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Thursday, October 4, 2007

More in the same vein

From Narcissistic Personality Disorder, on the page about Traits of NPD:

Narcissists are grandiose. They live in an artificial self invented from fantasies of absolute or perfect power, genius, beauty, etc. . . . Grandiosity can take various forms -- a narcissistic woman may believe herself to be the very model of perfect womanhood, the standard by which all others are measured, and she will try to force her daughters to be just like her, she will not be able to cope with daughters who are taller or shorter than she is, fatter or thinner, who have bigger or smaller feet, breasts, teeth, who have different favorite colors than hers, etc.

Or daughters with different opinions, tastes, ambitions, boundaries, etc. God forbid I should think for myself or make any parenting decision different from what she did.

And they criticize, gripe, and complain about almost everything and almost everyone almost all the time. . . . Narcissists are noted for their negative, pessimistic, cynical, or gloomy outlook on life. Sarcasm seems to be a narcissistic specialty, not to mention spite. Lacking love and pleasure, they don't have a good reason for anything they do and they think everyone else is just like them, except they're honest and the rest of us are hypocrites. Nothing real is ever perfect enough to satisfy them, so are they are constantly complaining and criticizing -- to the point of verbal abuse and insult.

See my posts about vacation.

There are usually a favored few whom narcissists regard as absolutely above reproach, even for egregious misconduct or actual crime, and about whom they won't brook the slightest criticism. These are people the narcissists are terrified of, (emphasis mine) though they'll tell you that what they feel is love and respect; apparently they don't know the difference between fear and love.

This makes me wonder about my father, step-father, and grandparents. I have always had suspicians about what my grandfather did to his two daughters and to me. Not that this is proof of anything, it just gives me pause.

Narcissists are very disappointing as gift-givers. This is not a trivial consideration in personal relationships. I've seen narcissistic people sweetly solicit someone's preferences ("Go ahead -- tell me what you really want"), make a show of paying attention to the answer ("Don't you think I'm nice?"), and then deliver something other than what was asked for -- and feel abused and unappreciated when someone else gets gratitude for fulfilling the very request that the narcissist evoked in the first place.

This is an exact picture of my mom. She asks what we want, buys what she pleases (Identical, really cheap, gifts for me and SIL, and for Ted and my foster brother--although I could not be more different from Sue, nor Ted from Mike) and then does the hurt routine if we are not absolutely thrilled.

Boy, oh boy. Now that gives me some stuff to think about. The most depressing part is this:

Now, it is possible to have a relatively smooth relationship with a narcissist, and it's possible to maintain it for a long time. The first requirement for this, though, is distance: this simply cannot be done with a narcissist you live with. Given distance, or only transient and intermittent contact, you can get along with narcissists by treating them as infants: you give them whatever they want or need whenever they ask and do not expect any reciprocation at all, do not expect them to show the slightest interest in you or your life (or even in why you're bothering with them at all), do not expect them to be able to do anything that you need or want, do not expect them to apologize or make amends or show any consideration for your feelings, do not expect them to take ordinary responsibility in any way . . . .It is also essential that you keep emotional distance from narcissists. . . . Once they know you are emotionally attached to them, they expect to be able to use you like an appliance and shove you around like a piece of furniture. If you object, then they'll say that obviously you don't really love them or else you'd let them do whatever they want with you. If you should be so uppity as to express a mind and heart of your own, then they will cut you off . . . .
Or retreat like a turtle into a shell.

How sad. How sad for me, for my son, and for my mom. I know, intuitively, that there is potential for a much richer emotional life than what we have now or ever will have. I have read over this web site twice now, trying to take it all in. I have always known that my mom was a pathetic, empty shell without an original thought in her head. Now I see why I have never felt I really mattered to her. I see why none of our conversations make sense.

What I don't see is, how am I going to deal with the relationship between my son, and the grandmother he adores?

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