However, because narcissists are principally motivated to pursue their own interests, have lower ethical standards, and are willing to transgress social norms, they can put the institutions they lead at risk. We report three studies showing that individuals who are more narcissistic are more willing to lie, cheat, and steal than those who are less narcissistic.
What is Real?
I have identified four distinct stages in the journey to wholeness.
Our lives become (or continue to be) a carefully constructed illusion based on how it looks, what people will think, and what we imagine will get us the love and security we so desperately crave.
This is why grandmothers continue to “make peace at all costs” rather than saying what they see, need and want. Some have called it the disease to please.
Pretending that everything is okay when in our hearts we know that is not true can only go so far. We go along to get along. We smile in public and cry in private. We live a lie, and it eats at our souls every day.
Women think if we ignore it, maybe it will go away or time will heal all wounds. The thing is, time doesn’t heal buried pain. It has to be unearthed and acknowledged before it will pass away. Pain that gets buried alive poisons the rest of our lives.
Divorce is a harsh word when applied to our mother-child relationships, isn’t it? But it happens whether we acknowledge it or not. Divorce occurs when all communication has broken down and attempts at reconciliation fail.
It is the most painful dark night of the soul. With divorce comes all the drama of severed relationships, he-said she-said finger pointing, and drama triangles where people talk about each other, but never directly to one another so healing could occur. We might as well lawyer up and some do. It’s called Grandparent Rights.
Last is the place of acceptance. There is no anger, no angst, no more bargaining. It is where we accept what life is handing out right now and the fighting is done.
You have decided what you do and do not want, what you will and will not stand for, and are making decisions to move forward with or without the resolution you may have hoped for. You are free to stay or go because you have become dedicated to reality at all costs. https://sixtyandme.com/how-to-divorce-your-adult-children-and-restore-your-sanity/
As another birthday (or Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or holiday) passes without word from your adult child, you feel more hurt than ever. Doesn’t my child have any empathy? you ask yourself. Doesn’t she care about what it’s like for me, not hearing from her today?
It’s very sad to think that your own flesh and blood could feel less concern about leaving you alone on a special day than a stranger might. And a lack of empathy is one possible (but not required) criterion in the diagnosis of narcissism. But before you rush to pin the label “narcissist” on your adult son or daughter, consider the following.
Hurt People …
There’s a pithy saying that’s all too true: Hurt people hurt people. One of the most difficult ideas for parents to wrap their minds around is that, despite your best intentions and honest efforts, your child feels hurt somehow by the way you relate to him. And that’s why he doesn’t want to be close.
We have research on this, and it’s true across the board. Adult children cut off their parents only as a way to protect themselves. It’s not to punish you, or because they don’t care about you. It’s because they’ve been hurt too many times.
That’s an extremely painful and confusing reality for most parents to grasp. Especially if you’ve tried your hardest to love and protect your child all her life. And yet it’s possible to do your best and still unwittingly do damage. It’s part of human relationships, and none of us can ever really escape that risk. Especially parents.
Children learn how the world works through the almighty lenses of their caretakers, and research rooted in attachment theories shows that. When a caretaker attunes appropriately to the child’s feelings and needs, the child subsequently experiences safety and security.
However, in narcissistic families, children experience repeated incidents of their parent misattuning, misaligning, or downright ignoring their feelings. The parent does not validate the child’s emotions; the parent validates whatever is in the parent’s best interest.
The narcissistic parent may punish children for crying, shame them for experiencing fear, and even quell them when expressing ‘too much’ happiness. In other words? Children learn that their feelings are erratic and unsafe. They learn that they are a source of problems.
For this reason, many children grow up believing that feelings must be suppressed. To achieve this suppression, we see many children of narcissists struggle with substance use, eating disorders, self-harm, and other impulsive or compulsive lifestyles.
After all, if they’ve experienced compounded years of condemnation for having feelings, why should they feel safe within their own emotional selves? In many cases, this can cause a child to form the narcissism defense mechanism. (In other cases, children will form the codependent defense mechanism).
There are a few signs of narcissistic behavior that parents should watch out for:
- Inflated ego: The narcissist has a huge ego. Narcissistic adult children demand that you do what they want, try to control you, and push every boundary. Every time you give them what they want, they demand something else. They say your job is to make them happy.
- Need for validation: A narcissist needs constant admiration. Often, they need praise for simple tasks, like making an appearance at your birthday party. You may find yourself giving your narcissistic adult child an inordinate amount of praise over something that’s a normal and expected part of family life.
- A sense of entitlement: The narcissist feels entitled to things they should have to work for. For example, they may demand ridiculous things like financial support well into adulthood. Or, tasks they should be doing themselves, but you find yourself performing…such as doing their laundry and folding their clothes, filling out their job applications, calling into work sick for them, or fixing their breakfast or lunch to take to work.
- Exploitation: A narcissist acts without conscience, thinking only of themselves. They lie, trick and steal to get what they want. This exploitation can be glaringly obvious or very subtle, so be on the lookout if you feel used. This may manifest as their throwing temper tantrums, blackmailing you by withholding their love or your grandchildren, trying to entice you with sweetness and affection when they want something, and blaming their behavior on you.
- Distorted thinking: A narcissist occupies a fantastical world where he or she is the greatest and most important person in the universe. In order to maintain the fantasy, narcissists lie. They often deny things that are obvious. They may make up fantastical tales to support the fantasy.
- Unpleasant personality: Contempt and belittlement are the narcissists’ tools of choice. When they feel threatened by success, they get mean. Watch out for those who are constantly putting down other peoples’ accomplishments. You may find your narcissistic adult child talking badly about their friends behind their backs, but pretending to care for them when these same friends come around.
Narcissists cast dark shadows over our lives, especially when we are very young. Deep inside, instinctively, we know that we must survive. Many of us go along not only to get along but to stay alive psychologically. Some young children in highly disturbed narcissistic families become hyper-vigilant – always surveying their environments for danger, threats, visceral feelings of being completely unsafe. Other children are less aware of the dynamics in the family on a conscious level. They distract themselves with activity, telling themselves that everything is all right. In our earliest years our minds normalize what we are experiencing. It is the rare person who as a small child knew that there was something fundamentally wrong, unjust, and highly disturbed about one or both of our parents.
Narcissistic fathers cannot parent. They are emotionally unavailable to their children. They go through the motions of interacting with them. They may give greater attention to a child whom they perceive will become a star, a standout in the family – this is another narcissistic supply for the father. He doesn’t care about the individuality of this son or daughter. He sees potential in them that can be nurtured and eventually will reflect his greatness.The kids who don’t make the cut–the ones who are less attractive, (Blind / Deaf – CDD), highly sensitive, not socially skilled—-are set aside for neglect and constant ridicule. To the narcissistic father you are either his possession or you don’t exist. This man constantly appraises the value of his children to him. He sets unapproachable goals. Everyone must be at the top of the class or else. These fathers will take a son who has athletic capability and make them work out to the point of exhaustion and injury to fulfill their dream of having a son who is a professional athlete. Andre Agassi, the great tennis champion talks about his cruel narcissistic father’s forcing him from early childhood to practice hour after hour without let up. He didn’t care that his son hated tennis. Father prevailed. And yes, Agassi became a great champion but at a great price–years of abuse and agony.
There is an accumulation of truth about your narcissistic father. Some of his children recognize early that they are being used to prop up their father’s ego supplies and his grandiose self vision. Others identify with the father and spend their lives as his living servants. Those who wake up to the truth that the father is a merciless narcissist, sever this toxic relationship and begin the healing process of fulfilling their birthright of becoming a free separate individual. Some turn to professional psychotherapy and grieve for the real father they never had. There are other healing paths–meditation, hatha yoga, journaling, the forming of meaningful close relationships with individuals who care deeply about the real you. Those who go through this passage discover that they are finally free to lead their lives on their terms. They thrive, discover creative gifts that have been left dormant and gain confidence and inner peace by embracing their real selves. https://disinherited.com/media/free-yourself-narcissistic-parenting/
It is widely assumed that narcissists are envious. Nevertheless, evidence supporting this claim has remained elusive. In five studies (N = 1,225), we disentangle how grandiose narcissism predicts divergent envious inclinations. Specific facets of narcissism and forms of envy shared the same underlying motivational orientations (Study 1) and distinctively related to each other (Studies 1 to 5) via differences in emotional appraisal (Study 4). Moreover, envy was linked to opposing social consequences of different narcissism facets (Study 5). Specifically, hope for success related to narcissistic admiration, predicting benign envy, which entails the motivation to improve performance, translating into the ascription of social potency by the self and others. In contrast, fear of failure related to narcissistic rivalry, predicting malicious envy, which entails hostility, translating into the ascription of a proneness for social conflict by others. These results converged with envy measured as a trait (Studies 1 and 5) or state in recall tasks (Studies 2 and 4) and as response to an upward standard in the situation (Study 3). The findings provide important insights into narcissists’ emotional complexities, integrate prior isolated and conflicting evidence, and open up new avenues for research on narcissism and envy. Copyright © 2016 European Association of Personality Psychology
The narcissistic qualities of a vulnerable narcissist (VN) are masked by helplessness, emotionality, and reticent behavior. They are not dissimilar to covert or introverted narcissists which fly far under the grandiose radar of a typical narcissist. Here are some signs of a VN:
- They are typically highly sensitive people to the extreme level. Only their feelings have significance or importance, not another’s. Instead of using their sensitivity to understand and meet the needs of others, they take offense to the slightest emotional reaction, personalize other person’s feelings, and ultimately make it all about them.
- Just like the grandiose narcissists (GN), VNs like to be considered a perfectionist in their area of specialty. However, while GNs will insist they are perfect and believe others see them that way, VNs believe they are perfect but others fail to see them that way.
- The VN is similar to the emotional up and downs of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) but without the self-harming behavior that is characteristic of BPD. VNs might threaten to self-harm as in intimidation tactic but usually, do not follow through.
- There is no healthy way to question the emotions and subsequent responses of a VN as they are always right. Even when the emotion is out of proportion to the event, it still cannot be examined for any fault.
- VNs are more prone to depression because the reality of their life doesn’t meet the fantasy life they feel entitled to receive. This inconsistency might cause them to quit jobs without any regard for the consequences of the decision because the workplace does not live up to their expectations.
- The victim card is routinely played to justify actions that others may see as disconcerting. Typical statements include: “Everyone is out to get me because I’m better than them,” or “This is not my fault but someone else’s fault.”
- One of the other interesting characteristics of a VN is their classic passive-aggressive behavior. They typically will ignore a person as punishment for not doing what they were told, not looking good enough, or not being as smart as they are.
- Similar to BPD, VNs are plagued by chronic feelings of emptiness. However, unlike BPDs who try to fill the void with new and exciting relationships, VNs become more introverted. This withdraw is because no one will ever be good enough to engage in an intimate relationship. The fantasy person is non-existent.
- The massive insecurity at the root of narcissism is covered with silence instead of grandiose behavior. In fact, they are extremely judgmental of anyone who displays pretentious, flamboyant, or lavish behaviors.
- Unlike GNs, VNs are very talented in using false humility and shallow apologies to get what they want. However, when pressed, even they will agree that they don’t mean it and will even blame the other person’s weakness for having to apologize in the first place.
- Because of the complete lack of intimate relationships, VNs may do better with online relationships than face-to-face. This allows the VN to maintain the illusory relationship as being more significant than it is.
- Instead of being charming like the GNs, VNs act aloof, smug, disinterested, bored, condescending, inattentive, and judgmental around others. They use this tactic to draw others in without having to engage in a real conversation.