you, caring for you, even loving you.

REALITY could not be further from the truth. They are simply reflecting back what you have already told them, luring you into their web of deceit, spinning ties of falsehood to bind you up..

ONE TELL-TALE SIGN OF A NARCISSIST is that they will tell you very little about themselves, apart from general details. Overt narcs tend to brag about achievements, promotions, positions, name-dropping every so often to impress & dazzle you. HOWEVER, Covert narcs love to play the strong enigmatic type & will use terms like,”Oh! Let’s talk about you rather than me” or “I’m not that interesting” to deflect attention back onto you. Secrecy is a powerful weapon in the wrong hands.

Another red flag is that narcissists may readily joke about others, especially when it is negative or makes them look silly, BUT they cannot take anything said in jest about themselves (or often their family) & become hyper-defensive, offended or hurt.

Once they have you hooked, supplying them with the adulation & attention they deserve they will implement Stage 2 …

 

DEVALUATION

Once they have built you up, the cutting-down begins.

This may not be obvious at first & it may not even be obvious whilst you are going through it, but it WILL happen.

The narc will attack you from all sides: confidence, self-esteem, support & your self-identity. You will begin to lose sight of who you are. These attacks may be one-after-the-other or hit several targets at the same time.

You will transition from being independent to being emotionally (perhaps even physically) dependent on the narc. Nothing you do will be quite good enough. Everybody else, especially the narc, knows best.

The people who have your best interest at heart, your family & close friends, will be high on the narcissist’s hit-list. The narc may be rude, sulky or quiet,  make personal comments, or avoid visiting with you. You will see less & less of those who really care. You will do anything in an attempt to avoid conflict, the silent treatment & criticism. It won’t work, but YOU will slowly become isolated in the process. Your backstop, safety-net, sources of honest opinion will be taken away from you.

Your appearance may become a focus for criticism (& control): the way you dress, the way you speak, your hairstyle or even personal features over which you have no control, like colour of your eyes, birthmarks, height etc. The narc will certainly try to make you feel embarrassed or ashamed if you do anything or wear anything that makes you feel good about yourself. Not necessarily full-on: just enough to create & reinforce doubt.

Your understanding & awareness of self will become hazy, eventually fading until you no longer know who you really are.

You may, if you are lucky, start to question the relationship if you are feeling controlled or claustrophobic. Things may just not add-up!

The narcissist will, by this time, be luring multiple other sources of supply into their web of deceit. It is supply that matters to the narcissist, not the person who gives it!

Eventually comes the most painful stage for many …

 

DISCARD

Once you no longer serve a purpose to further the image of the narcissist you will be discarded as if you have never existed, no matter how visible your pain.

When discard occurs:

    • one of their other supplies will unwittingly step up to the task
    • your name & reputation will be destroyed
    • any who try to help will be ostracised through the rumours, part-truths & downright lies spread by the covert narc.

The true victim becomes isolated & alone: the perpetrator plays the victim & becomes the hero. Narcissism at its best!

It is sickening to watch any victim to go through such a devastating process & you will wonder why people do not see what s happening or at least ask for themselves, rather than blindly believing the narcissist.

That, my friend, is the power of the narc’s deception & an indication of just how dangerous these people are.

 

… & REPEAT

The above cycle often repeats itself more than once.

Narcissists are so wretched & dependent upon supply that if things don’t work out, they come back with stories of remorse & undying love once more. This is the nearest you will ever get to a narc admitting their mistakes, although inevitably, it will still be someone else’s fault.

Since you are emotionally hooked in & often devastated by the discard, not understanding why it happened, you are prepared to give them a second chance & so the cycle begins again. People can become so damaged that the cycle repeats many times over many years.

AS SOON as you detect this type of behaviour or become suspicious about someone, IT IS TIME TO ESCAPE!

But how?

Below is a brief introduction to the subject that we will tackle more fully in Part 4.

 

STARTING TO BREAK FREE

Breaking free of a situation which may have taken years to develop (my friend was in her relationship for 18 years before she decided to take the step of breaking free) is NOT easy! It will be costly on time, finances, reputation & emotions. I will use her story as a case study in Part 4.

But for now, the first part of breaking free is to realise & accept that you are in the situation. This is hard & painful. You will ask yourself many questions like,

“How could I have been so blind, or stupid?”

“Why did I let this happen?”

“Why was I such an idiot to not see this earlier?”

The answer is simple (to write):

You were in a relationship with a narcissist, someone who is so broken that they they can’t even be true to themselves & whose self-loathing knows no limits.

When someone is that damaged & determined, the chances of you seeing it or avoiding it are VERY low.

Listen to those trusted friends whom have known you for years. When they express concern for you they are rarely jealous, or making comments to stir up trouble. If you talk to people & they try to convince you that you have nothing to worry about or have got it wrong, do not pursue the matter any further with them: they will be of no help & there is a chance they are already sympathetic to the narc.

Be prepared for shocks: those you think will help are often first to run, jump ship or side with the narc & those you never expected to help will step up & be a comforting rock. Life can be strange when we really test friendship!

FIND HELP & SUPPORT to do it. The process requires oversight by an independent third party, one who can see & say what is actually going on when you are too close or damaged to see it for yourself. Someone who supports you & holds your hand through the process is likely to be instrumental to your success. This may be one person or it may be many, but please CHOOSE CAREFULLY.

Look forward to seeing you for the final post of this series, Part 4, tomorrow:

The following web sites are excellent sources of help & advice from people who either specialise in treating narcissists or those who have experienced being on the receiving-end of a narcissistic relationship:

survivingnarcissism.tv  – Great resource with videos, chat & contacts.

facebook.com/PegStreepauthor – Peg is a survivor, psychologist & author. Great insight.

meganholgate.com – Help & advice from a survivor of narcissism

 

Take care until next time …

Posted in abuse, emotional abuse, emotional control, inspiration, narcissism, quality of life, relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Covert Narcissism: (2) What Others See & What You REALLY Get

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

What Others May See is Not What You Get with a Covert Narcissist

In Part 1 we looked at some basic definitions & introductions to the world of the narcissist.

In this Part 2, I want to dig deeper into the stuff that actually impacts you & how: what they say, how they act & how you can spot them in their works of stealth, wealth & deception.

THE TOP AIMS/NEEDS OF ANY NARCISSIST ARE POWER & CONTROL.

If we look at their traits patterns & behaviours they all pivot around these two driving forces.

Narcissists are incredibly insecure, despite outward appearances. Their time, effort & energy is focussed on keeping this image of the false self, that is, who they WANT us to see.  This false self is the veneer thin facade that they parade around to the outside world, the face that shows success, knowledge, confidence & any other positive trait they may wish to add into the mix.

HOWEVER, the REALITY is that they are self-loathing individuals who are petrified that others will see them as they see themselves. So their time & energy is spent on keeping up appearances. Because of this huge emotional deficit, they need to leech off other people & their primary source is the victim or empath, who gladly co-operates for all of the right reasons whilst never suspecting what is really happening.

Narcissists have, at some stage in their life, ceased to develop the ability or desire to see things as they really are. Their background is usually littered with poor role models, over-bearing parents, friends or relations or just downright inept individuals, who have taught them values like I must win, there are winners & losers (nothing in between), there are only black or white solutions, I must be the best (rather than trying to be my best), I need to be in charge, I won’t ever let anyone get on top of me or make a fool of me again … etc.

Their outlook on the world is binary or dualistic: only two answers & each one of those is absolute …  win or lose, top or bottom, me or you, all for me so none for you. These are the mental aptitudes of a pre-pubescent child, one who has not learned to engage & filter their thoughts with reason or emotion (other than disgust, hatred or shame). They have chosen to remain static with an emotional age of around 7 to 12 years.

So, when we encounter them, their responses are easy to predict, once we have realised what is going on in their psyche: what I call Junior (elementary) playground attitudes of I’ll get you back, I’m better than you (actually than everyone), I won’t ever forget what you have done to me, it isn’t my fault (ever), someone else must have done it, if I make enough commotion & play the victim I will get sympathy & support etc.

As you will appreciate, these responses from a fully grown adult, apart from being unacceptable & strange to the rest of us, can take us by surprise. Narcs often rely on others thinking, “Surely they would NEVER do that!” 

Yes they would!

Ironically, although they think like that, their life mission is to convince others that they do not. They want everything to be just so & in their favour. They CANNOT allow others to see them as they see themselves & so begins a painful & costly journey for the narc & especially those who get caught in the narcissist’s web of deceit & falsehood.

It is easy to feel sorry for the narcissists. Many do & try to help. But make no mistake, it is a path the narc has chosen for themselves, it is a pattern of behaviours that they have honed & refined over the years & THEY TAKE NO PRISONERS. They devour, confuse, abuse, spit-out & move on to their next target. EVERYTHING they do drives them onwards like a tank out of control, crushing anyone & everyone that gets in their way.

As we will see in Part 3 & Part 4, untangling the web & escaping from these malignant characters is costly, time-consuming & draining, not to say, expensive! Those who leave are traumatised & often broken. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is common, requiring extensive specialist help. Escaping is only the beginning.

DON’T feel sorry for them; most are beyond help because they do not want it. Look after yourself & let nature take its course with the narc.

SO WHAT TYPE OF ACTIONS & REACTIONS CAN WE EXPECT?

Below is a checklist of well-established character traits & patterns of behaviour that will help you to identify whether any of your friends, family, or significant other could be a covert narcissist.

  1. Incapable of accepting responsibility for any problem: to admit to having done something wrong is seen as weakness & is NOT permitted, even if faced with the facts. It is always somebody else’s fault.
  2. Accuses others of their own behaviour(s) and traits: narcs will discredit their victim by accusing them of having done what the narcissist has actually been doing.
  3. Deflects attention away from subject: covert narcissists, in particular, thrive on chaos & confusion. They will use almost any tactic, especially counter-accusations or character assassination to distract you from answers to important questions.
  4. Compulsively lie & their truth ‘baseline’ continually changes: as part of the chaos & confusion, narcissists can say one thing in a sentence & then completely deny having said it in the next. This is especially true when remembering events or what was said after an event has happened.
  5. Uses covert, low-grade intimidation in secret: in order to prove their case, covert narcs will accuse their victim of being unhinged, reactive or unstable & then subtly pick, niggle & intimidate their victim in private until they react … at which point the narc has proved their point,
  6. Feels entitled & deserves the best in all areas of life: everyone is a lesser being & beneath the narc. Therefore, nobody deserves to be above them in possessions, adulation, appreciation, knowledge: not even experts, so you can expect them to really know their subject well. Narcs will often buy things on impulse: not because they are necessary, but because they serve a purpose to make them look better. If that decision puts the family into debt, so what? It is all about being at the top.
  7. Does not accept any value or rights of the victim, totally lacking empathy: if the narcissist is entitled, then nobody else is. Their immature psyche & lack of trust  mean that their relationships are more akin to business transactions which, even then, are based on win-lose in favour of the narc. Narcissists thrive on the pain they cause others as it feeds into their ego (is a source of supply).
  8. Isolates victim from help and support to secure advantage: underneath it all, narcissists, especially covert narcissists are cowards: people with a wretched self-image that they cannot possibly let anyone else discover. They can be angry, bullies & filled with rage, but they are still cowards, using others as their screen & slipping out if the going gets tough. One of their strongest weapons is victim isolation for which they use smear campaigns & character assassinations, cutting them off from sources of support & help. If you are bold enough to support a victim, the narcissists are so convincing in their lies & half-truths that you are likely to become the scapegoat,ending-up as the villain.
  9. Masks their life in secrecy: this greatly reduces the chance of any comeback or accusation, as people (including the victim) have no idea what is really happening. This secrecy is likely to include sources for power & control for the narcissist, such as, finances, personal activities & social life. Secrecy also prevents accountability, allowing the narcissist to invisibly abuse their victims without responsibility to others for their actions.

In the words of Megan Holgate

Narcissists are extremely clever and they never reveal their true self to you, until they know they have you completely blinded by their immense spell. They only display who they think you want them to be. They are in a way chameleons, modifying their behaviour to whatever the situation may require.

Others see only apparent humility, their (pseudo) pain, lots of being victimised & misunderstood, (mock) concern, (artificial) friendliness & maybe even a touch of the sickly.

You, the victim, see the reality, a reality which is the antithesis of the narcissist’s public persona.

These two views rarely mix as the narc is highly skilled at the art of illusion & painting whatever picture they want people to see. They are deceitful liars who will do anything & go to any lengths, without conscience to get what they want & need.

We will continue to look at narcissistic traits & patterns of behaviour & begin to look at ways to start breaking free from their web in Part 3 (tomorrow).

The following web sites are excellent sources of help & advice from those who either specialise in treating narcissists or those who have experienced being on the receiving-end of a narcissistic relationship:

survivingnarcissism.tv  – Great resource with videos, chat & contacts.

facebook.com/PegStreepauthor – Peg is a survivor, psychologist & author. Great insight.

meganholgate.com – Help & advice from a survivor of narcissism

 

Take care until next time …

Posted in abuse, covert narcissism, health, mental health, narcissism, quality of life, relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Covert Narcissism: (1) Why Their Web is SO HARD to Escape From

[Emotional Abuse Is Harder To See From The Outside But Equally Devastating To The Victim]

Emotional Abuse Is Harder To See From The Outside But Equally Devastating To The Victim

Today is Part 1 of a 4-Part blog-post looking at covert narcissists & how to break free.

I am not a psychologist or a counsellor but I hope that what I have experienced & learnt along the way will help you to identify, take action & escape the strangulating grip of these emotional black holes,

This first part is an introduction to terms used is association with narcissism, along with basic information on how narcissistic relationships evolve & develop.

  1. My credentials: I have been supporting a friend for the past 2 years who has been emotionally abused by her husband (a covert narc) for 17 years & took the brave step to divorce him, unleashing the gates of Hell in the process. As I write, that process is STILL ongoing,
  2. My Aims: to equip you with tools which will help you see your own situation in a new light & be equipped to take appropriate action.
  3. My Reasons: as you will discover, the world of the narcissist is self-created & self-perpetuated. They see that maintaining that illusion is your (or some other unfortunate’s) role & responsibility. I hope to shine some light in the darkness they create & unravel the chaos they thrive on so that YOU CAN FIND A WAY OUT OR SUPPORT THOSE WHO ARE TRYING TO ESCAPE FOR THEMSELVES.

This is a costly & dangerous path, especially for your reputation with friends, work-colleagues or family. There are few more furious as a narcissist exposed.

I will try to avoid jargon, but the following terms are used a lot in the psychology of narcissism. I may occasionally use one or two of these:

Narcissist: from the Greek mythological figure, Narcissus, who became obsessed with his own image. Image, reputation & praise are essential for maintaining the veneer of existence of a narcissist. Challenge these & their inner loathing & rage is likely to come to the fore, which can be frightening & dangerous.

Victim: the person on whom the narcissist preys & uses as their main target for actions & words. Often referred to as an Empath as they are the ones who have the heart, emotions & capacity for relationship, support & understanding. They are the givers, to the narcissist’s emotional black hole,

Supply: the main person who supplies the narcissist with the emotional input they need to bolster-up their ego.

Gaslighting: the ability of the narcissist to create chaos, confusion & mental illness through lies, denial & changing their story.

Flying Monkeys: those people (allies) who are friends & allies with the narcissist that have been taken in by the narcissist’s story & who are happy to do the narc’s bidding (pass on stories, accusations, carry messages etc).

Intellect: the capacity to store information & use it effectively to solve problems. It is a functional capacity which is independent of emotions. Also known as IQ. Narcissists can be very intellectual & well-qualified.

Intelligence: the ability to give intellect context, meaning & value by applying the filter of emotions. The ability to feel or empathise with another person. Narcissists totally lack this quality (although they may learn how to portray an imitation through watching others).

Narcissists are a nasty species that come in all shapes, sizes & tactics. Male narcs tend to outnumber females, but both have the same devastating impact on lives.

Like many character traits/psychological conditions they exist on a spectrum or continuum of extremes: every individual may be different but their patterns of behaviour are similar & highly predictable (once you know what you are looking for).

Overt Narcissists: These are the most obvious narcissists: high-profile, loud, brash, centre-of-attention, never wrong, infinitely wise, smooth-talking liars. They intentionally stand out in a crowd, often appearing as charismatic, funny, witty & knowledgeable. BUT scratch the surface i.e., watch them for a while or ask awkward questions & their shallow game is quickly revealed. Many see these people as decision-makers & leaders. Their followers may be many & passionate as like attracts like in this case.

Covert Narcissists: By far the most dangerous & toxic characters. They are more devious, still desperately needing the approval & admiration of others, but getting their supply of this energy is much more understated & covert, as their name suggests. Make no mistake, they may be quieter, appearing shy & retiring, but their inner rage & hatred is just as strong, if not stronger than their overt counterpart. Their poison is never far beneath the surface & will overflow with little provocation.

The two types of narcissist are similar in their need for public approval, acclamation & respect. They also both display public & private personas that are poles apart: in public they are charming & everyone’s best friend forever but in private they are caustic, secretive & downright nasty.

The particular danger with covert narcissists is that they are masters at luring you, unsuspecting into their web of deceit, lies & falsehoods. They work on you in private so that you rarely see the problem until too late. You have no genuine reason to misbelieve or  mistrust them, because that is NOT on your radar.  Why should it be? You are in a relationship, a two-way thing & assume that they are too!

Wrong!

They are in a transaction which gives them what they want & care little or nothing about relationship as the rest of the world would define it. It is all one way: TO THEM! When you realise this, you are so tangled in their web that escaping is a long-term, exhausting & often demoralising experience. You will need support which, as we will see in the next part, they will do their best to deprive you of.

Part 2 (tomorrow) will begin to delve deeper into patterns of behaviour & traits to look out for.

In the meantime, the following web sites are excellent sources for help & advice from those who either specialise in treating narcissists or those who have experienced being on the receiving-end of a narcissistic relationship:

survivingnarcissism.tv  – Great resource with videos, chat & contacts.

facebook.com/PegStreepauthor – Peg is a survivor, psychologist & author. Great insight.

meganholgate.com – Help & advice from a survivor of narcissism

 

Take care until next time …

Posted in covert narcissism, emotional abuse, identifying abuse, narcissism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Spring Daffodils

Spring Daffodils, Isle of Man

Spring Daffodils

Manx Spring daffodils light-up the water-side

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Making Waves

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Making Waves

A wave breaks on a beautiful, sunny Manx day.

Take care until next time …

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Urban Sunset

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Urban Sunset

Even towns can be beautiful when nature takes control.

Take care until next time …

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Sea Sky & Rain

rainstorm over the sea Isle of man

Manx Storm

Summer Storm Over Sea Near Port St Mary, Isle of Man.

Take care until next time …

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