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Friday, August 14, 2015

Other Examples of Narcissistic Behavior in Relationships and the Last of the Small Queens

I'm going to be taking a one week break from posting and working starting tomorrow. It is a very much needed break, as I have been working continuously since I left my job just over 6 weeks ago. I am hoping to finish off the Small Queens today with some really nice high value stamps:

The last two stamps are particularly hard to find in such nice condition. They are nicknamed the "Widow's Weeds" because of the fact that Queen Victoria is shown wearing her veil. In fact she wore that from 1861, when her husband, Prince Albert, died of Typhoid, until her death in 1901 - almost 40 years!

Anyway, I do see that a few of you are reading my posts about narcissism and hopefully at least one person is getting something useful from what I have written so far. It is really dreary topic and I have to admit that my mood after writing these last few posts has not been that upbeat. I much prefer to write about nice things like recipes. But it is an important topic and I do have very real experience with it. So I figured that if I want to be of help to the greater world at large, that I should write about my experiences and observations.

I had promised that I would finish giving real, everyday examples of narcissistic behavior in the context of relationships, and I will address the last four categories mentioned in yesterday's post:

5. Lying about opinions
6. Taking credit for your initiative
7. Projection
8. Misuse of truisms

Before I get into these examples, I want to point out that in many of the examples I have given so far, it is not the specific behavior by itself that constitutes the narcissism. Many normal people who just are just behaving badly or being insensitive can do many of the things that I spoke about. For example in the case that I gave about being told by your partner that you actually earn less than average for someone of your education and background, a person on the Spectrum could easily make that remark because they really are thinking literally and factually, and are not thinking about how it would make you feel. The key difference is in how they react when you call them out on it. A normal person will be sorry and will immediately apologize, whereas a narcissist will take it as a further challenge to add insult to injury.

The other thing that I want to say is that my list is by no means exhaustive. There are many, many other facets to narcissism and it would take an entire blog to describe them all. What I am trying to do with my short series of posts is give you examples of the type of behavior you are likely to see if you are in a domestic relationship with a narcissist. Some of the examples that you read about online, such as a person making jokes about 9/11 while it was happening as evidence that they have no empathy, I think are of less value because those situations just don't come up very often, and you can be in a relationship with a narcissist for years before the first situation like that does. My examples will come up all the time. In fact, I will bet you that if you are in this kind of relationship now and you take any given week, you will find examples of at least half of them.

Lying About Opinions

All narcissists lie as a general matter of course. The noted blogger Anna Valerious in her blog "Narcissists Suck". Has actually said that "Narcissists themselves, are walking, breathing, living lies". Of course she is referring to their completely false, contrived personas. This calls to mind someone who lies indiscriminately about everything, and you think "oh it will be easy to tell that they lie because they lie about everything". However this is not so, or at least, they are so skilled at it that it can be very difficult to spot.

Very accomplished narcissists will actually avoid lying about any factual things that can be easily and objectively verified. They will often be scrupulously honest about factual, albeit inconsequential things to the point of obsession. They will hold this up as evidence of just how honest and trustworthy they are. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist this will be very effective because you are already prone to taking what they say at face value anyway due to your trusting them. So when you see them being so diligent about getting their facts straight, it reinforces your perception that they could never lie. This makes it very difficult to deal with the lies they do tell.

The lies they tell tend to be lies of perception and opinion - all things that cannot really be proven or dis proven. For example, when a narcissist is in a bad mood and feels like picking a fight with you for no good reason, they may tell you that you have been acting really cold toward them. But you feel that you aren't acting any differently than you always do. When you point this out, they will assert that it must be so because "it feels that way" to them, and you just aren't self-aware, and "do you think I'm making this up?!" in an angry, accusatory tone.

Another example of this is when you partner tells you one day that you are the most loving and thoughtful partner and they are lucky to have you, but then a week later they tell you that you are a completely uncaring and insensitive asshole for something that they claim you did or didn't do but should have. Clearly, those two realities cannot exist at the same time, so either they were speaking in anger and didn't really mean what they said the second time or they are screwloose in the head. Sure, normal people make angry remarks that they don't mean all the time. But generally, they will almost always apologize shortly afterward and take back what they said. Most of the time, in a healthy relationship when you do something you partner doesn't like or don't do something they expected, it elicits a discussion and they let you know how your actions made them feel. With a narcissist, there will be no apology later and when questioned about whether they really feel that way, they will say that they do, that they make no apology for their honesty and that there is no conflict between the two things they said.

Taking Credit For Your Initiative

Narcissists are fond of taking credit for everything that goes well in your life. If you are doing well in your career, it is because they told you how to succeed or gave you all the ideas. To make this perception stick in your mind they will make many suggestions for the things that they think you should do. Usually they are fairly obvious things that a sensible person in your position would have probably already thought of, but sometimes they are actions that they sense you were about to take anyway. They do this so that when you do the said thing, they can take credit for it and tell you that you were only doing what they told you to do and then follow it up with "Why do I have carry the burden of the relationship? Why do I have to make all the decisions? God, I feel like I'm raising another child!". This works against you particularly if you are the silent type that believes in getting the job done and not talking about it.

A good first example of this is that you have been out of school for a few years, having run out of money to pay for university and have gone to work. When you met, you were explaining the situation and your partner appears to understand. Clearly, you have expressed an intention to go back at some point. Fast forward three year into the relationship. One night over dinner you partner says "You know, you really should consider going back and finishing your degree.". When you finally do finish five years later, your partner says something like "It was a good thing I told you to go back. Where would you be without me?". When you point out that you were always planning to go back, they say "Well it sure didn't look like it to me. Why you hadn't done a thing about it until I said something."

A second example is that you have your job evaluation and you come home to discuss how it went. You were planning on negotiating your salary with your boss, but you haven't actually gotten around to telling your partner that part, when they interrupt you and blurt out "You should negotiate for more money!"Then we when you actually do it and get the raise you wanted, your partner tries to take credit for it.

In a third example you really want to take your partner on a romantic trip away. You pick the destination, and start saving up for it. While this is happening, your partner says "Gosh I really wish you would take me on a romantic trip somewhere.". You don't want to ruin the surprise, so you don't say anything. When you finally do take the trip your partner acts unsurprised and unimpressed. When you ask why they are acting that way, they say "I told you to take me on a trip months ago!".

Again, its not the fact that they make the suggestion that is the problem. Well meaning partners do this all the time. It is the fact that they attempt to use it to either take credit for what you did, or to denigrate it in some way.


Projection occurs when a person sees something in themselves that they don't like and instead of doing the work to deal with it, they put it on someone else and then criticize the other person for it. This is probably the most common, crazy making behavior that the narcissist engages in. Examples of this are:

1. You are constantly being accused of selfishness when you are a very giving and generous person and most people know this.

2. You are accused of being lazy when you know yourself to be hardworking.

3. You are often accused of lying, when you are basically an honest person.

4. You are accused of cheating when the thought has never crossed your mind.

Generally, speaking 99% of all accusations from a narcissist are projections of the "doth protest too much" variety, and they should have you seriously questioning the character of the person you are with. Someone who genuinely loves you would think long and hard before accusing you of anything improper. But narcissists make accusations easily and all the time. When they are shown to be groundless, little to no apologies are forthcoming.

Misuse of Truisms

There are a lot of truisms in general parlance that most people take at face value, such as:

1. You shouldn't dwell on the past.
2. Forgive and forget.
3. Everybody makes mistakes.
4. Nobody's perfect.

When normal people use them in everyday speech they are usually trying to convince the listener to cut a person some slack, Occasionally they utter them because they are the person who wants some slack, but usually they are uttered on behalf of someone else, as in "Don't be too hard on him darling, nobody's perfect and everyone makes mistakes".

A narcissist uses them to disarm you and uses them inappropriately to try and re-characterize a major betrayal or hurtful behavior as a mere faux-pas. One of their favorite truisms is the first one. Why? Because they can attack your character if you refuse to grant them a pass for one of their shitty behaviors. This is especially the case because a narcissist will define the "past"to include what they did 5 minutes ago.

That's my take on narcissism in relationships. I can't comment on histrionics because I've never dated one, and borderlines commit many of the same behaviors. I hope this was a useful segue from the usual topics.

Enjoy the weekend and the next week, and I'll be back online on the 25th.

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