Author of 'Web of Lies - My Life with a Narcissist' and 'Renaissance - A Journal of Discovery'
I think we shouldn't judge until we've been in that person's shoes. When we marry, we're young, inexperienced and in love. We trust this person to be the wind in our sail. We think they are invested in our well being. This is our point person, the one person in all the world who has our back. So we take some hits because surely this person is not a jerk! It takes a lot of reflection and time to come to the realization that this person has never been on our side...doesn't love us at all. It just hasn't occurred to us that this could be so. When we discover that there was no love the entire time, it can be crushing, causing us to doubt our perceptions, our person, the core of who we are. It makes us feel that the whole relationship was a facade, that we existed only for that person's needs. There was no love for us as a person, for who we were and are. It makes us feel sick to our stomach. When I was told I was being bullied by our marriage counselor, my reply was, "That can't be so. I am not the kind of person who becomes a victim. I have healthy boundaries and healthy friendships" But I was a victim to him, never believing it to be possible. Call us doormats if you must. But please give us the courtesy of walking in our shoes first.
Yes, indeed, unless you have had an experience with a narcissist you have no idea how charismatic and manipulative they are and how easy it is to be sucked in. I commend Sarah in her courage in writing about not just her compelling autobiography, but her darkest moments. That takes courage.I had an experience with a narcissist. I too feel shame at not realising something was wrong. I might add that I was 50 years old, not in my 20s and would be expected to be more worldly wise. Also I think of myself as intelligent! I have an honours degree, two post graduate diplomas and a masters degree. I say this not to praise myself but to demonstrate my shame at thinking academic achievement could protect me from abuse. This man was not a husband but a "friend." Perhaps I am fortunate in that unlike Bill who was/is? a high functioning narcissist, this man was a low functioning narcissist. By this I mean he was unemployable and living on a pension. Nevertheless he had grandiose ideas and believed himself to be special. Never contradict such a person! They respond with rage and it's always your fault as they take no responsibility for their own behaviour. This man would take offence at imaginary insults. He told the most terrible lies. In the end I actually developed panic attacks when I saw him and went into counseling. This first thing I learned was to WALK AWAY quickly as the counselor immediately recognised a narcissist from my description. I can now "smell" narcissists coming. And contrary to the rarity suggested by the good doctor in Sarah's book, they are quite commonplace and the frightening thing is, narcissism is becoming increasingly acceptable in our current society. More and more people think they are privileged and deserving, needing constant praise. Please, be very wary when you next meet a charismatic person. The greatest sinners are those who set themselves up as gurus and have the adulation of their devotees. I will name two of them that you will know: Andrew Cohen and Sai Baba. Look into their critiques if you can't believe me.
Thanks for you post Anon. You are correct that this condition is prevelant in todays society, and it takes for one of us to have first been badly bitten, in order that we can recognise the signs.I would disagree that Bill was 'high' functioning. He was never able to hold down a job, nor complete a project, and all his business ventures failed. He is now also unemployable, and lives from the state.A true high functioning narc/psychopath will excel in his/her career. Due to their charisma, they are commonly seen in well paid and high ranking positions. You don't have to look far into the corridors of power to spot a couple. Ask anybody who works in a coorporate environement and they're sure to have met a few of those pin striped predators.Good luck on your journey, and take care out there!Sarah
Yes, I can agree with you Sarah. I was comparing a man who never held down a job, liked to threaten suicide, and managed to (wangle?) a disability pension, with thinking of Bill as often employable and a big spender, therefore higher functioning. But yes you are right, the CEOs of many companies are successful narcissists who get where they are by stabbing others perceived as in their way in the back. I can think of a serious one who ran the Oil Company for which my husband worked. He and the next two under him were even referred to as "henchmen" by our local press. His behaviour was appalling (of course) and I kept telling my husband about narcissism and that there's nothing to be done, except leave. This CEO narcissist eventually left the company to take up a position as a University Vice Chancellor! Good Grief. People who make these appointments should take a mandatory course in recognising narcissists.PS, I apologise for being "anonymous," but don't have a URL.Anyway, signed, Penny.
Those of us that have been victims of narcissistic abuse may be able to recognise a little of ourselves in what Sam has said in this video - this is also something to be wary about and as a result I am always ensuring I am aware of my own behaviour in relation to others but in particular my own children. My husband completely reprogrammed my way of thinking and I thank God for my faith because the real me was bleeding through the entire time. My children have said to me that I keep them sane because of my friendly nature and genuine love for people. I am glad they feel that way and that my efforts can be felt and seen but it doesn't stop me seeing myself in some of what Sam said in my own feelings that I have about my children - that desperation to want to protect and molly coddle them that I 'sometimes' feel needs to be reigned in at times. Thankfully I am aware. This is where my husband and I differ but if you were to hear from him he would say that I am trying to ruin the children's lives. Actually now that I am seeing what I have written and taking it in - I can tell that I am being affected by the abuse - the projecting and mirroring. Narcissism is a curse indeed.