Narcissists are insidious

If you’ve read anything about narcissists and recovering from narcissistic abuse, you know that the best thing to do when you’re trying to get away from a narcissist is zero contact. The reason for this is that a narcissist is insidious.

narcissists are insidiousI’m a big fan of horror movies. Even if you’re not, you’ve probably heard of the movie Insidious, it’s had a lot of sequels. (I’ll try to keep this spoiler free!) I started thinking about how in Insidious, the little boy is haunted by an evil ghost. In photos, his mother noticed that the woman in a black veil kept getting closer and closer to him. It’s one of the creepiest parts of the movie. Little by little, the ghost is getting close enough to touch the little boy. So slowly and imperceptibly to the naked eye! You can only see the ghost in the photos.

Obviously the little boy’s mother was scared. Is there an evil ghost in a veil stalking her son?! Finally, in the very last photo, the scary old woman’s hand is nearly grabbing the boy’s shoulder. His mother stopped taking photos after that.

The word insidious means: “Proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects” and “treacherous or crafty.” Nothing describes a narcissist more perfectly. When you start to have even the slightest bit of contact with the narcissist, it might seem harmless at first – in fact, like any cycle of abuse they are usually extra nice when they’re trying to trick you into letting your guard down. Some might even apologize for what you’ve told them they have done to you, although it’s just a trick. The narcissistic personality does nothing wrong, and they have no problem pacifying you. They likely don’t remember or don’t care what they’ve done to hurt you in the past, the point is to get what they want.

a narcissist tricks you into trusting again If you have found the strength to go no contact with the narcissist, the the ultimate prize in this game is YOU. Even if he or she threw you away, called you horrible names, devalued you, divorced you, told everyone you were a horrible person, it doesn’t matter. As soon as it is your choice to not speak to them, they simply have to be in your life again. They can move on – you cannot. This is why you have to avoid returning calls, text messages, block them all social media, and never let your guard down. If you only do it 99 times out of 100, just like the little boy in Insidious, the narcissist will grab you from behind, latch on, and mess with your head until you start to think you were wrong about all that emotional abuse that you used to be so sure that they subjected you too. Maybe you overreacted, maybe you’re being unfair, everyone makes mistakes right? They wouldn’t want you back in their life if they didn’t care!

InsidiousWRONG. Back away from the phone. A narcissist cares about three things: themselves, their reputation/the way they are perceived by others, and winning. As soon as they have control over you again, they’ll stop wanting you.

Unfortunately it’s a lot harder to go no contact with a parent than it is to go no contact with your abusive ex-spouse. And that brings us to where we are today. The evil woman in the veil (aka Cruella) has got her claws back in her son, Bruce. After over a year of little contact with her and zero one on one contact, just two weeks after his therapist thought he was doing well enough that he didn’t need to come any more, he agreed to have brunch with her.

It’s hard not to just go, WTF kid?! Are you doing too well you have to go and mess it up for yourself?

But I understand. I have a parent who is very self centered and never empathized with me as a kid and just like Charlie Brown, you always go to kick that damned football and they always pull it away at the last moment. Every single time, you are surprised. Even if you’ve done it hundreds of times before. We are hard-wired to trust our parents, I think it must be biological.

We can’t stop him from spending time with her. He starts college in a week, his mistakes are his to make. It just makes me so angry because just a couple months ago, she posted a photo on facebook from many years ago. In it, she had a giant bruise on her arm that she had gotten during fitness bootcamp. She wrote this long, completely false story about how Sebastian had “beat” her for the last time the day she got that. She said all these things that were completely untrue, even lying about what she and the kids had done that day. She lies about everything, even inconsequential things! Supposedly their neighbor had witnessed it but did nothing. Sebastian hadn’t even gone over to her house that night (this incident allegedly happened after they separated.) So we of course get sent it, by more than two people actually, and even Bruce was like “what the hell, that never happened!” It’s hard for me to understand how he can look past that. So a couple Saturdays ago, Bruce left the house and spent over EIGHT HOURS with his mother. Just his mother, not even his mother and his sister. He didn’t tell Sebastian much about what happened, just that “she kind of took responsibility for everything she had said and done.” It’s just a trick though. Sadly I know that, and Sebastian knows that, but Bruce can’t or won’t see it.

It’s hard for me to understand, even knowing we are programmed to trust our parents, that he can just let her off the hook for lying about Sebastian beating her, just a couple months ago! How can he just look past that? He lives with this father, he loves his father, he knows that his father never beat his mother, yet he has apparently forgiven her for posting on facebook that Sebastian physically abused her!

The saddest part about it, if you have been hit by a loved on or spouse, you know that you don’t proudly take photos with your bruises prominently displayed, grinning like you think you are the hottest person in the room! You hide them, you cover them up with makeup, scarfs, and sweaters even in the summer – you are ashamed. You are terrified that someone might see and figure it out. It’s just another example of how this vile, disgusting creature lies and portrays herself as a victim in order to get attention. All she cares about is people on facebook, her so-called “friends,” telling her how brave and strong she is, how proud they are that she got out. It’s despicable, given that she actually hit Sebastian many times and also disgraceful because there are so many people that die every day because of spousal abuse. But there’s nothing this woman will not say or do to get attention. There’s no lie she won’t tell. She will throw anyone under the bus if it means that people will praise her. It makes me sick that Bruce is opening himself up to this evil woman again and it makes me even sicker that there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.

A very un-merry Christmas

shutterstock_22424299-280x186The holiday visit with Harley was tough. As I mentioned in my last post, it’s become clear that she lies, a LOT. That is, when she is in the room with us. She spent most of the visit locked in the guest room/Sebastian’s office, binge-watching Law & Order S.V.U. on Netflix. I would question whether or not this was appropriate for a 12 year old girl to watch but I know that she watches it with her mom 24/7 and also if you recall, her mother watched 50 Shades Of Grey with her and her brother when she was TEN years old. But let’s all remember what a bad parent Sebastian is. She’s been interacting with us as little as possible. She barely eats, but I know that her mother seems to be purposely trying to give her an eating disorder, so it’s not surprising she doesn’t eat meals with us but there’s candy wrappers left everywhere in her room because she’s secretly eating candy. We had guests the first week of January who found candy wrappers stuck everywhere around the guest room.

173a039bf55caefff353ce92a4ffa44dWe tried our best but she’s like a stone wall. I try to tell myself that a lot of this is typical pre-teen/teen behavior, I didn’t love interacting with my parents at that age either, but she seems so unhappy that it’s heartbreaking. So like the kid she still is, she wanted to open presents ASAP. It actually made me feel really good, like, yes! Normal kid behavior! Maybe there is hope. She tore open all the presents and she was excited about a couple of them. All in all, she got nearly $500 worth of cash, gift cards, presents, etc, not a bad haul for a 12 year old. What was tough was how she acted afterward. She didn’t say thank you, which is I’m sure typical for a kid, but she shut herself up in her grandmother’s (where we opened presents) guest room and wanted nothing to do with any of us again! So when she was asked to come out, I was sitting in a chair with a stack of my and Sebastian’s presents in front of me, and she acted like she was going to kick them. I looked at her and she said “Don’t you ever just want to do something like that? Kick something or break something?” I said “No, not really.”

She proceeded to tell me that sometimes when she’s holding a baby, she wants to drop it on purpose. She specifically said “a 3 month old baby” and I was thinking, “OMG this is horrifying! Is she trying to get attention or does she actually have urges to smash people’s Christmas gifts and drop a 3 month old baby on the floor????” She laughed and walked away and I was speechless. It made me really afraid that being raised by a narcissist is making her into a narcissist or sociopath herself. Even if it was a joke, that’s a really messed up joke. It was a really hard week for me personally. Sebastian says that he has given up on having a good relationship with Harley because he knows that there’s no way to fight against Cruella constantly bad-mouthing him and actively trying to turn Harley against him. I think on some level I was hoping that if she came into a normal, loving home that she might see that it’s not always the way it is with her mother, that it is not normal in her home. We have lost her though, it was really clear she doesn’t want anything to do with us, not even Bruce. He tried so hard to spend time with her and she rejected him, it really hurt him. Harley is learning that selfishness is normal, that everyone just wants to get what they want from people and then tosses them aside. She is learning that it’s ok to be nice to everyone when there’s a gift on the line but as soon as she has it she can go back to YouTube and texting her friends, what she really wants to do. She’s not learning that other people have feelings that we, as human beings, need to respect.

She’s being raised by a narcissist to be a narcissist.

It’s so scary but it finally hit me in the face – we are helpless. There’s nothing we can do. We tried to get custody, we failed, we lost her. She’s going to have such a hard life, just like her mother has, expecting everyone to give her attention and presents and do things for her 24/7 but never giving anything back and never being satisfied. I don’t know that I knew your heart could break in such a way for another person. I don’t even know how to end this post, on some level I’m still devastated by what has been done to this poor child. No one will help her. No one will help us help her. How is that ok?

Don’t want to take responsibility? Get amnesia!

forgiveHi everyone! Sorry it has been so long since my last post. We had a rough time over the holiday break when Harley was visiting. I started a blog post but never finished it, I will get it finished soon and post it. Things have been quite on the narcissist front. Cruella seems to have gotten busy with her life. Right before New Year’s she showed up at the house, unannounced and certainly uninvited, and managed to surprise Sebastian when he was out taking the Christmas lights down. We had our lawyer send her a letter stating that she was not to come to our home and if she did we would call the police and his letter would serve as proof she knew that she was not to come here. After that, she got quiet. No angry emails, no phone calls or texts, a week or two ago I started getting kind of anxious. It has been long enough that you start to feel like maybe everything will be normal and we can all move on with our lives but if you have a narcissist or a sociopath in your life, you know that’s not how it works. They strike when you least expect it, and it is never over.

mjaxmi0yotkxzdc2ztu5nwy2ztdlBruce just had his birthday and of course there was nothing from Cruella – no call, no card, of course no present. She claimed that she was going to get him a Christmas gift but it never showed up. No surprise there, that would mean spending her money on someone besides herself. Because we are all from the same area, we have a lot of mutual acquaintances. I think I have mentioned before, she never bothered to unfriend many of Sebastian’s relatives on facebook, I was shocked to learn that she’s still facebook friends with his lawyer! So we do hear things from various people. On Bruce’s birthday, a friend sent me a picture of what Cruella had posted, a bunch of pictures of him and things like “If you are ever free to be in my life again, I pray that you break free…” making it sound like we are keeping Bruce from her which of course we are not but she loves playing the sad, abused ex. Bruce had recently become facebook friends with her, not that he uses it much because teenagers all seem to think it’s lame, but I mentioned it to him and he looked at it. In hindsight, maybe I should not have said anything because it made him angry.

After a couple weeks of stewing, he decided that he would send Cruella an email trying to explain yet again why he is not in her life – it is not that Sebastian is keeping him from seeing her, he is still angry that she lied about having cancer and told him she hated him since he was a young child. Pretty blatant things! Today he received 4 email responses, for some reason she always sends multiple rambling messages, I’m not sure if it’s an attempt to throw him off or if she just likes to hear herself talk or both. The kicker to 4 very long emails, in addition to saying she refuses to discuss Sebastian and then badmouthing Sebastian, was to say that she’s sure that she’s sorry for doing the things that Bruce says that she did but she has no memory of any of it because she has lost her memory. Let that one sink in. She says basically the last two years “are all dark” except of course things Sebastian has “done to her” that she somehow remembers when everything else is “a complete blank.” She says “Harley told me that I was very out of line so I believe her, I can’t apologize for specific things because I don’t know what they were and I don’t even have that email address anymore so I can’t go back and read the emails.”

That’s a new one for me. I guess nothing should surprise me. It’s like a normal brain can’t possibly comprehend how a narcissist’s brain works. Never in a million years would I have guessed that she was going to try to avoid responsibility by claiming to have amnesia. I guess we are living in a daytime soap. Maybe she lost her memory when she was being held in a dungeon by Sebastian’s evil twin! Seriously, I am just so WTF.

Lies are all a narcissist knows

426db393d87a412f69ccef58534b6deeIf you have a narcissist or someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) in your life, the one thing that you have likely learned – probably the hard way – is that they lie. They lie all the time; about everything; sometimes for no apparent reason; lies are like their air.

As adults, when we catch someone in a lie, we learn to question what they say or do after that, because they have proven themselves to be someone that lies. With children, it’s not so cut and dry. Our children believe what we tell them, because for the first part of their lives, we are the only thing that is keeping them alive. They have to trust us because they have no other choice. Mom/dad/parent/caregiver = life. Our children trust us absolutely. If you tell your young child an outrageous lie, like a man that lives at the North Pole flies all around the world in one night in a sleigh pulled by reindeer and leaves presents for all the good children for example, they will believe you. To a child, what comes out of  their parents’ mouth is as good as gold. As children age, they learn how to be people by watching those around them. We have all witnessed or heard funny stories of a child learning to talk saying a curse word because they’ve heard their parents say it. brttibocaaa_vxxThere was a whole episode of “Modern Family” where a child keeps saying f***; and another where she emulates her aunt’s snarky responses “want me to call you a wambulance? wah, wah.” It’s even a meme. In the episode, her parents blame themselves and each other for her rude behavior but it turns out, she’s just saying what she has heard her aunt say to other people.

Children learn how to behave from us.

But what happens when the child’s primary caregiver is a narcissist..?

They learn that you lie. You say whatever you need to say in order to get what you want or to get yourself out of trouble. Lying is ok, lying is what we do. They don’t question whether or not it is ok or good to tell lies, just like Lily from Modern Family didn’t question whether or not it was ok to make fun of people’s feelings by going “wah wah.” They don’t have the ability to take a step back and look critically at behavior, they only know that the people they trust are doing it so it must be ok. Frightening isn’t it? The problem is, if that’s all a child sees and knows, they start to behave like the narcissist.

i-hate-liars-hypocrites-and-peopleWe realized that Harley was lying, a lot, in huge ways, and to manipulate, over the summer when she visited. She concocted a wild story that in hindsight should have been a red flag, but at the time we had no reason to disbelieve her. She said that her mother was forcing her to change who she is to conform with what her mother wanted her to be – she was forcing her to change her appearance and her personality. Seeing as her mother is a narcissist who cares more about how she appears to those around her than anything else, it made perfect sense that it could happening. At 12, Harley is beginning to be her own person and no longer the perfect little Barbie doll that her mother can mold into the blond, thin, gymnastics-doing, better than everyone else, hugely popular junior “mean girl” that her mother had wished she herself was as a child. It was not a stretch of the imagination to believe that Cruella would respond to Harley’s natural, age-appropriate differentiation and trying to figure out who she is by demanding that she stay who Cruella wants her to be. It caused Sebastian and I a significant amount of distress which culminated in him actually having a phone conversation with Cruella – something he refuses to do 99.9% of the time, unless it’s a legitimate emergency. After questioning from both parents and Cruella’s denial that she was doing anything of the sort, Harley admitted that she had lied about it, on purpose, in an attempt to cause her parents to fight. Then Harley announced that the truth, which she as supposed to discuss with her father but never brought up, was that she supposedly wanted to change her last name from her father’s name to her mother’s maiden name. She was afraid to tell him and so she made up a story about her mother oppressing her in order to distract everyone.

39ebfeaa96d1d84efb17b155618bf690Now, she is visiting for the Christmas break, and we have caught her in several lies over the last four days. First, she told me a story about getting frostbite two years ago, one that I was fairly certain was not true, given that she has not lost any fingers or toes and I was sure I’d remember hearing about that. It would have been a pretty big deal! She showed me her pinky finger would not bend to touch her palm and said that was due to frostbite. That seemed pretty iffy to me but I just let it go. Then, she was telling us all stories about how she “calls out” her teachers because she knows more than they do so she’s always telling them that they are wrong and correcting them in class. Clearly the 12 year old knows everything… I wonder where she picked THAT up?! She claimed that she has never gotten into trouble for talking back all the time, which cannot possibly be true. If she was constantly telling her teachers they are wrong and arguing with them in class, she would have been at least sent to the office a few times.

Last, it came to a head last night in an incident that was clearly and elaborate, obvious lie. She heard Bruce ask me if he could eat the starburst candy that was sitting in the kitchen. I told him yes, but to please leave me the individual sized sour patch kids bag. Harley immediately pipes up with a very unnecessarily detailed story. She said: Oh, you know I am using a purse that I don’t usually use, only for special occasions. The last time I used it was on Halloween. Last night when you were asleep, I dropped it on the kitchen floor and everything spilled out. I bet I picked it up by accident thinking it was mine from Halloween. 

Um, really? That is an extremely detailed story! She said “I will go check in my room for it.” (The guest room, where she is sleeping, is also Sebastian’s home office.) I told her it was not a big deal, not to worry, but she insisted on going and looking for it. Like 30 seconds later she came out and said “I found it in dad’s desk drawer! Dad, why were their sour patch kids in YOUR desk drawer?”

Bruce said, “Oh come on! You took those!”

Harley was insistent that she had not. “NO! They were in dad’s desk drawer!”

Obviously, a 12 year old child is not as skilled a liar as a 45 year old narcissist, so it was blatantly obvious that her story was fake. Her weird sense of urgency when I said it was ok; the long story about spilling the purse which obviously didn’t happen; finding it “in a desk drawer” after 30 seconds of going to “look for it;” blaming her dad; it all adds up to a really stupid lie. Sebastian was just going to let it drop but when she left the room I asked him to address it. I wasn’t upset with her taking the candy but lying about it was not ok. I know she has likely learned that you lie to get out of trouble, you like to get what you want, you lie to have something to talk about, you like to make yourself sound better than you are, you lie, you lie, you lie, because that’s what she sees from her mother. But lying about everything isn’t ok! Sebastian told her “Harley, we aren’t mad at you and you aren’t in trouble, but it’s not ok to lie about taking the candy.” She said “Okkkkkkkkkay…” all drawn out in a tone of voice like “why are you saying this to me when I didn’t take the candy?” And that was that. Honestly, I feel like I will start to question everything she says now. Not just because of the candy, but because most of what I have heard her say on this trip has been an obvious lie. The worst part is that we are helpless to do anything. A couple weeks a year with us is not going to make a difference. She has learned that lying is what you do, and she will probably always be a liar.

Narcissists can’t admit they are not perfect

Cruella shared on social media a photo of herself reading a book by Brene Brown. (Remember, we don’t “stalk” her like she does us, she’s purposely never unfriended Sebastian’s relatives. I’m sure it’s to bait them so they will tell us the horrible things she says about us.) At the time, I found this incredibly ironic, and still do, because Brene Brown writes books about being vulnerable and accepting our imperfections. Two things that narcissists absolutely do not and will not do.

149196

This is a quote from Brene: “Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.” Because they cannot empathize with others, those with NPD have no sense of belonging, it’s “every man for himself.” Someone with narcissistic personality disorder is the type of person who will sabotage you, even if you are on their team! Narcissists either win or lose, there’s no second place, they’re either the best or they’re nothing. The book that she took a picture with (no telling if she actually purchased it or read it) was “Rising Strong” a book about picking yourself up and becoming stronger – which perfectly plays into Cruella’s “unfaltering, resilient victim/survivor” persona. I’ve started noticing a difference between the way women with NPD and men with NPD seem to view themselves and allow others to see them. I may write a post about that soon. While a male narcissist would want to project only power and strength, a female narcissist knows that everyone loves the underdog. By portraying herself like the heroine of a Lifetime Original Movie: victorious over an abusive husband, never giving up in spite of being abandoned with no money or job, fighting to keep herself and her children afloat even though her son has been brainwashed by his father, rising from the ashes of a marriage she was always too good for – Cruella paints herself as a strong survivor. Every bad thing that happened is absolutely not her fault but hardships she survives because she is so strong! What an inspiration to the world!

bbShe rewrites history in order to make herself not only sound better but to show more and more “abusers” who were out to get her. She didn’t tell Sebastian that she didn’t want to be married to him anymore in hopes of manipulating him into acting how she wanted, she courageously left an abusive husband after having her will beat down for 20 years – he was never able to break her! Wow! Or, she rose from the ashes, moving her kids almost a thousand miles away after her husband abandoned her and the kids, penniless. The story changes depending on who she’s trying to manipulate.

She didn’t get fired because she was irresponsible and couldn’t get along with her boss and her coworkers, she was forced to quit her job because she had breast cancer, and move in with her best friend for help and support! She didn’t have to move back in with her parents because she was fired from yet another job, in a new state, after just a few months there – she came back to save money, a responsible choice! Look at Cruella, always fighting to keep her head above water, tirelessly facing whatever life throws her way with grace and humility. Don’t you admire her strength? How she never gives up? How she’s always saying inspirational things about her victories against the odds on facebook?

That is how she gets her narcissistic supply, her attention, her admiration. This is the persona she has adopted for herself. It’s not imperfection though. She never talks about being less than perfect, about how she choose this supposedly abusive man and stayed with him for 20 years.  She is the perfect victim/survivor. With the perfect children. Denied the perfect marriage she deserves by a cruel world, a world she shakes her tired fist at and says “you haven’t got the best of me! Oh no! I will survive. As God is my witness, I will never be hungry again!” Narcissists cannot and will not ever be vulnerable, because to do so would be to drop their armor that says they are blameless, perfect, always right, never to be questioned, always having a retort to show you how wrong you are and right they are. Be on the lookout for other female narcissists who won’t admit they do anything wrong, even as they paint themselves to be victim/survivors. I suspect this isn’t an original manipulation that only Cruella has figured out.

2fe7071425f546740fc1dae392b97478-1

How do you co-parent with someone completely irrational?

I was reading this great article on Psych Central Ten Rules for Effective Co-Parenting. It’s a great article, and it makes it clear that the new title of my blog is an oxymoron because it is impossible to actually co-parent with a narcissist!

It’s a great article, here are some of the points and why it doesn’t work/can’t work with Cruella, or any person with Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

698180d28b7f23cc3394af28590c15a8

1. It’s all about the kid’s best interest.
The end. End of story. When you are dealing with a narcissist, it’s NEVER about anyone else, it’s only ever about them. If they have children, the children exist to bring them validation, praise, attention, etc. They exist to reflect well upon the narcissist. Their needs must be the needs of the narcissist, they must want what the narcissist wants. Literally nothing Cruella has done in the last 3 years have been about Harley or her best interest – none of the moves, attempting to alienate her from her father, nothing. The problem with young children is that they don’t have the ability to understand that their needs can be different from those of a parent. They rightfully assume that the parent always wants what is best for them, but that is not the case when your parent has a personality disorder.

2. The rules should be the same.
This one doesn’t even apply WITHIN the narcissist’s household. The rules are ever changing, there is no continuity. There may be different rules for different children, if one is liked and the other is not. The rules change based on the narcissists wants and whims. Children (and adults too!) must constantly walk on eggshells, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

4. Communicate via internet
We are actually working on this one now. Cruella for some reason wants to use a co-parenting website that you message through that limits “abusive” language. Which is so funny because Sebastian is never abusive to her but she is constantly sarcastic and negative. She doesn’t yell at him anymore but I think that is only because he refuses to talk to her on the phone. He has told her that once they pay for this site he will not communicate with her in any other way, no text or email, but narcissists HATE feeling like they are not in control so I imagine that the texts will continue. She likes to send 10-15 text messages back to back, ranting about things.

5. Keep kids out of the middle.
The article mentions parents can “unintentionally” put kids in the middle, but Cruella puts Harley in the middle on purpose. She manipulates her to make Harley feel and think what Cruella wants her to feel and think. She tells her things to say, and it’s easy to tell because she uses words she wouldn’t normally use like “disparage.” What’s sad is that Harley is still too young to be able to take a step back and see how her mother is manipulating and using her. I only hope that, like Bruce, she will come to see Cruella for who she really is – but Cruella’s abuse of Harley is much more subtle and insidious.

7. Be honest
Honestly is not a tool in the narcissist’s wheelhouse. If Sebastian is honest with Harley about the things her mom says and does, Harley accuses him of “disparaging her mother.” Not a 12 year old word, as I mentioned above. How simply saying what Cruella did is belittling, I do not know. Cruella is not capable of being honest, because she believes all her lies. Even those that directly contradict things she said before. Such as, Sebastian “abandoned her and the kids” and then a week later saying he “was abusive and she escaped a marriage of torture.” You cannot both leave someone and be abandoned by them.

10. Act like an adult
Does wordpress have emojiis? I want to put a whole line of laughing face emojiis here. Narcissists are at the heart of their personalities, overgrown petulant children. The part of them that empathizes with others has never developed, so it’s like dealing with a toddler.

Out of order, I wanted to mention 9. Step-parents are assistant parents.
This is a tough one for me. Bruce is almost 17, so he doesn’t require a lot of parenting. Mostly he just wants someone to listen to him talk, he’s a great kid. He requires minimal reminding to take out the trash and wash the dishes, he’s such a great kid it’s extra sad to me that his mother was so abusive of him. With Harley, she’s so blatantly disrespectful of her dad, I can’t imagine how she would be to me if I tried to tell her what to do. In a post that I never made public a couple years ago, I talked about how she got angry with me on a trip we all took, told me to “shut up” and shoved me because she thought I was agreeing with her brother that her favorite band was stupid. Sebastian and I had our first real fight ever over that, because I believe kids should respect adults, unless given a reason not to, and physical violence is never ok with me. Yes, it was just a shove not a punch but there’s no justification for someone doing that sort of thing, especially not a child to an adult!

I may never have the opportunity to be “assistant parent.” Sebastian has given Harley the choice on whether or not to visit, even when she lived in another state, and she declined to visit once although she did come last Christmas and for three weeks this past summer. You would think that living two hours away we would see more of her, but we have only seen her once since finding out that they had moved to our state. That was only for an hour, when he met her and her mother at a coffee shop to give them some items that she had left over the summer. Given that she’s becoming more and more like her mother: demanding, self-centered, dismissive, invalidating of other people’s feelings, disrespectful to everyone, and has been caught lying excessively in the last few months, I wonder if she will want anything to do with a household that has structure and rules – given the choice.

It took a day to hit me…

I have come to love PsychCentral, as you may see from some of my posts. I was reading the latest post on “Knotted the mother and daughter relationship” by Peg Streep. The post is 4 questions every child of an unloving mother asks. It is definitely worth a read, I love that whole blog! The 4 questions are: Why doesn’t my mother love me? Will my mother ever love me? What can I do to make my mother love me? and Will anyone ever love me?
lonely-unloved-ignored That’s when it hit me. A line from The Letter: “At the heart of it is the fact that all the people who were supposed to love me never did, being deemed unlovable can carry some huge rage.”

The irony is, I’m sure, lost on Cruella, that she is trying to ask for understanding, she was angry and abusive because she was never loved, in a letter where she tells her son she has hated him and resents him.

  Holy crap. “The people who were supposed to love me never did.” Does it make it ok that she says she loved him until he grew up enough to have a personality? Do those two or so years matter enough that the next 15 shouldn’t? That’s the self-focus and self centeredness of the narcissist. She excuses not loving her son by saying she was never loved. Isn’t it a shame she didn’t break that pattern? She says throughout The Letter that she loves him, but she can’t love him and hate and resent him all at the same time. Parents are supposed to protect their children. What does a child do when the person they need protecting from the most is a parent..? 😦

Inside the twisted mind of a narcissist


About a year and a half ago, after Bruce came to live with us and told his mom in writing that he didn’t want to talk to her because he was upset that she told him she had cancer when she did not, she wrote “The Letter.” He probably would’ve started talking to her again if she had just left it alone, but she instead decided to write a letter to “apologize” that minimized her emotional abuse of him, attempted to manipulate him and make him feel guilty, put some of the blame for her actions on him, completely changed past events, and finally told him she has hated him for most of his life. In my memory, it was absolutely the worst thing I have ever read. When he initially received it he did not read it, but forwarded it to Sebastian who showed it to me. We all advised him not to read it, his therapist read it and told him not to read it, but he couldn’t help himself.

My original intention with this post was to share parts of The Letter that illustrate how the narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) mind works. I wanted to show the parts that were manipulative, minimizing, blaming her teenage son for her bad behavior, etc. I thought it would be helpful for other people to see how different the mind of a narcissist works from those of people who don’t have personality disorders. As it turns out, even knowing The Letter was the worst thing I had ever read, a year and a half had actually dulled how horrific it is. Upon re-reading it, I realized that it is so horrible and gut-wrenching that even though this blog is anonymous, I cannot publicly share the despicable things his mother said to him. I will instead share the different points of the letter, and then share in her own words, her description of herself.

The Letter

  • It begins by her saying she loves him and that she is sorry that he hates her. She says she understands that it’s because of things she did and she deserves it but that she is heartbroken without him and misses him and doesn’t understand his need to torture her with silence. (Playing the victim, guilt, manipulation, projection.)

 

  • She then shares some happy memories from when he was a baby. She talks about how she was devoted to him and his father was absent (lie, manipulation) but once he was a toddler he started to like his father and because she hated Sebastian so much, she took Bruce’s love for him as him choosing Sebastian over her. (distorted thinking, selfishness) She became resentful of Bruce and started to hate him, even though she wouldn’t realize until years later that it was hatred and resentment that she was feeling.

 

  • Then she tells him that when she got pregnant with his sister, she chose Harley over him and continued to favor her for the next 8 years. She believed Bruce did not love, want, or need her. (distorted thinking, selfishness) When he was 12 and she realized her marriage to Sebastian was over, she decided to try to win back her son’s love by buying him things and spending lots of money on him, and ignoring his sister. (not even sure what this is, distorted views of love and parenting?)

 

  • When Sebastian completely abandoned the three of them and left them to fend for themselves financially (complete and total lie) and Bruce will remember it because he “lived it” she for some reason decided that moving nearly 1000 miles away to be on their own instead of moving to yet a different state to live with her best friend was best for Bruce somehow so she did it for him. (lie, she moved there because she had a male friend there that she knew she could exploit for help, money, and attention, and she did.) Then, Bruce decided to abandon her in this place she didn’t want to be in the first place. (lies, manipulation, guilt.) Also noteworthy that Cruella keeps telling Harley they are moving back to this place she supposedly didn’t want to live.

 

  • Then, oddly, she begins to talk about me. She characterizes Sebastian beginning to date as: “brutal and violent and abusive. I was sick for weeks. Throwing up, unbearable headaches, insomnia, exhaustion I was a mess.” (really distorted thinking, guilt, manipulation) By then Bruce had started acting like his father (cold, distant, dismissive) and decided to live with him and Cruella was so overcome with it all that she had to quit her job and then move to another state to live with her best friend. (irrational blame, guilt, manipulation) What’s oddest about this is that her story for why she moved is constantly changing. She has said on her now-deleted blog that it was “to begin cancer treatments,” she told Sebastian it was “to get help for her mental illness,” now she’s telling Bruce that it was because of him. Also noteworthy that she was fired from her job because she couldn’t get along with her boss and was irresponsible, she didn’t quit. She says: “I gave you everything you wanted, at great personal cost and you still treated me like shit.” She also notes that her anger and hatred toward her son has continued to grow and grow.

 

  • She then tells him that she lied to him about having cancer due to finding out he had read her blog when she “had not slept in almost 3 days, alertness was no longer sustainable with caffeine and I honestly remember almost nothing. All of that anger came out. I was scared, I was angry, I felt threatened, I felt violated, I was in complete panic.” She then goes on to say that because she came from an abusive family and had been in an abusive marriage, lying is what came naturally to her so that is what she did. It’s funny that she says she remembers “almost nothing” yet can give so much detail about how she felt. She’s inadvertently being honest – lying is what she does, lying is who she is. (lies, minimizing, excuses, manipulation.)

 

Now, because I feel that it is not a violation of Bruce to share this, here is Cruella describing herself in her own words (probably the most honest she has ever been about or with herself):

I have a god awful vindictive streak that is my absolute worse personality trait. I despise nothing about myself the way I utterly despise this trait. When I am alert and have all my faculties and I feel threatened, I spend every ounce of grit I have keeping that viciousness silent. You have seen me get angry and silent before, well when that happens all my energy is focused on not saying the most hurtful thing I can find about a person. When I get so angry I get cold all of a sudden I can see exactly how, to hurt and destroy the individual in front of me. I am not proud of this trait and it has earned me a well-deserved reputation as a vicious bitch in the past.

I never use it, not even with your father. (lie) I made myself a promise years ago not to do it again, and I have kept that promise. But when my faculties are impaired the wounded attack animal shows up without restraint. My faculties were down that night and the horrible part is I am quite positive I just wanted to strike back. I am sorry more than you know, although I don’t know how to apologize for that one. None of what I told you justifies my betrayal. I only wanted to tell you exactly how I failed you. That night when your father told me I couldn’t see you, I lost it. All the rage and anger I have been harboring for years came out. It was truly ugly, I was broken, devastated. I was a screaming, crying lump on the floor. I have never cried like that in my life. I had lost you forever and my heart finished breaking. By the time your email came I was numb. I tried to answer your questions but I was barely able to read them, I had to get help to answer them. At the heart of it is the fact that all the people who were supposed to love me never did, being deemed unlovable can carry some huge rage. So now, I also have to fill the hole it left and that is a really big hole. I have spent a lot of time feeling empty and my mind wanders in bizarre places without my old friend anger.

This is probably the most insight I have ever read from a person with narcissistic personality disorder and the most honesty that one will ever express about themselves and their disease/disorder. I decided to call this post “inside the twisted mind of a narcissist” because these paragraphs are a window into the mind of a very sick person, desperately in need of help. It’s sad that during lucid moments she realizes how sick she is and doesn’t seek help. I have read that the feeling of a hole inside and feeling unlovable are traits of Borderline Personality Disorder which is why I also think she might have BPD. It is possible to have BPD and NPD. Where she mentions about being able to figure out what to say or do to “destroy the individual in front of me” is something that several personality disorders have, the ability to find what makes a person tick and their fears and exploit them is what makes people with NPD such good manipulators. They know the buttons to press. This is also true of sociopaths. I don’t think she’s a sociopath, because I think she does love her kids, as much as she is able to, in her own sick twisted way. She just doesn’t have the ability to empathize or care beyond how it affects her and her feelings.

This is the only way I can fight back

I asked myself earlier “why did you revive this blog?” I started it because I needed a place to vent, and I hoped maybe I could get some feedback from others on how tough it is to be a step-parent. Now, I have no outlet for the things I know, about her and about what it is like to have to deal with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I can’t warn people about her. I can’t save Harley from her. I can’t tell the people she spreads lies about Sebastian to that she is lying. I can’t tell people that I’m not being abused like she says I have to be since he is abusive. She goes out of her way to make sure we hear about the things she posts on Facebook, but she can’t be challenged there. I can’t call her a liar in front of all those people, some of whom live in my city, some of whom are people I know! There’s no recourse. This blog, anonymously, is the only way I can fight back.

projectionProjection is a narcissist’s favorite delusion, she takes whatever horrible thing she has done and says that you did it. She takes whatever negative character traits she has, and says that you have them. I will be writing a post about projection, but you can read more about it now on the wonderful blog “Narcissism Meets Normalcy” by Lenora Thompson, who writes about her own experience as a child being raised by narcissists. One way that Cruella projects is to say that Sebastian and I “spy” on her. She will write little snide comments on Facebook posts for us, telling us something or telling our “spy” to tell us something. The funny part is, we don’t cyber-stalk her like she does to me (projecting!) she has actually never unfriended several of Sebastian’s family members on Facebook. They tell us things, because of the vileness she posts there. Lies like Sebastian has never paid child support! Just completely blatant lies! 1000% untruths! We have canceled checks to prove it! But he has learned to let it go, I guess after two decades living with a narcissist you learn how to let things go, but I don’t know how yet. I get angry on his behalf! I want to scan those checks and post them to her Facebook wall angrily saying “yes! here’s the nearly $700 monthly checks he paid you for the FULL CHILDSUPPORT even after Bruce lived here. Where did that money go Cruella? To your shopping fund, most likely. You certainly didn’t give any of it to Bruce. You certainly didn’t care about if Bruce had everything he needed while you continued for four months to get child support for two kids when only one lived with you!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

See? Angry. I feel righteously angry at her blatant lies. Why does she still have to attempt abuse him? I b85ba79b88f49a8d19dce0bd65ce949fguess because she is sick. I told him once that even if he had ended up never getting sober and homeless on the street, penniless, even then she would not be satisfied. She probably wouldn’t even be satisfied if he were dead. The joke is on her though because we are happy and she is still miserable, sad, and alone, living back with her parents in a state she swore up and down she would never come back to – and it’s not because of Sebastian, it’s not because of her parents, it’s not because people are out to get her, it’s because she’s a horrible, awful person and anyone who sees the real her is sickened by it and wants to get as far away from her as possible. I only wish that Harley was able to. That’s the only place our happiness falters, is in our worry for her. Even Sebastian can’t find a way to have peace and not worry about his child.

I may not be able to tell all her facebook friends what a lying, horrible, abusive person and parent she is, but at least I can say it here. This is how I fight back. Until the day I can finally say, you will never abuse any of us again. Until it is finally safe to show my face and tell the world who she is, because truthfully the abuse is HER shame, not the shame of those she abuses. No one deserves to live with narcissistic abuse.

Update, fall 2016

Much has happened since my last post, which was supposed to be published in July 2015. I want to give as much info as possible before I start getting into details because a LOT has changed!

  • Bruce has not seen or talked to Cruella in almost a year, since she sent him a letter that was supposed to be an apology but spent about eight pages saying in a lot of different ways that she “has hated him since the time he was two years old because he loved his father and she hated his father so much that she couldn’t love Bruce if he loved Sebastian.” I’ve read and heard about some pretty awful stuff but to tell your child you hate them and have pretty much all their life is a new low. It’s right down there with lying and telling your child you have cancer when you don’t I guess.
  • Since we are now married, Sebastian, Bruce and I all live together in a new house. In spite of the drama, most of the control Cruella has over us only comes in the form of worrying about Bruce or when I get angry because of how she is hurting Bruce and/or Sebastian.
  • We have spent over $12,000 in legal fees and lawyer bills to do absolutely nothing and nothing has changed really. Sebastian has full physical custody of Bruce and Cruella has full physical custody of Harley, and they still both have joint legal custody.
  • Cruella moved for the THIRD time in three years, putting Harley in yet another school/city/state. Only this time, Cruella decided to pretend she had not moved and told Harley to lie to Sebastian. A lot of time, heartache, and expense went into finding where they are now, which turns out to be 2 hours away. She had to move back to her hometown and in with her parents.
  • Cruella has made it a point to let me know she is still cyber-stalking me, classic narcissistic abuse, she “likes” things I post on Pinterest so I can see that she is looking at my stuff. It makes me very happy I made this blog anonymous. However, her being only 2 hours away worries me that the stalking might escalate to physical, in-person stalking. She also told Harley to mention a trip we recently took that I documented on Instagram, so that we know she also monitors my instagram. I refuse to be driven off social media however, so I’ve started posting things on a delay in case she tries to find us based on those posts. Sort of like celebrities have to do!
  • Cruella hacked into Sebastian’s email and then blamed it on Harley. Luckily no damage was done.
  • Harley has been lying to Sebastian pretty much non-stop. It’s hard to tell what her mother is telling her to say or do and what she comes up with on her own. She is still a kid, but I’m sure that seeing the narcissistic behavior is teaching Harley that it’s “normal” to act the way her mother acts. She has told Bruce she thinks it is “stupid” that he doesn’t want to see their mom. She told her dad that he didn’t try hard enough to find her address because when they moved and refused to say where they were, he could have just gotten an app that you put in someone’s name and it gives you their address. So it was his fault he couldn’t find her, not her mom’s fault for refusing to say where they were or her fault for lying and saying they hadn’t moved. Typical narcissistic behavior which is really scary coming from a kid.

I know it breaks Sebastian’s heart to know that his daughter might grow up to be a narcissist just like her mom, because she doesn’t know any other way to be. As you can imagine, Cruella’s family is pretty sick too, so Harley isn’t getting any other positive behavior to mirror even though they’re living with other people. I’ll be talking about some of this stuff in more detail, I just wanted to give an update since so much time had passed.