Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book publishing...... no mean feat. You need patience, as I'm learning.

Writing a book whilst working part time, is pretty tough too.

Writing a book whilst working part time, and looking for another job simultaneously, is pretty demanding also.

Add to that three small people who need constant attention, love and nurturing (24/7 - not part time) and you find things start to get pretty stressful.

Do I want a medal?

Too bloody right I do!!

OK, maybe not a medal....but a publishing deal would be nice ;-)

I'm under no illusions about how long this road I'm on actually is. Writing the book was but the first step. I'm now engaging in the 'touting' of the manuscript to prospective agents. This can be a laborious process, but let's call it a labour of love, for my goal is clear.

The story must be told! The story WILL be told!

The feedback I'm getting so far is spurring me on. For that, I thank the readers heartily.

It's nice to know there is a potential market out there. True stories tend to be popular, don't they? We're all fascinated in the (mis)fortunes of others.

I read 'Web of Lies - My Life with a Narcissist' from start to finish on Monday this week. It was the first time I'd actually read the whole lot in one sitting. I found it emotionally draining, seeing it all condensed like that.

This is no doubt because I'm still very close to the whole thing. Time helps, but in cases like this you need a great deal of time, and energy, to recover.

I'm composing the epilogue right now. This book needs an epilogue. The readers need to know what has happened to us in the time since the end of narcissist rule of our lives.

But it's entirely possible that the epilogue to Web of Lies could turn into a book of it's own.

Now there's something to ponder!

In the meantime, let me tell you that the epilogue to Web of Lies is a positive one.

It's far from a 'happy ever after', who gets those in real life?

But 'misery memoir' this is not, be sure of that.

Getting it published is currently my main goal.

If, once published, I can bring the subject of NPD out for wider debate and recognition, then I've achieved another major goal. If I can actually help other people who've found themselves in this kind of extraordinary relationship, then I'm entirely satisfied.

Watch this space. It's all happening in the background.

S x

Monday, February 8, 2010

Why write a book?

Well, why not?

If I had a pound for every time I'd heard the suggestion, I would be rich already. The most common phrase I hear is 'Sarah, you couldn't make this up, it's the stuff of books!'

And that's absolutely true, it is!

For those who haven't read it yet, the summary is here

I'm looking forward to seeing the darn thing in print to be honest. I'm not sure if you'd call it a labour of love, but it's definitely been a difficult birth, if rather a cathartic one!

Book number two is a work in progress, a kind of extension and 'bringing up to date' for the reader. Most of my readers have requested this so far, so I don't want to disappoint.

Everybody has a book in them, so they say. Here's hoping for two, three, or even four. Aim high they say!

I'm aiming, OK?

What is NPD?

I found one of the best descriptions here, it's worth a read:

The serial bully displays behaviour congruent with many of the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Characterised by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity and self-importance, need for admiration, and lack of empathy, people with narcissistic personality disorder overestimate their abilities and inflate their accomplishments, often appearing boastful and pretentious, whilst correspondingly underestimating and devaluing the achievements and accomplishments of others.

Often the narcissist will fraudulently claim to have qualifications or experience or affiliations or associations which they don't have or aren't entitled to. Belief in superiority, inflating their self-esteem to match that of senior or important people with whom they associate or identify, insisting on having the "top" professionals or being affiliated with the "best" institutions, but criticising the same people who disappoint them are also common features of narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissists react angrily to criticism and when rejected, the narcissist will often denounce the profession which has rejected them (usually for lack of competence or misdeed) but simultaneously and paradoxically represent themselves as belonging to the profession they are vilifying.

Fragile self-esteem, a need for constant attention and admiration, fishing for compliments (often with great charm), an expectation of superior entitlement, expecting others to defer to them, and a lack of sensitivity especially when others do not react in the expected manner, are also hallmarks of the disorder. Greed, expecting to receive before and above the needs of others, overworking those around them, and forming romantic (sic) or sexual relationships for the purpose of advancing their purpose or career, abusing special privileges and squandering extra resources also feature.

People with narcissistic personality disorder also have difficulty recognizing the needs and feelings of others, and are dismissive, contemptuous and impatient when others share or discuss their concerns or problems. They are also oblivious to the hurtfulness of their behaviour or remarks, show an emotional coldness and a lack of reciprocal interest, exhibit envy (especially when others are accorded recognition), have an arrogant, disdainful and patronizing attitude, and are quick to blame and criticise others when their needs and expectations are not met.

The DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder are:

A. A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of:

1. a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, ie unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, ie takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes

Sunday, February 7, 2010


written in May 2008......

Apparently, I never cared
It seems I never knew
The hopes and dreams I thought we'd shared
Were only held by you

Apparently, it wasn't love
I felt within my soul
When Venus shone from up above
T'was your heart that she stole

Apparently, I never tried
To halt that slashing knife
Rebuffed, rejected, cast aside
Unloving, heartless wife

Apparently, I turned away
I took my love and ran
Left you to rot, in fools decay
You poor, rejected man

Apparently, the pain I feel
Is nothing to compare
My devastation can't be real
My love was never there

The burden of this loss
Is felt by you, exclusively
And I don't ache,
Or cry myself to sleep,apparently

Web of Lies. Prologue and Chapter one


She sat, in her empty house, only the dog for company.
Alone, completely and utterly alone.
And where was he?
In another country, hundreds of miles away.
What was he doing? Working?
He told her he would be here, but at the last minute, work had interrupted his plans.
‘Too much to do’.
He hadn’t seen her in months, hadn’t returned her calls, despite his promises.
She knew now.
He was gone.
Empty promises.
His words meant nothing.
She knew that now.
For the very first time, she saw her own destiny.
She’d fallen in love with a man who was devoid, empty, and hollow.
How could he do this do me?
He left me, alone and destitute.
Alone in this country.
Nobody to help.
No hope.
She paced around the house.
Isolated, alone, desperate.

There it was, in the garage.

The wind was blowing, it was dark, and it was cold.
She found the answer, and she knew this was the only way.
A new century, a new millennium,
Out with the old……….

The only way to show him, maybe make him understand what he had done.
This would show him.

Rat poison.
I’ll bleed to death
Long and slow.
No more than I deserve.
A way out, but not just any way out.
This is a statement.
A spectacular way out.

She picked up the bottle
The dog, as always, at her side.
She walked back into the house.

This is it.
Now or never.
‘I’ll show you.
You bastard’.
She swallows……and swallows…and swallows…..
She fights the gagging sensation.
She holds the pillows, she realises her own despair.
It begins.
It hurts.
Oh dear Jesus, how this hurts……
It starts
The pain, the blood
The sorrow
The loss
The despair…….
The love
The forgiveness
The sorrow…….
The pain,
The intense, and all consuming PAIN………..
She bleeds
She vomits
Then suddenly
‘My family, my brother, my mother,……
What am I doing?’

She fights, she tries to resist
But it’s too late……
She loses the fight, the life ebbs away, slowly but surely.
Her last thought:
‘I hope you know what you did to me’
‘Oh why, dear Lord, why did you do this to me?’……………

Chapter one - Swept off my feet

Extract from my journal: Feb 10th 2002.

‘Well, eighteen months later and boy did things happen in my life!

I’m getting married in three months, and the future is looking bright for us! I’ve met the most wonderful man on the planet and he wants me to be his wife! I can’t believe it, really I can’t! How things can turn around so quickly! I’m so happy and full of hope! This is the turning point for me. I love him so much and I’m so lucky to have him!’

I am Sarah, and I was 29 years old when I made the decision to leave my hectic life in Berlin for a gentler way of life in Switzerland. It was a big decision to make, and certainly one that would turn my life both upside down and inside out.

I’d always had this idea I’d end up with an older man. I don’t know why or where it came from. I’d had plenty of failed relationships with men around my own age, so I guess I just decided I needed somebody older and wiser.

My life before had been hectic, fast, and even heinous. I’d spent my twenties living the party life. Work hard and party harder, that was my ethos. It had been great, but it had come at a price. By the time I hit twenty-nine I knew it was time for a big change. I needed to slow down. Perhaps this was where the idea of the older man was born in my psyche. Born from the knowledge that things must change: born from a desire to live a ‘normal’ and ‘stable’ life.

It had all happened so quickly I barely had time to register it. From making the decision to leave my current job and the big city behind, to finding myself on a plane to a new country and a new life, it seemed barely a heartbeat had passed.

Yet there I was, suddenly in a new land, full of new people and new promise. The contrast could not have been greater. I moved from a life in the big smoke, to life in the countryside. From all weekend ‘benders’, to farming landscapes and peaceful church chimes. How happy I was with my decision!

And then, before my suitcase was even unpacked (my furniture was still in transit!), there he was.

We met in our place of work. I was the latest addition to the Procurement team; he was the manager of a small department over in Marketing.

From the moment he walked through the door of his office (he was late that day, and I was already there, talking to a colleague) his attention focused solely on me. He immediately engaged me in conversation, completely ignoring the gentleman I was actually there to see. We spent about thirty minutes talking about me, when I’d arrived, how I was finding the new job etc. His attention was so fixed on me I remember feeling slightly awkward. Who was this stranger who had interrupted my meeting? And what did he want from me?

Physically, Bill made no impact on me whatsoever. He was short, overweight and balding. Worst of all, from my point of view, he was smoking a cigarette. At that point he had (so he told me) a twenty a day habit, yet from that day onwards, I never saw him smoke another cigarette.

In an effort to shift both his attention and the focus of the conversation away from myself, I asked him about his job, his department, and what his role in the company was. He seized on this opportunity to immediately arrange a ‘meeting’ with him the next morning so that we could discuss this in ‘more detail’. I agreed. I wasn’t busy at that time and I welcomed the opportunity, on a professional level, to be introduced to his department.

The next day, I duly attended the ‘meeting’, only to find it was just between Bill and myself. Instead of outlining his department’s function, he sat me down at his PC and called up a map of the local area. He then proceeded to explain in great detail where all the best restaurants and shops were located. He talked about his social life; which customers he regularly entertained; where he entertained them; and which wine is served in which restaurant. By the time he had finished his dialogue, it was conveniently lunch-time, so he suggested we go to the local Italian, where he’d treat me to pizza. As it was Friday, and my new boss was abroad on business, I gladly accepted. I felt comfortable with Bill as he was so very attentive. I was at ease, but nothing more. At that point he was still just a friendly manager who was happy to show the new girl on the block the way around.

By the end of lunch though, something had changed. I don’t know if it was the red wine he insisted I drink, or the never-ending rhetoric and humour. He had me laughing and chatting, and, most of all relaxing. By the time he dropped me back off at my office, we had arranged to meet that evening in a local hotel for drinks. I had a strange tingling feeling in my stomach. I felt somehow elated. I smiled for the rest of the afternoon.

What followed was a weekend that would change my life forever.

As I got ready that evening there was no thought in my mind that this would be a romantic liaison. I did not fancy Bill one bit. I was, however, extremely happy to be meeting him for this date, because he made me feel so comfortable. I thought he would be a great friend to have, somebody who was the life and soul, loved by all. I was flattered by the attention he’d shown me, yet I naively believed he was simply a nice man who wanted to do me a favour. He wouldn’t want anything romantic from me anyway. I was seventeen years younger than him, and already it was clear to me that he was intellectually out of my league. He was obviously a man of means, and highly intelligent. I was impressed by his command of the language, his knowledge of politics and the arts (all things which were alien to me, as I’d spent the last ten years sitting in night clubs talking nonsense to nobodies!). I was fascinated by his tales, and couldn’t wait to spend more time with him.

We met at a lake front five star hotel. He was there before me, and had already ‘taken the liberty’ of ordering our wine.

During the course of that first evening he bought two bottles of one of the most expensive wines on the menu. For a girl who was used to sipping Becks beer from the bottle, this was really quite something.

From the hotel bar we moved to a small nightclub in the basement, where the drinks continued to flow.

We exchanged tales of our respective pasts, and he told me that he’d been married, twice. His first marriage had taken place when he was very young and naïve, his second marriage was one of business convenience. It was a mutual agreement between himself and a friend (who happened to also be his accountant).

He told me he had three adult children by his first wife: no offspring from the second marriage.

I was fascinated, spellbound. This man had led a full and colourful life. He was well travelled, well versed, and so very experienced. Not only that, but he was clearly a successful businessman, who had ‘retired’ to his position in the company where we worked, in order to ‘kick back and enjoy life’ a little more.

I wondered what on earth it was that Bill could possible find interesting about little me. Here I was, just twenty-nine, and with no significant story to tell. Yet he seemed in awe of me. The perfect gentlemen, he appeared genuinely interested in everything I had to say. He paid me compliments, held open doors, and treated me with kindness and respect.

As the evening wore on I was becoming more and more drunk, and I was having an absolutely fantastic time.

It seemed Bill was too, because when it came time to leave the club, it was clear that neither of us wanted to leave the other’s company just yet.

‘Why don’t we go back to mine?’ He suggested.

‘I don’t know about you, but I’m starving, and I think we both need some food to help mop up all this wine!’

I had to agree, once out in the fresh air I was staggering somewhat. Not really a good look when you’re on a first date with somebody, but I felt so completely comfortable in his company by now, it really didn’t seem to matter. I gladly accepted his invitation; comfortable that he really was a perfect gentleman, and that we were going to become the best of friends.

That was the start of the weekend that would change the course of my entire life.

I woke up in the morning with my head spinning. At first I didn’t even know where I was. I looked around the room. I was in Bill’s bedroom, lying in bed fully clothed. I remembered him leading me here a few hours earlier. For a split second I felt panic, did I……?

Then I heard him moving around in the kitchen, and I realised he had let me use his bed, and had slept on the sofa.

‘Good morning Sarah! You look like you need a coffee!’

‘Morning Bill…..ouch….yes, coffee would be nice please’.

He was bright and breezy, and incredibly funny. I felt once again at ease, if a little perplexed and extremely hung over.

‘So, what shall we do today? How about I take you out and show you some of the sights? What would you like to do, name anything, we’ll do whatever you want’.

I couldn’t really think straight. I hadn’t planned on spending today with him as well, but when I thought about it, what else did I have to do? My furniture had still not arrived, so I was literally camping in my new flat. A day of sight seeing with Bill sounded like fun.

‘Actually Bill, I fancy getting some exercise to blow the cobwebs away a bit’

‘Perfect! Great idea! Do you swim? I know a lovely hotel with a spa, how about that for blowing cobwebs away?’

‘That sounds like a fantastic idea Bill’ I smiled. This was going to be a great weekend.

As he was handing me a coffee, my mobile phone rang. It was my mum. He indicated to me that he was going to take a shower. I took the call, and moved out to the balcony so I could speak to her. I didn’t want her knowing I’d just spend the night with a man (albeit not ‘with’ him), and I couldn’t face having to explain it. I’d only arrived in my new town a week or so ago, and I thought she’d probably start worrying if she knew I’d already started to get close to a man.

Whilst I was on the balcony, Bill suddenly put his head around the door; he was naked except for a towel. He proceeded to speak to me despite, knowing I was talking to my mother.

I shot him a nervous look, which made him stop talking and make one of those ‘oops’ faces.
She heard his voice, and immediately asked me who it was.

‘Oh, it’s a friend from work who has offered to take me into town today, he’s just arrived to pick me up’ I lied.

We went to a beautiful spa hotel on the banks of the lake. There was a small swimming pool and a Jacuzzi area. We leapt in the Jacuzzi and laughed with excitement. I was having an absolute ball.

Bill ordered drinks from the bar. Bloody Marys. I’d never had a Bloody Mary in my life. More alcohol!

At this stage we had the pool area completely to ourselves. It was a cold October Saturday morning after all, not many people were about. As the drinks were delivered Bill was just getting out of the pool. I walked over to the sun lounger area and lay down on one, a warm, fuzzy, and very contented feeling in my stomach. Once the waiter had gone, Bill was standing at the foot of my sun lounger. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, he took down his swimming trunks.

He was standing right in front of me, full frontal. I didn’t know where to look! We were in a public place after all, and he must surely have known it was completely inappropriate to simply disrobe like he did.

‘What are you doing?’ I exclaimed.

‘What’s wrong? He innocently asked, standing there confidently.
‘In my family we always walked naked in front of each other, there’s nothing wrong with it!’

‘We’re not family, and we’re not in a family home!’ I was mortified by now, but I brushed it aside, and as he replaced his swimmers and handed me my drink, I laughed it off.

Looking back now I can see clearly that this incident, on my very first date with him, along with the phone incident earlier in the day, were classic signs of Bill asserting his ‘power’. This is classic narcissist behaviour. Put your stamp on something that is yours. This was something which was to happen many more times over the coming months and years.

Summary of the Book

'Web of Lies - My life with a Narcissist' by Sarah Tate. It's coming soon!

Here's the summary!

Web of Lies takes you on an emotional roller-coaster, experienced through the eyes of Sarah Tate, an intelligent, young newcomer to Switzerland who is swept off her feet by an older, more experienced company manager. Within weeks of their meeting, Bill impresses her with a courtship vastly unusual in modern times. He lures Sarah with his intellect along with numerous gifts, expensive restaurants, and trips to luxury hotels. Sarah, who is searching for not only love but security, quickly finds herself falling for the worldly but sensitive and caring man Bill represents himself to be. In Web of Lies, she describes the highs and the lows of what it is like to be involved with a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, how to come to terms with the abuse, and most importantly, how to escape.

Bill, who is seventeen years older than Sarah, has led what she finds at first to be a fascinating life. Married twice before, he has been recently widowed, after his second wife fell into depression and took her own life. Within months of their first meeting, Bill has proposes to Sarah, and they are planning a lavish wedding and exciting new life together. However, Sarah quickly starts to feel there may be more to Bill than meets the eye. Bill explains to Sarah, that his second marriage was one of convenience. Bill says his second wife, Sofia, was his accountant and very good friend, and they had married for tax reasons. Furthermore, he claims she ran his affairs while he was the manager of a successful business in Germany, and had committed suicide when she realised she was about to be found out for mismanaging his accounts and stealing money from his business to fund the purchase of a house for her mother. When a debt collection company comes knocking on the door, Bill explains it by blaming the debt on the late Sofia.

Shortly after the birth of her first child, Sarah is horrified when Bill’s employer threatens to take him to court for trying to sell insider secrets to one of their customers. Bill proclaims his innocence and fights the case, which eventually ends in stalemate, but at a high cost businesswise and socially. It ruins life in Switzerland for the family, and they have no alternative but to move to France where Bill can again find work and be near his parents. Sarah is incredibly unhappy in France with two small children by now to look after, and in-laws who seem to want nothing to do with her and the children. She falls into depression which is exacerbated by Bill’s lack of emotion, the deteriorating relationship with his parents and the fact that their financial situation is continually strained, due to Bill’s debt history and mismanagement of their finances. She despairs as he evicts his own parents from the home they had spent their life savings on so he can sell it to survive the financial crisis he has created.

Sarah battles to keep the marriage on track, but is frustrated by Bill’s lackadaisical attitude towards work, and his constant bragging about how he’s going to make millions via various entrepreneurial schemes which never materialize. After much deliberation, Sarah and Bill decide to move back to Switzerland with the hope it will revitalize their marriage. However, the move back to Switzerland proves to be the final nail in the coffin of their relationship after Bill teams up with an internet entrepreneur, and invests vast amounts of time and effort into building a series of web sites, which he never completes. He uses all their savings and lands them in financial hot water by failing to generate any income to sustain his ever growing family, which now includes a third child.

Sarah eventually begins to wake up to Bill’s lies and schemes, but not before she discovers he’s taken the last of their money, borrowed from her parents to feed their children, to fund a lavish trip to London in order to entertain his young girlfriend (his new narcissistic source of supply). Bill unashamedly declares his undying love for his latest flame, totally disregarding both Sarah and his young children.

As the marriage ends, Sarah battles serious clinical depression in order to cope with the destructive relationship with Bill. She finally asks him to leave, but his blatant refusal finally forces her to move herself and the children out of their home three months later. With the help of their lawyer, Sarah divorces Bill, and thus begins her slow recovery from almost a decade of narcissistic abuse. Part of her recovery included gathering the courage to contact Sofia’s brother in order to find out what had really gone on in Bill’s past, and she is shocked to hear the real truth about his life with Sofia. Not only had theirs not been a marriage of convenience, Bill had abused her in the same way he had abused Sarah - financially, emotionally, mentally and spiritually - leaving her utterly alone and in a desperate state.

Sarah realizes finally that she must break the pattern of abuse in order to escape with her sanity in tact. Mindful of protecting her children from him, she eventually stands up to Bill for the final time, and is left at the end to carve a new life. She is in debt and alone, but thankfully free from Bill’s negative and unhealthy influence.

My life in soap land


I'm talking to myself again
I'm sitting here alone
Looking at an empty room
Light's on, no-one home

I think I'll watch some telly now
And make a cup of tea
Lose myself for half an hour
In someone else but me

In soapland everybody has
Some drama in their life
A teenage mum, a gangster
Or a half-cut, battered wife

There's always something going on
Even on the dullest days
A kidnapped child, a drunken fight
A nightclub set ablaze

A sit and lose myself in soap
Wishing my life weren't so void
And all the while
Behind the scenes
My world is being destroyed

A false sense of security
Has lulled me through the years
I thought my life was pretty dull
Just normal hopes and fears

But whilst I sit here, all alone
And long for something new
I don't suspect, that pretty soon
I'll be in soapland too.....

It's whoosh! and wow! and suddenly
My life's turned on it's head
My goodness, this is better than
Any book I've ever read!

I'm plunged into dramatic turns
I find I'm centre stage
Betrayal, love, the feathers fly
Please someone, turn the page!

The leading role
In soap-land now
For this, I'm not equipped
If only I'd been warned before
I might have learned the script!

Instead, I improvise each day
And try to muddle through
And wonder if I'll win awards
For this acting début

And now I wonder why on earth
I craved to live in soap
For here in drama-land
The learning curve
Is one steep slope!

It's coming at me from all sides
The drama! Oh! the stress!
I wish I'd gone to make-up
Bloody hell
I look a mess!

In soap-land, leading ladies
Are neither glamorous nor young
We're usually just stressed out
Overweight, and highly strung....

We live our lives of disarray
We deal with all our strife
Heroins, who struggle through each day
And get the best from life

And now I'm here in soap-land
How I crave my life of old
That boring, empty room of mine
A wonder to behold

If I could have normality
This soap-life I would ditch
I'm begging, please, just somebody
Oh let me flick that switch....

To turn this off, and so return
To life so dull and grey
And learn to act
And be prepared
For life's next huge dismay

But here I am in soap-land
For now at least, there's no release
So I paint my face, and learn my lines
And hope, in time, for peace.........

The Web

The Web

Your story started long ago
When you began to weave
Small threads at first
They quickly grow
You practice to deceive

So intricate, this web you made
Your life, your love, your wealth
So tied up in this masquerade
You believe the lies yourself

And so it grows,the web of lies
And innocents fall prey
A shattered life, despair, demise
A world in disarray

And still you weave, you have no choice
You're tangled up so tight
Ignoring conscience,inner voice
No power to do what's right

The lies fall from your lips with ease
The web grows larger still
A verbal strike, from mind diseased
And woven with such skill

And so you live in silken thread
You're trapped in self deceit
Perpetuate until you're dead
When truth concedes defeat