Science Says Narcissists Be Crazy!

Narcissists are crazy. Or more to the point, there’s science behind their indifference according to a new study: “Neuroscience Points to Empathy Deficit among Narcissists.”

Wired not to care

You know how we observe here that cheaters don’t seem to have empathy synapses? Well, turns out more science is emerging every day that narcissists are quite literally wrong in the head. You weren’t imagining it.

According to the Journal for Psychiatric Research, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) have less gray matter in their brains in a region that regulates compassionate emotions. (So when Anthony Weiner was singing “If I Only Had a Brain” he was closer to the truth than he ever knew.)

The left anterior insula region of the brain, generally thought to be involved with cognitive functioning and the regulation of emotion, has also been tied to compassion and empathy.

“This was already a region of interest for empathy, but for the first time, we were able to show that it is structurally correlated in the brain,” sid Röpke.

The researchers discovered that the degree to which a person was able to exhibit empathy was tied to the amount of gray matter in the brain, both in the healthy individuals as well as in those with narcissistic personality disorder.

The findings suggest that regardless of personality disorders, the left anterior insula plays an important role in feeling and expressing compassion, Röpke said.

If narcissists are crazy, why reconcile with one?

This raises some interesting questions for the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. Like if you’re married to a narcissist — how can you reconcile with someone congenitally incapable of empathy? All that dialoguing you’re supposed to do, all that Joseph’s Letter crap where you implore them to feel your pain — it’s like asking a goldfish to knit a sweater. They can’t know how you feel. They don’t care. And your feelings clearly do not inform their actions.

Perhaps it’s not fair to say they don’t care. They cannot care. They’re limited.

The gray fluff in their brain required to make them care is missing.

They know right from wrong. But there’s no ding, ding, ding going off in their heads making them feel bad when they’re wrong. It’s like those rare cases of people who don’t have nerve endings — they burn their hands on stoves, break bones, all without realizing they shouldn’t, because they don’t get the pain signal to their brain.

I’m fascinated by the neuroscience behind personality disorders. On the one hand, we want to believe we have control of our character, that life is a matter of choices, and we come to the table as fully rational beings. On the other hand, have a stroke or a brain injury and poof! you can be quite a different person. Read the works of neuroscientist and essayist Oliver Sacks (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat). He catalogs numerous examples of brain injury and how it informs behavior.

It’s an interesting age. I think we’re beginning to understand that not everyone is neurologically “normal.”

We don’t all run the same operating system.

Some people have empathy deficits and you can do an MRI and apparently see an actual lack of gray matter where empathy should be. Just wow! But it makes sense to me that there is a biological component to this phenomenon. I don’t think every cheater is a personality disorder, but I do think a lot of them (especially serial cheaters) have these empathy deficits. If you didn’t, you couldn’t conduct a double life of any duration. There is a danger for chumps to assume that everyone has the same mental make up and cares about the same set of rules. To know that these deficits are real is useful information. If nothing else, you can stop blaming yourself.

It used to be schizophrenia was blamed on frigid mothers, until quite recently it was recognized as an illness of the brain. No more attributable to frigid mothers than cancer or diabetes.

I look back and liken all that nonsense to the sort of therapy I experienced trying to reconcile with a serial cheater. “You need to dialogue.” “You need to learn to be vulnerable and open yourself to love.”

How do you do therapy with someone who lacks empathy?

Might as well ask a shark to tap dance. Have you ever done therapy with a narcissist? A shrink might ask the standard “How do you think that makes (chump) feel?” and you’ll get an utterly blank look — like the question is in Swahili. The gears don’t shift. They cannot imagine. They’re incapable of imagining.

Wouldn’t it be better if you’re in marriage counseling, trying to get your cheater/narcissist/FW to care, if someone said, listen, this is just who he IS. It’s not your fault. He cannot be the person you need him to be — walk away.

I hope this science gives similar comfort to chumps. The cheater in your life may be exceptionally limited — and that limitation is who they ARE. It’s not your fault. You didn’t make them this way, and as yet, there is no cure for a lack of empathy. So stop trying to fix it. They cannot be the person you need them to be — walk away.

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Joy
Joy
6 years ago

Right before I went grey rock, in my last email to my ex, I could only say at the end, “there is something wrong with you. Something is missing.” and that was the end of it for me. I have recollected that moment of clarity as I was typing the email many, many times since then when deciding the best course of action as we coparent over email and I maintain total emotional unavailability to him. It’s good to read articles like that that put the pieces together. Thank you.

Carol
Carol
6 years ago
Reply to  Joy

Agreed Joy excellent writing as always from chumplady! I knew mine wasn’t wired to what I needed after 5 long years of no affection it was depressing! Then I would learn tidbits about their childhood through his sisters, complete lack of affection! They never felt loved or appreciated that explained everything!????

Fighting Chump
Fighting Chump
6 years ago
Reply to  Carol

Ok, I wish I had a better place to post this but I am fired up. For one, it’s so helpful to see others write about the lies and honesty issue during wreckonciliation. After 3 1/2 years of wreckonciliation from at 10 month adultery with a younger co worker after my 6th baby, I found out that there was one more physical cheating (that he admitted to), he had been working with her again for
9 months, and would try to Google her sometimes. All deal breakers for me, but he didn’t tell me ‘for
The best of the family’ because
He knew I would ‘overreact’ and didn’t want to break up the family.
I still struggled with ending it, majorly struggled. It wasn’t all
The way…it was a contract, he never
Talked to her, hated her…
But he lied!!! I was in incredible pain ending the marriage…I wanted to believe all his promises…realized he had a major mental health problem…promised me he would Work on all the problems he contributed in the marriage, but Ruined that letter when it started with ‘sorry for everything, all of
It’
Then my story goes deeper and darker and it’s been a hellish mess.
Now I am almost 2 years since 2cd d day and separation and 1 1/2 weeks from court and he wants out of spousal and wants money and I am trying to be here for my kids as I have been a homeschooling sahm for 18 years. I have kids saying ‘you need to help dad and get a part time job, it’s dad’s money…’ I want to scream!!!! It was valued when he was here and now it
Is not!?!?? And!!!! I still miss him!! And want him!!! What is WRONG with me??!!!!!!
He is dating and has done every character assassination he can think of conjuring up on me, none are true but oh! How it hurts! I need to get to meh!!!!!

AuntieGrizelda
AuntieGrizelda
6 years ago
Reply to  Fighting Chump

Fighting Chump – your fight makes you mightier not weaker! You can do this. Look at what you’ve achieved already— you’re a damn superhero.
Look, a grown-ass man (cheater though he may be) needs to manage his life, conduct himself like an adult and provide for his kids— not the other way around. And sorry but children are children — they all have children’s opinions and they don’t get to make the calls on what you should be doing regarding your ex, their father. You are the adult and parent, you have the judgement that matters.
Take a deep breath and find peace. Think over all your options — write them out in a list if it helps. And then talk them through with a reliable and empathetic friend. They will help you think things through and find solutions.

Fighting Chump
Fighting Chump
6 years ago
Reply to  AuntieGrizelda

Thank you for your replies..that means a lot to me:)
I have to figure out the forums. I have been reading for nearly two years but rarely post but have been helped greatly.
I do have support…but it still feels super hard. I think I have been so stuck on him making some weak attempt at winning me back with words (not actions) and now even that is loooong past, and with all the challenges, I am still reeling that this is really over. So so hard with my kids, I know they don’t get it and yet, the relationship is still damaged because of all their understanding of it all.
I will keep on going and doing my best with my kids and pray that I get through court and can heal from all this.
Thanks again, it brought tears to my eyes to see your responses. ????

Spoonriver
Spoonriver
6 years ago
Reply to  Fighting Chump

Fighting Chump

I’m so sorry. Of course you want all those things. Of course you miss him. It’s normal and so unfair. It’s not “his” money. It is family money. He made this mess not you. He doesn’t want consequences. Its so hard to have your life upended and with six children.

Do you have someone to talk to? Find someone. Go on the forums they help. Know that this Chump is heartbroken for you.

Off the crazy train
Off the crazy train
6 years ago
Reply to  Joy

Depending on what kind of a narc your cheater is, the chances are you’ll be criticised for saying something like that to them, and they’ll play the victim.

Saying there’s something wrong with them, or that they are a narcissist, or even that their actions & behaviour is narcissistic, as true as it is, they likely will behave as if you are the abusive one.

They will use it against you, behind your back, to their coterie- their friends, their family, their affair partner.

A common feature of narcissism is their fragile ego.

My (hard-earned) advice would not to go there. Don’t tell them what they are or what you think they are.

Just out of interest, my ex, when we were together did an online psychopathy test. It came back that he was probably a psychopath. I laughed, as I thought he was being silly. So I asked him to do it again, honestly this time. It came back that he was probably a psychopath. I spackled. It was a silly online test, after all. Hardly medical diagnosis.

But something struck a cord.

Off the crazy train
Off the crazy train
6 years ago

Sorry, I didn’t get to finish that story. But in any case, my main point is, even though your cheater may have very strong narcissistic traits, don’t tell them. They will twist it. They will blameshift to protect their fragile ego.

Don’t give them any ammunition to use against you, or play the victim and strengthen their narrative about why they **had** to cheat on you. Narcissists are pretty toxic people, once you are no longer of use to them, or are no longer under their spell and charm. Protect yourself and stay no contact or the dullest of all grey rock ever.

Chumpinrecovery
Chumpinrecovery
6 years ago

Mine spent years putting me down at every opportunity and then had the nerve to say “you need to have more confidence”. I flat out told him that he had a role to play in that, but I might as well have been talking to a brick wall. If I had more “conficence” I would have understood that his criticisms were meant to be “constructive” (not). Meanwhile if I ever had the nerve to criticize him in any way for any reason, I was “disrespecting” him and didn’t “have his back”. Double standards abounded in our marriage.

DebbieChump
DebbieChump
6 years ago

Mine did a similar test and it came back he was on the autistic spectrum ……now I know better and Im sure it was narc rather than autism

AllOutofKibble
AllOutofKibble
6 years ago
Reply to  Joy

Flipped situation here Joy.
One of the last interactions I had with Narkles the Clown ended with him saying “There’s something wrong with me.”
By then we were two months out from D-Day and I had read enough CL that my response was “Yes, you’re flaming Narcissist. You should get some help and work on that.” Then I stood up and walked away.
Two and a half years later in true narc form he hasn’t worked on it because in his eyes there is nothing wrong with him. It was just the self pity channel.

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago
Reply to  AllOutofKibble

Exactly! There’s nothing wrong with them! Dancing Dick never saw anything wrong with himself!

Miko Chump
Miko Chump
6 years ago

Haha! Dancing Dick. I love it. Thanks for making me laugh. Glad I found this site and read the book. No more Chumpville for me!!!

Chumpinrecovery
Chumpinrecovery
6 years ago
Reply to  AllOutofKibble

Ex also seemed to recognize that there was something wrong with him but he has no interest in doing anything about it. At first after D-day he was putting a lot of blame on me. At some point, however, he decided that I was not the problem after all and there was something wrong with him. That is also when he decided that it wasn’t worth the MC. It was fine when he thought it was all about fixing me, but when he realized that there might be something wrong with him that needed fixing, he begged out and ran away. Coward.

NoMoreEvil
NoMoreEvil
6 years ago

Same with my XH, ChumpinRecovery! He knew he was not good and would often tell me, “I’m not a good person”(about himself). So, he knew the he was not doing the right things and that his behavior was bad, but would do nothing to correct it. He didn’t have the motivation to fix it because these narcs get a payoff for being the way they are (kibbles and to be selfish without care) and they see no reason to change. I’ve read that even when these people know they are not doing things right, they actually like the way there are and don’t want to change.

Cancer Chump
Cancer Chump
6 years ago

Same. There were brief moments of clarity when I confronted him about the emotional abuse I suffered because of him, where he said: “Sorry, it was a side effect of my issues”. I believe at some root level he understands that he is disordered but he has no desire to properly address and work on it. To openly admit that something is wrong with him would make him bad or defective in his eyes. He once told his mom that he could never face my family again. And I believe that is why he left. He could not handle the shame he felt. Finding a new set of friends, a new girlfriend is much easier than addressing your bad behavior, making amends and correcting it. He would much rather find someone who accepts his behavior for what it is, no judgments, like his family has been doing for years. A low maintenance relationship where he puts little to no effort in. He too is a coward.

And after that brief moment of clarity, he changed his attitude and it became everyone else who was the problem and not him. He was angry at my dad because my dad was angry at him for cheating on and leaving his daughter with cancer. He came up with a mile long list of reasons why the marriage was over. Some of those were things he was angry about from years earlier that he never told me his feelings on, some were not reasons to end a marriage at all (like me losing my job shortly after getting married–something we overcame easily).

He went to two MC appointments with me and as soon as the counselor made it clear that we would have to address his affair, he was out. He wanted to focus solely on what he perceived to be my issues. Because in his mind, my issues caused his issues. My expectations drove him crazy and forced him to lie, cheat and spend time at the bar.

Now all the blame is on me. The new girlfriend tells me there is more than one side to a story without knowing anything at all about my side. I drove him crazy with my expectations. My family judged him unfairly and never accepted him. There is never mention at all about his emotional abuse or cheating. Like it never happened. And if I bring it up? Crickets.

I know I have my faults and am working on them. He however will carry his issues into his new relationship. I’m gonna sit back with some opcorn and watch how that unfolds.

LDRchump
LDRchump
6 years ago
Reply to  Cancer Chump

Cancer chump-

I read your thread and my ex was the same way. I’m about 6 months past d day, and have been struggling to make sense of it all. But your message struck such a chord. I would also confront my ex about his behavior when I noticed he wouldn’t be treating me well, and he was always sincere. He would try to work on it until he became distant again. Around the time we broke up, he had been seeing a therapist for his behavior “for us.” But he had a new girlfriend, (publicly) less than 2 months after we separated. He also had a new group of friends.

There is still a chumpy part of me that thinks about reconciling, and talking It out, but I also think he has far too much shame to come forward.

(We were long distance/engaged, a sociopathic “friend” of ours went out there alone and they had a “one night” thing.)

It’s been really hard but i’ve been reading this site daily and am fighting hard to find my mightiness.

MiKo Chump
MiKo Chump
6 years ago
Reply to  LDRchump

My X fuckwit always treated me well, or so I thought. His treatment of me was just cover to conceal his serial sex addiction. He actually told me he looks at all women as sex objects, like that was supposed to adequately explain his bad behavior. Good riddance!!!

Ali sun
Ali sun
6 years ago
Reply to  MiKo Chump

MiKo chimp

My stbx too. He was like a fucking saint. Everyone loved him. Great dad. Worshipped me. Married 17 years.
Dday was 11/18 when he gave me an std and was being extorted by and transgender hooker.

I had no fucking clue.

Good times.

I’d love to chat.

Azkadelia
Azkadelia
6 years ago
Reply to  AllOutofKibble

Here’s the thing: if you know you have a problem, you can work to compensate for it. If. You. Want. To.

I have a friend who has a spectrum disorder. He’s worked hard to understand how “people feel generally” about things. He’s aware of his deficiencies and has alerted people to let him know when he’s not “getting it”. Sometimes his more compassionate behavior is motivated not so much by feelings but by the fact that he’s learned thow a thoughtful person behaves in a particular situation, but the point is, he’s used his diagnosis as a way to be aware and grow.

I’ve been trying to reconcile, and my husband has really mastered “the new nice.” But I’m coming to the conclusion that some day soon, I’m going to have to let him know it’s over – because he’s a pathological liar. Sometimes the lies are big – like cheating instead of working to fix our marital problems – and sometimes they’re small, like erasing phone calls that I can see on the bill anyway, despite his making a show of promising that he would never, never erase phone records.

But the point is he lies like you or I breathe, without even thinking about it.

And he doesn’t see that each of those little lies erases a trust he says he wants. I actually think he does want it, but just doesn’t have the grey matter to understand why his behavior is undercutting his goals.

Sad, really.

admittruth
admittruth
6 years ago
Reply to  Azkadelia

Azkadelia, I swear I just broke up with this same guy. The thing about this sort and what makes them so convincing is, they *believe* what they are saying when they are saying it; it’s just that the second they have finished saying it, the moment has passed and the conviction along with it. They live, literally, from one moment to the next, with no emotional connection to the past or the future. The emptiness of their existence terrifies them; they do not like their own company and must constantly be distracted from it. And that is where the compulsive cheating comes in.

mrsvain
mrsvain
6 years ago
Reply to  Azkadelia

oh my giddy aunt!!! you NAILED it in this one sentence ” just doesn’t have the grey matter to understand why his behavior is ____” .. .. . it used to drive me crazy when wasband would do stupid little lies and dumb things that actually jeopardized our marriage. i just could NOT understand or logicialize his thinking (or lack of) so i always took it as an insult and personal.. ..

like yours he would constantly delete texts and/or calls. it would make me so suspious. why did he delete it if it was innocent. then i turned into the marriage police and would do stupid shit myself.. .. only making his lies worse. it has been 4 years since our divorce, i have pretty much reached meh.. .. just dont care to figure out the why or how he did what he did.. .. . but your sentence really reached out to me and another piece of the missing puzzle snapped into place. the reason he did those stupid things and lies was because he just has no grey matter to understand that it was wrong.. .. his excuse for deleting messages was he “knew it would make me mad”.. .. ugh!! of course it made me MAD!! you are hiding and lying about shit.. .. dumb ass.. .. i wasted so much energy trying to figure this out and it was just so simple.. .. a no brainer!!!! LITERALLY and FIGURATIVELY!!!! hahaha

i am so glad i do not have to deal with this kind of crazy anymore. i still think it is super sad that wasband just gave up and walked away from a good thing, but i can now look back and see that it wasnt as good of thing as i thought it was.. .

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  Azkadelia

There’s a huge difference in being on the spectrum and being a narcissist. One lacks the ability to have empathy and the other does. And those on the spectrum struggle daily to learn how to mirror others through scripting, not to be devient or to manipulate but to navigate a world full of social nuances that are ever changing depending on the context. They have insight and struggle. They DO have empathy.

That said, narcissists mirror others for personal gain, have no empathy, and manipulate to gain advantage over others.

lovedandlost
lovedandlost
6 years ago
Reply to  Azkadelia

Is it really his goal or will you find out, some time in the future, that he has been calling an AP and deleting those calls so you wouldn’t find out and he could have his cake….
Whatever, it doesnt matter. the result is the same. The important question is: Is this imbalance of honesty and love an acceptable situation for you to live your life? This is what finally made me decide to leave and I have never regretted it!

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  Azkadelia

Azkadelia, I spent two wasted years after DDay #2 trying to wreckoncile with my ex. Over the course of those two years, I kept my eyes and ears open and really noticed all the lies. What baffled me was when he lied not just about things that I could verify elsewhere, but about completely inconsequential things like where he ate lunch. I don’t remember any more exactly what those inconsequential lies were (DDay #2 was in 2012 and I’m now happily divorced) but I remember thinking at the time “WHY?? Why lie about something so meaningless?” Maybe he had some reason I’m not aware of for those lies but I do remember that it struck me at the time as bizarre and unnecessary behavior. My conclusion was that lying had become such a habit that he did it without thinking and that led me to believe that where there’s smoke, there must be fire. If he was lying about little things there were undoubtedly BIG lies too. After two years of waiting to see some growth or change I realized there wasn’t going to be any and decided to end the marriage. He wasn’t trying to change so we could reconcile. He was waiting for me to “reconcile” myself to going back to the status quo.

Your friend on the spectrum is a very apt analogy. Even if the cheater’s behavior is caused by a personality disorder or a lack of brain matter in the empathy area, that doesn’t mean they can’t learn to modify their behavior to fit with norms such as fidelity and trust. They might not understand how we feel when we’re in pain but they sure as hell can figure out not to actively cause us pain (keep your pecker in your pants and tell the truth). They choose not to do those things. Once we understand that, there is no hope left for the relationship or the cheater – but plenty of hope for a better life for us.

REGRETS
REGRETS
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

Beth, was your husband acting the same after DD1 as you said with DD2. Or were there differences. Like he behaved until he was out of the woods?

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  REGRETS

Regrets,

After DDay#1, I believed him when he told me it was all my fault and I went into a pick me dance/spackle frenzy. Eventually things settled down and, I thought, “returned to normal”. Which they did. Only the “normal” unbeknownst to me was that he stopped the affair that led to DDay#1 and went back to fucking strippers for four years until DDay#2 when I found out about an affair with a stripper. The difference was after DDay#2, rather than pick me dancing, I refused to accept any fault, kicked him out, gave him the terms that would win me back and waited to see what he would do. He initially showed remorse but that quickly turned into, as I said, thinking he could wait me out and go back to “normal” again. That didn’t happen, fortunately for me. I got myself a therapist and a support group and through hard work on ME (which though hard, was easier than pick me dancing until my feet bled) figured out I was happier without him. Considering he moved yet another stripper (to whom he is now engaged apparently) in with him even before I filed for divorce, I highly doubt that he ever “behaved” for real, just took his behavior deeper under cover which wasn’t hard since we were separated.

REGRETS
REGRETS
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

Beth,
I am truly sorry for the pain you had to deal with regarding your fucktard XH. They really do show you who they are after the first DD#1. I admire your strength and will power to leave. You are MIGHTY!!!

CeliA
CeliA
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

“He was waiting for me to “reconcile” myself to going back to the status quo.”

I got chills when I read this. XH was like that too. He will do nothing to rectify the situation and would just keep doing what he wants. Good thing we don’t have children and was able to cut him loose. These people prey on others’ emotions and abuse trust.

overandover
overandover
5 years ago
Reply to  CeliA

ME TOO!

MiKo Chump
MiKo Chump
6 years ago
Reply to  CeliA

CeliA,

D-Day was two days ago. My fuckwit, I mean ex-fuckwit, never apologized and then told me I was being unreasonable when I kicked him out of my house.

With clarity, I now see his attentive and “caring” behavior toward me was a ruse and well-planned, practiced behavior to conceal his fucking around.

He is most definitely a psychopath. Three years together and I just didn’t see it. Looking back, I know see the relationship was just an illusion. Hard to be sad about something that wasn’t real.

soveryshocked
soveryshocked
6 years ago
Reply to  Azkadelia

Azkadelia, that rings so true! They say they want to be honest, and they might really want to make it work with you (to keep their kibble life together) but they just can’t. The day before I ended things with serial cheater STBX I was angry that he was still trying to hide things, even though he was apparently desperate to fix our relationship after all his cheating, so I said “this relationship is on the edge, all you need to do to end it is to lie”. So that same afternoon he gets a message from a woman he had been flirting with previously, he DELETES it to hide it from me! I found out, that was it, we were done. He was so distraught and confused that this ‘little thing’ could be the final straw. They just don’t get it, this honesty thing, they lie and cover up without noticing they are even doing it, their untrustworthiness runs very deep.

TheFooledTwiceDad
TheFooledTwiceDad
6 years ago
Reply to  soveryshocked

@Azkadelia & @soveryshocked, I agree as well. Sometimes it can be a very subtle lie that didn’t even have to be. Prior to DD#2 my wife had plans with friends. One of my biggest complaints about my wife is how much she goes out either to the gym or with friends. So one evening she says, “I canceled with x, y & z tonight because I wanted to be home with you guys” (i.e. me and the kids)” Later that night I reached out to her friend (being the nice guy or maybe suspecting something) and told her I hope my wife didn’t ruin the night by canceling. She wrote back and said, “What are you talking about? I canceled with her because y is sick and z has other plans.” She even sent me a screen shot of her postponing the night out.

So now what do I think??? That my wife lied about who canceled the plans so she can look like the hero sacrificing her night out to spend time with her boring family. All she had to do was tell the truth, but instead she lied over something as trivial as who canceled the plans. Sadly, another mark against her.

Azkadelia, it’s nice to hear someone else say “But I’m coming to the conclusion that some day soon, I’m going to have to let him know it’s over.” I’m getting there as well. We are in couples therapy, and the therapist told me she thinks my wife is very hopeful we will work through her affairs and our issues, but I’m not so hopeful. DD#2 and all of the associated lies and betrayal was a crushing blow.

NoMoreNarcs
NoMoreNarcs
6 years ago

Run

strongwoman
strongwoman
6 years ago
Reply to  NoMoreNarcs

Ditto

Miko Chump
Miko Chump
6 years ago
Reply to  NoMoreNarcs

Run fast. Very fast….and don’t look back.

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago
Reply to  NoMoreNarcs

Indifference is more evil than hatred. Being indifferent to the pain you inflict on others surpasses hatred. (You have to have feelings to feel hatred).

Indifference is what compelled men like Stalin and Hitler to slaughter millions of innocent people. Indifference on a smaller scale- compels cheaters to cheat, lie and deceive.

ringinonmyownbell
ringinonmyownbell
6 years ago
Reply to  NoMoreNarcs

The lie… I have found that in whatever breath the utter there is always a lie. Sometimes it is a kernel of truth wrapped in a lie, sometimes it is a lie wrapped in truth… sometimes it is the sin of omission. but THERE.IS.ALWAYS.A.LIE in anything they utter. It might even be if they ask you if you would like a PB&J sandwich. How could they lie with that, well because they didn’t want to tell you they had almond butter. They were hoarding that for themselves. THERE.IS.ALWAYS.A.LIE and it is crazy making.

KYGal
KYGal
6 years ago

To The Fooled Twice Dad – You should know that everyone I have seen a narcissist prey on has been an incredibly nice and decent person. They look for that. I felt like my brain was being scrambled when I realized the pattern in my life of being used (by friends, husband, etc.) but you know what, I’m glad I’m a nice person. I’m glad I believed my husband until I found out about his lies, because people SHOULD be able to trust their partners. However, once the veil was lifted, I filed for divorce in under a week. Everything made sense and it was awful. My sister gave me one piece of advice that sealed the deal, “A person’s character doesn’t really change.” I am wiser now and now and recognize more of the tricks they use to get their talons in us. (Bonus: Now that I am more aware, they tend to leave me alone in the first place. They can sense it on people.) It’s possible to be free of this pattern. Hang in there!

Arnold
Arnold
6 years ago
Reply to  KYGal

Absolutely. Contrary to the allegation that someone that takes this from a NPD is co-dependent, the reality is that the victims of these folks are just nice people who , because they could not contemplate doing the stuff these folks so, did not suspect what they were dealing with.
These NPD s can sniff out good hearted people, and , during courtship, it is not like they let their masks slip.
I have seen this pattern in both marriages where my XWs were serial cheaters: Once there is entanglement, enmeshment ( kids, marriage vows, mortgages etc) and they know that you cannot escape easily anymore, the mask comes off.
I think , most of the time, it is gradual, as they test how far they can go. The abused partner is like the frog place in a tepid water that is, slowly, brought to a boil.
One begins questioning his or her perceptions: Did she really say that? Did she really do that? Am I overreacting? Am I paranoid? Am I overly sensitive ( to things like being doused, repeatedly, with cold water while showering or fully clothed, or having my XW describe, in detail, the body of the guy she was out with at a bar).
I think for many of us , the discovery of the cheating was an epiphany which, finally, caused us to look back at other behaviors and to see them more clearly, as abusive.

twiceachump
twiceachump
6 years ago
Reply to  KYGal

My ex used to tell me ‘You’d be out in the ocean saving the whales if you could’. I thought it was a compliment. Now I know because he sees me as a chump!

I am the Chump.
I am the Chump.
6 years ago
Reply to  KYGal

Interestingly, one of the first comments my X made about me and one of the last he made while on his way out the door were, ” You’re a good person”. It struck me as an odd thing to say until reading CL made me realize why that would be significant to him.

Joy
Joy
6 years ago

On a quiet related note – it’s so good to understand just how a person *is*. I have a nightshade intolerance that causes me anxiety. It’s likely causing inflammation in my brain or somewhere in my nervous system which then I experience as just being upset. It is a small thing but it affects every area of my life. All I have to do is avoid all forms of nightshades and I stay me. Having this condition has opened my eyes to the fact that other people very likely have their hardware issues too and may be struggling, or not struggling, through it. I’m thankful that the majority of my personality recognized that something wasn’t right and tried very hard to figure it out.

Alexandra
Alexandra
6 years ago
Reply to  Joy

I had a similar experience. I went on Wellbutrin (anti-depressant) for a couple weeks. The first week was great. It felt like all of the missing pieces were fitting together and I was happy and motivated. The second week or so was scary. So scary I had to discontinue it. The sude-effect was rage. Pure, unadulterated rage. And I didn’t even care. I felt rage all day long. Everything that was sadness turned to rage instead of sad. I started getting really snarky with people at the drop of a hat. Or if I saw a hat. Or if there was a hat anywhere on the planet. I remember having to sit in my car, trying to calm down from feeling rage at nothing in particular at all bit knowing if I walked I to college I would probably lose it on someone if I didn’t sit and try to chill out. A lady got my side-order wrong in the cafeteria and it was everything I could do not to completely freak on her. I freaked on someone that wouldn’t open their till to make change for me. I almost freaked at someone trying to help me. Just someone totally nice! I felt completely out of control. But the rage also felt powerful and I didn’t care either (effect of the medication). What stopped me from taking it anymore was that I realized I was going to start losing out big-time. And I didn’t want to end up freaking on my kid. I grew up that way and did not want to end up doing that. Oddly enough there was a perk to the rage. My husband who would only freak out and accuse me of trying to manipulate him every time I came across as hurt from his repeated infidelity could all of a sudden see how hurt I was when I was raging. He was raised by a totally disordered mother who dumped all of her feelings like a toxic waste dump on everyone. Years ago I visited her for about 36 hours and walked away feeling emotional 3rd degree burns. So my husband sees hurt like manipulation and rage like hurt. He was lucky I didn’t hurt him! All of a sudden he starts pick-me-dancing like he’s competing on Dancing with the Stars! Partly out of fear I’m sure but also seemingly starting to “get it.” It was sadly funny. The last night of meds I made a lasagna and pulled it out of the oven. Instead of a normal “oh hey lasagna, thanks for dinner” that probably 80% of husbands do he started griping about it. Like i made the wrong favorite thing he usually liked. So being in the rational mindset i was in, I yelled “well don’t eat It!” And I threw it! Lasagna everywhere! All of a sudden hes apologizing and seeing if we can recover it! Yikes! That was the final straw. I knew it was completely abnormal to throw dinner across the room in a fit of rage. I discontinued the meds immediately. Another time I threw a relationship book at him. (The was a pretty good metaphor for the relationship!) Of course the good behaviour from husband didnt last when I discontinued the meds and went back to being completely non-raging BUT I also wasnt depressed after either. The experience gave me the sense and strength to not take his verbal and mental abuse anymore. My boundaries became like a shell. Whatever happened it seemed to balance things off. The only other perk to the meds is I realized there was a good chance my father was a mess biochemically (he is/was). He was very ragey often and I think if I would gave been born male I may have had quite the rage with testosterone instead of the sadness. Although I discovered the a lot of my sadness was simply grief over being mistreated and discarded. It gave me a lot of empathy for how edgy my Dad must have been day after day. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wellbutrin was linked to homicides one day. It said in the drug interaction website that there isn’t a known aggression factor with it but I went on the forums asking a general question about it and the results were mixed. 5 other people said they had rage. One other person said they had a brother who rages and doesn’t care anymore. I also had a lasagna that insurance had to write-off.

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago
Reply to  Alexandra

I look at it this way………..nothing on earth can make me steal, murder, cheat on my spouse- unless I wanted to do so. Not my genetics, not my body physiology, not some random “chemical imbalance” that fell out of a tree one day- and hit me on the head.

It all comes down to choice. Choosing good over evil (“Timshel” in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden).

As lonely as I was being married to a gas lighting, emotionally dead, deceiver- I knew it was wrong to cheat. So I didn’t.

OtherRebecca
OtherRebecca
6 years ago
Reply to  Alexandra

Wow, you maintained a measure of self-awareness under very trying circumstances. Not everyone would be able to connect everything the way that you did, very insightful, organized thinking. I was kind of testy to nice people for a few months on some anti-depressants, I’d love to think I was chemically stressed but I think I was just hurt and a we bit too selfish at the time.
Thank you so much fro sharing your experience.

Polly
Polly
6 years ago
Reply to  Alexandra

I had the EXACT SAME issues with Wellbutrin. Rage… at everything, ever annoyance, even people just looking at me. On the other hand, my father takes Wellbutrin and it’s wonderful for him. Wellbutrin seems to work much better for men than women. Men feel great and keep their sex drive…women get aggressive. Maybe men are just naturally walking around with more aggression so they’re fine with it? I don’t know, but yeah I was raging as well.

Battle-tempered Lionheart
Battle-tempered Lionheart
6 years ago
Reply to  Polly

Please don’t make generalizations about medications and how the different sexes feel on them.

All of this stuff is anecdotal evidence. While I believe the individuals about their experiences on Wellbutrin, anecdotes have no clinical significance.

Misinformation and generalization about antidepressants just makes the stigma harder to bear/ overcome.

I struggle with this stigma every day. Comments about specific meds and their side effects are appropriate in forums other than this one. Let’s not stray too far from the original point here.

Loridor
Loridor
6 years ago

I wish I could upvote this statement 100x’s. I’ve seen so many lives changed for the better by these medications—both in my work and personal friends—and hate to see generalizations that could discourage anyone in the forum from being open to working with a psychiatrist. With the right medication/s, I’ve heard a great many individuals describe relief at the stability they find in their lives. The drugs are not meant to get anyone “high” and if such a thing happens, it would be considered an adverse event and might even indicate a misdiagnosis or underlying condition.

Let go
Let go
6 years ago
Reply to  Loridor

I appreciate anecdotal info. It helps me research and make clear headed decisions about medicines. I recently had a health scare and was giving the standard prescription rate. Whoa! Not good. My doctor was about four layers away from my phone call so I made the decision to cut down the dose. I am currently on 1/8 the amount I was prescribed and doing fine. Another was so dangerous that I stopped it completely. The only info I could find was anecdotal but I am so glad I did. If someone asks me I will tell. No two bodies are the same and you need to be aware that what works for one does not for another.

Battle-tempered Lionheart
Battle-tempered Lionheart
6 years ago

*feel while on them

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  Polly

I guess my question is this, “How many narcissists were depressed or were on medications for it?”

The Limited never complained about our relationship; he complained about everyone and everything. His back problems were from fuckimg whatever he could. That’s where his efforts went. And while we wonder about why and the manner of the discard it’s rarely a one time, one day event. It’s calculated, planned and involves controllimig the narrative through lies. Disordered follow patterns that cannot be attributed to medication.

They have insight into what they do and don’t give a Fuck about who gets hurt including children.

LaT
LaT
6 years ago
Reply to  Alexandra

I have never posted here, but I just read your comment and I had the exact same response with Wellbutrin after my husbands affair. The affair happened in June 2013 i hardly ever talked about it, tried dealing with it quietly and I knew I was depressed. In November 2013 I got on Wellbutrin. About 2 weeks in, my house was getting rolled by teens. I jumped in my car and chased them down, knocking into our carport columns and tearing my driver side mirror. I continued the chase with it dangling from my car. (Didn’t catch them, thank goodness) Fast foward, I would go on for another month with unexplainable raging, uncontrollable and unconsolable sobbing in front him, even during christmas I had an episode and left in my car with no plans of returning, (that lasted a couple of hours). my husband suddenly saw all that I had been trying to hide, All my hurt and my anger. I was always relieved when my rage moment would be over bc I was finally showing my pain for once. It was a turning point for us and how we would deal with the affair moving forward. I stopped taking it Jan 2014 And I was able to cope better than I had prior to the medicine and definitely while taking it. He is not a narc and he totally could finally see and feel my hurt. We have still had bumps in the road but we are in a much better place. And I will never take Wellbutrin again.

Fern
Fern
6 years ago
Reply to  Alexandra

Very insightful – thanks for sharing your story.

Alexandra
Alexandra
6 years ago
Reply to  Fern

Thanks for reading it! It was quite a text wall!

Blee
Blee
6 years ago
Reply to  Joy

Just look at some f the current research done on the ‘western diet’ and you can clearly see how easy it is to mess up a person’s brain and thinking.
Way too much sugar and HFCS.
Way too many preservatives.
Way too many insecticides.
Way too many antibiotics used in food production.

It’s no wonder that some people go off the rails resulting in somewhat bizarre behaviour.

Carol
Carol
6 years ago
Reply to  Blee

Good point!????

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago
Reply to  Blee

People who eat Twinkies can murder others too!

Blee
Blee
6 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Hi Tracy

I agree with your sentiments, however, not every marriage involves cheating and chumping, and not every person is seriously affected by a ‘western diet’.

As Joy so courageously stated that she is affected by nightshades, then it can stand to reason that a percentage of the population is affected by a western diet (Hi sugar and HFCS in the diet, aspartime, etc) (and I forgot to add, western medication (Statins are a big issue with me)) which can lead to odd and bizarre behaviour from the person so affected.

I’m not defending cheating on a loyal partner per say, however, dietary and medication changes could potentially have a detrimental effect on personal relationships

Tundra Woman
Tundra Woman
6 years ago
Reply to  Blee

So can being a fuckwit.
So could spending too much time wandering down the aisles called “pop psychology,” “self-help,” “new age” and “The Devil Made Me Do it.”

“I’m not defending cheating on a loyal partner per se…” uh, oh, so the allegedly “disloyal” one’s are OK to cheat on? Actually, you are defending them through the anal/back door route by *offering a hypothesis* on *why* infidelity might happen-to a particular cohort, no less. Have you tested this hypothesis? Published in Peer Reviewed Journals? Inquiring minds are skeptical by nature-that’s my excuse.

“Why” doesn’t materially matter. It does not ease the pain, sadness, fear etc. of the victim. It is never on the task of Transgressed to “understand” the Transgressor. Just ask a fuckwit-or the average 3 yr. old why they did what they did: The list of inventive “reasons” is an epic shit show of muteness or word salad from the former, a hilarious adventure in denial from the later. Both are as probable and provable as the stated absence of malice-and conscience.

How ‘bout we’re affected by fuckwits and their screwing everything including the crack of dawn-given an opportunity? (Dawn? Who’s Dawn? Another Stripper? That makes how many?) That takes a shit ton of courage and while cause and effect are apparent to the previous poster, avoiding fuckwits is considerably more challenging as we are not yet evolved enough to have it inked in perpetuity on their foreheads. This is not a quadratic equation you solve for Fuckwittery.

I have a sense if some of the people here could get their hands on a particular kind of nightshade it’d make their night. And it would make their ex’s last one as well.

I’m whichya, Tracy. The Skein Abides!

JesssMom
JesssMom
6 years ago
Reply to  Tundra Woman

>>”That takes a shit ton of courage and while cause and effect are apparent to the previous poster, avoiding fuckwits is considerably more challenging as we are not yet evolved enough to have it inked in perpetuity on their foreheads. This is not a quadratic equation you solve for Fuckwittery.”

This is genius-level writing! Pure awesomeness, Tundra. 🙂

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

Love it Tundra! Well said

OhHellNo
OhHellNo
6 years ago
Reply to  Tundra Woman

“This is not a quadratic equation you solve for Fuckwittery.”

Tundra Woman, you rock!

Amiisfree
Amiisfree
6 years ago
Reply to  Blee

Even so, a person would still have to have the wiring to .*want*. to find out what is making him feel bad before he will ever discover what gets to him. Not everyone is interested in that journey. So, there’s still a basic character component.

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

Substance abuse is a mere symptom of a deeper underlying problem. It makes sense that narcs frequently have substance abuse problems. It’s not easy to live with yourself when you are a cold, dead monster inside.

NewToChumpdom
NewToChumpdom
6 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

Amen Amiisfree

Lady B
Lady B
6 years ago
Reply to  Blee

Umm hand up here. In my early twenties I was put on Luvox anti depressant, it changed my personality was an understatement. For three months I was high as a kite, I could talk anyone into anything, was premiscious and risk taking. I wanted to steal and break the law, which I did. I did not give a flying f, it was like my ego was on cocaine and the closest I have experienced to having a criminal mind. I have not taken antidepressants since and never will.

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago
Reply to  Lady B

I am totally in agreement that what we ingest can alter our behavior. Drugs and alcohol are obvious while the things we eat sometimes less so. I have no doubt that food dyes give me and my kids feelings that cause us to be in a bad mood triggering bad behavior. Eg- Swedish fish almost inevitably result in anger and tears. I avoid them and ask my kids to as well but sometimes they defy me and they are warned they will still be accountable for their behavior because they still know right from wrong. They have to learn that feelings don’t excuse bad behavior.

Chumpiness
Chumpiness
6 years ago
Reply to  Feelingit

Love this @Feelingit ! “They have to learn that feelings don’t excuse bad behavior”. My ex constantly said he did xyz because I, the kids, etc. made him feel abc. Not “ I’m sorry”, just “ it’s your fault I did it.” I’m dealing with this right now over visitation. The most recent nastygram demanding over double the time of the decree essentially said he had to get ugly because I wouldn’t agree to go against the court order. He had no choice, you see, but to be mean. I brought it on myself.

Barf.

AC
AC
6 years ago
Reply to  Feelingit

I disagree. Long term alcohol abuse harms more than the liver. It also damages brain cells.

The liver can regenerate if the scarring isn’t too extensive. But dead brain cells won’t heal.

The man I married wasn’t the same person 20+ years later after pickling his brain in non-stop rum and Everclear. He descended from rational discernment to believing every conspiracy theory he hears, and acting on them.

Off the crazy train
Off the crazy train
6 years ago
Reply to  Feelingit

I’m not entirely sure that I agree that alcohol ‘alters’ our behaviour. Perhaps this is simply semantics? But to me, alcohol loosens your inhibitions, and either brings out a side of you that was already there, or exaggerates an aspect of your character.

I don’t think alcohol turns you into a different person.

Not so sure about drugs, as they all do different things, and affect different parts of our brains and internal systems.

Even so, there must be an aspect of character exaggeration/ or bringing out a hidden character aspect?

As for E numbers, diet etc, again I’m not sure. But as above, it seems unlikely that they can turn you into a different person? Make you more irritable, hyper, aggressive, etc sure. But it’s still you, and those traits are still present?

Blee
Blee
6 years ago
Reply to  Lady B

Thanks Lady B

Your honesty and self appraisal is a credit to you.
Going cold turkey (non medicated) with depression is a personal challenge that takes a lot of hard work and soul searching. I’m so glad you came out the other side sane and happy.

Natalia.B
Natalia.B
6 years ago

This makes perfect sense for my serial cheater. Even yesterday I saw it yet again how his brain just could not reach for remorse or empathy. I’ve always felt that if you could separate your own emotions and exhaustion at dealing with it then it would be quite fascinating to observe it in action.

I’ll always remember an incident which proved my already heightened suspicions that my ex fell into this category. It was his day to see his children from a previous relationship (a girl then aged 7 years and a boy then 13). Despite it being winter they jumped into his car without thick coats as they were going to an indoor shopping centre. I stayed home but became worried as snow fell heavily as the afternoon went on. Around 7pm he walked in all smiles in having waded through deep snow on the drive. His children lived with their mother the other side of town so I asked how his journey had gone. I was shocked and horrified to find he had dropped them off at the side of a busy by-pass road/highway in the dark around three miles from home. Seeing my reaction his face turned to thunder and he said, “Don’t you understand, Natalia I had to give myself a fighting chance to get home.”

I thought then even if I could resurrect Freud and Jung there’s nothing could help this empty vessel. Thankfully a police car had passed the children and returned them home safely. To this day he doesn’t see what he did wrong ????.

Chumptydumpty
Chumptydumpty
6 years ago
Reply to  Natalia.B

Oh wow Natalia. That may just be the clearest disordered example I’ve heard yet.
My ex swore his secret life behavior had affected no one but me, I was the only one to whom he owed an he apology.
Not only had he left my (college age) daughter stranded & worried sick while he took a 90 min detour to a sex parlor (yeah I had already put a GPS on that f*cker), but he tried to proceed on a big business venture with his BEST FRIEND without disclosing the very large & looming possibility I’d be divorcing his ass & taking half the assets he planned to invest in that deal.
These secrets & more all fell on my shoulders as Wreckonciliation counselors urged confidentiality.
Eventually I did tell his friend, but have never had the heart to tell my daughter just how disgusting her dad is (although I did out his general behavior when he finally pushed my nuclear button).

He did finally issue the obligatory generic apology for his ‘mistakes’ to our kids. But to this day refused to acknowledge he owed anyone else that decency.

Spoonriver
Spoonriver
6 years ago
Reply to  Chumptydumpty

I used to think mine had a little problem with “common sense” then “cause and effect”. Fuckwit was brought up in a house where they were allowed few decisions hence poor decision making skills. Had a conversation (text) last night with him regarding divorce stuff. Confirmed he be cray cray. I can’t even go into the epic weirdness and blame shifting. It felt like a conversation I would have with a 9 year old.

Chumptydumpty
Chumptydumpty
6 years ago
Reply to  Spoonriver

Right? The circles they’ll speak in! And when you tell them how nonsensical it is they counter with indignance & superiority. We’re just too stupid to “get it”. Pffft.

AC
AC
6 years ago
Reply to  Chumptydumpty

You too?

Mine was overly proud of himself for arguing both sides of any issue in the same breath. He believed he was blessed with special insight and ability to prognosticate. He could spot gay men at a glance. And he correctly predicted that [insert band name here] would make a comeback, so that validated his other predictions.

Of course, he said I was just too dense to keep up.

When he got on a roll all I heard was non-stop self-contradiction that made absolutely no sense.

Battle-tempered Lionheart
Battle-tempered Lionheart
6 years ago
Reply to  AC

Yes! To all these things. How many times have I chalked up his behavior to social awkwardness or bad parental example? Truth is, he knows his decisions are bad. He just doesn’t care.

Like George Simon says, “They see, they just disagree.”

Don’t want to admit how much breath I have wasted trying to convince him why his behavior is hurtful. Honestly, it’s like talking to an alien from another planet. My 2 and a half year old had more insight than him. That’s not an exaggeration.

Pret
Pret
6 years ago

There’s no rhyme or reason to what they do. Cheater ex has ignored his 10 year old for the last four days…hasn’t called her…it’s as though she doesn’t exist. Two of those four days were his days off. This weekend he’s coming to visit her. The first time he will see her since August of last year. He will probably spend 1500-2000 on this trip yet he ignores her. What gives? Impression Management is all I can think…I say why bother? He’s already ignoring her why spend all that money?

NoMoreEvil
NoMoreEvil
6 years ago
Reply to  Pret

Interesting! My XH tried to blame me for not seeing his kids that he has with ex-wife, but when we separated briefly during some fighting, he went to his hometown and DID NOT EVEN VISIT HIS KIDS!!! Smh….

ICanSeeTheMehComing!
ICanSeeTheMehComing!
6 years ago
Reply to  Pret

Pret – My X is as regular as rain on his court appointed day and weekend visitations. But calls or texts in between… you know, the every day stuff to ask him about his day… how homework is going… how music lessons went… if he was ready for his test… nope, nada.

When asked, Mr. Sparkles will respond… “what’s the point, he only gives one or two word responses”… and that right there is the WHY. Mr. Sparkles doesn’t get what he needs, so ergo, it isn’t important.

I’m fortunate in that my son is a very emotionally intelligent kid and doesn’t seem to personalize his Dad’s lack of daily contact. If anything, it helps him compartmentalize his Dad to his visitation level role in his life.

Rest assured, your daughter knows it too. She has one sane parent (you) and that is enough. She’ll come to see her absent father as “Uncle Dad”… just make sure he still has money leftover from these binges to pay for her college.

Tall One
Tall One
6 years ago

I struggle w/ your response. And it’s a topic for another day.

But I don’t txt/call my teenagers everyday. I don’t check in on those details. I’ve asked them if I should, they say no. Of course I feel crappy for not, but it’s a part of my boundaries that I’m figuring out. Plus it may be a bit of a dad/male thing.

Stbx texts regularly. I feel like it invades my time w/ them when it is…

I feel guilty for not, but they say no….

OtherRebecca
OtherRebecca
6 years ago
Reply to  Tall One

I would be hard on yourself…you asked the kids how they want to be in contact, they were open in telling you, and you are respecting their wishes. All that courtesy seems very far from ignoring them between visits.
You’re doing a good job!

OtherRebecca
OtherRebecca
6 years ago
Reply to  OtherRebecca

Would NOT be hard on yourself I meant…whoops!

Tessie
Tessie
6 years ago

It does make sense in a strange sort of way. If indeed this is something that the sufferer is not able to control ie: a brain blip is the reason they are empathy deficient, in the end, the results are the same, and for us the solution is the same.

We didn’t cause it, we can’t fix it. We still get to decide if we have to live with it. Abuse, bad behavior, cheating, all deal breakers, whatever the reason. They are still responsible for their actions, just as we are. They may not “get” empathy, but earned consequences come around regardless. That’s life.

JesssMom
JesssMom
6 years ago
Reply to  Tessie

This has always been a bit tough for me. I am a hard ass about personal accountability, but because of that it’s really, really important to me to make sure I’m being just in my estimates of others (not so much for myself …. gotta work on that).

Is it Nature or Nurture? And, what’s the role of accountability? If it’s mostly nature (like a schizophrenic), is the serial cheating asshat really accountable? If it is mostly nurture, again — tough to hold him accountable when I know his parents (in addition to the beatings) took him to church to have them “pray the devil out of him” when he was a young child. 🙁

In the end, I’ve concluded that it’s both Nature and Nurture … and that it doesn’t matter too much. As long as they have the capacity to understand right from wrong, they ARE accountable. A few things that really pushed me to this conclusion:

Asshat could impressively MIMIC moral behavior. The image he created (lied to create) was of a really decent, hard-working, dedicated guy. THIS image tells me he fully understands what is “good” and “moral” and what isn’t.
The lies themselves. (Pathological … so many, for so long … big and little). Lying about so much shows a conscious understanding that the thing he’s lying about is NOT good.
(Using Tracy’s example of the hot stove) …. let’s say the person has only a few nerve endings and burns his hand on a stove. Afterwards, he sees the blisters and scarring. He would not want to repeat the process simply because the outcome is bad. Most Cluster Bs have some (though limited) capacity for empathy. Regardless, when they hurt someone, they can SEE that the person is damaged (tears, etc.). They understand it creates confusion, chaos, and prolonged problems. So, there is ample reason for them to stop the hurtful behavior, even with minimal empathy.
What we also know about the brain is that it can be ACTIVELY re-wired (that’s what most of us are doing in the process to un-chump ourselves …. change some of the neural connections that support keeping us stuck in abusive situations). The wiring of the brain is associated more with nurture than nature. Our brains our taught “this is good for me” (I was taught it is good to accept that I don’t matter … serial-cheating asshat was taught that power and control are the primary goals of life). Rewiring these deeply held beliefs requires other parts of the brain (the rational, “manager” part) to recognize that the results of the wiring are somehow wrong … so we can start to identify it and then work very hard to change it. But, the main point is that we CAN change it.
All of the above bring me to this: the types we deal with here are the types that don’t just lack empathy — they ALSO get off on hurting people. While this requires a lack of empathy, it requires much more than that. It requires a perspective of life, the world, and people that not only places them as central, but it feeds on pain. That worldview is very much in their power. They can change it … but they don’t. For them, the benefits from power and control far outweigh the benefits of simply acting within moral bounds. This, I think, is best summed up by Dr. Simon’s statement that it’s not that they don’t see, they just disagree.

**Regardless of the lack of empathy, regardless of the horrible childhood, the serial-cheating asshat really DOES understand that he’s causing pain; he understands it’s not good to cause pain; but he doesn’t feel that there is enough incentive to put the work in to change that. So, yes — he’s accountable. Completely.

Nikki Lynn
Nikki Lynn
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

Well said, Jessmom. I had a world class Mimiker of moral behavior. That’s the absolute most galling thing in my book — physical abuse would have at least been honest.

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

Serial cheaters/perverts go through great lengths to hide their behaviors. That says it all: They know right from wrong. They just don’t care about it.

Jodi Lynch
Jodi Lynch
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

See I could buy all of this ~ that its not their fault ~ their brains are wired wrong … if it wasn’t for #1.

My asshole cheater could fake moral behavior and still does. If they can fake it ~ they do know right from wrong.

So, no ~ I’m not buying the its not their fault thing.

NoMoreEvil
NoMoreEvil
6 years ago
Reply to  Jodi Lynch

#5 is also very significant because it’s not that they are just indifferent and and unable to express empathy, they are actually enjoying your pain in a sadistic way. That is not excusable in my book.

CanadianDad
CanadianDad
6 years ago
Reply to  Jodi Lynch

Exactly! If your X has enough of a connection to reality to be concerned with impression management, then they know what things should look like, but are choosing not to do it. Even if they don’t “get” why certain behaviours are socially acceptable, they are smart enough to know they should at least fake it.

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago
Reply to  Jodi Lynch

Dancing Dick\ was calculated and methodical in his perverted/cheating activities. Every step was planned and orchestrated with a set of accompanying lies/ gas lighting tactics.

To me that says everything. No pass for the lying deceiver! He did it……he wanted to do it……..he planned it…..he covered it up with lies/deception. That means “guilty”- not genetically flawed!

Miko Chump
Miko Chump
6 years ago

Agreed! Mr. Penis Head told me he’s always looked at women “as sexual objects”. I really tried not to laugh in his face. Didn’t work. This is his excuse??? I am so glad I’m finding humor here. After all, D-Day was yesterday. Broken heart be damned. I hate being a chump more than anything.

JesssMom
JesssMom
6 years ago
Reply to  Jodi Lynch

Exactly. And the slippery slope (especially for us chumps) is to go down the “it’s not his/her fault” path and, therefore, NOT hold the person accountable. For most of us, it would tug at our overly large heart-strings.

I think this is why it is so essential to see the complexities of it. Yes, they have some limited capacities (not their fault — not our fault), but they also understand what is right and wrong, and they intentionally do what is wrong. And, importantly, they choose to do what is wrong at our–and our children’s–expense (their fault – but not our fault).

Alexandra
Alexandra
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

Exactly. I tried untangling the skein for a long time until I looked at myself and realized I was repeating a pattern. My mother always blamed my father’s issues on his childhood. Everything was his mother’s fault. Which to a degree is true IF you simply see it as a reason that a behaviour got there in the first place BUT it is not a reason or excuse for ongoing poor behaviour when you have a family. You owe your family better than your worst possible self. My mother saw my Dad as a hurting kid and myself as someone this stuff could just be explained to. Someone who could “take the hit.” But the reality was my Dad was an adult. (“Adult.”) And my mother was not doing ANY of us any favors spackling for him. It kept him from having to deal with things himself or make his own amends if he wanted to. Or develop the skills not to freak out, drink and/Or cheat. (I wasn’t aware of cheating as a kid). It also taught me that love was the big, complex, difficult challenge that you kept hammering away at. My father is NPD. One of the rare ones with a diagnosis. My mother sent him to the brain clinic in the states telling him how he can show everyone how impressive his brain is and how he would prove every nay-sayer wrong etc. They told him to quit drinking. Full stop. He would have a stroke otherwise. Then he told them how the testing was BS. (And still quit drinking ha!) But the pattern I was at risk of repeating was thinking my husband cheated because of his very broken childhood. True, his childhood was a complete brain-messing disaster that would probably screw-up the best of us. But when he left my 3 year-old and I alone on Valentines weekend with an “I’ll call you” and he never did, he got kicked out when he got back. Because at that point he was in his mid-30s so he no longer qualified as a “hurt kid.” He was an irresponsible adult. Who, ironically would disappear and then criticize my parenting. But what I did have with me that weekend was a very crushed 3 year-old who made a Valentine for her father including his favorite little cupcakes. She kept asking if he was back yet and crying. So I realized HE wasn’t a hurting kid. He was hurting HIS kid. And having grown up “taking the hit” for my Dad’s evety mood swing i was not tolerating that for my little daughter to keep the “status quo.” Cheater be damned. Anything short of him being held in a hostage situation or hospitalized with no way for next of kin to be notified would have stopped me from kicking him out on that Monday. Certainly not his childhood which ended 20 years prior. If bad childhoods made people hurt kids I would have hurt them myself. My childhood sucked. I wasn’t ever tempted to re-enact it with my own little people.

lyndaloo
lyndaloo
6 years ago
Reply to  Alexandra

Good for you for recognizing that he is an adult and it’s on him to act like one.. I always marvel at as a society we try to justify all bad behaviour with poor childhood, blah blah blah. What about all the people who didn’t even get a childhood. Think about being born in a war torn country, living in a refugee camp, being a hollochaust survivor, the list goes on and on. I wonder if these people, if lucky enough to survive would consider some of the childhood traumas we cite in North America justification for destroying their families. I know there are unspeakable horrors that some children suffer at the hands of so called parents but surely these are the exception and cannot be compared with some of the excuses offered by cheaters to justify their betrayal of family!

Alexandra
Alexandra
6 years ago
Reply to  lyndaloo

Well, to be honest I had a pretty deprivational/ traumatic childhood. When no was in my early 20s I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I know that’s the latest “flavor of the month” to pin bad behaviour on. I was one of the luckier ones though. I knew that there was SOMETHING wrong with me. I worked at the university at the time so I started digging around the resources there. I knew that there was no way I came out unscathed from my childhood. I left home at 16 and worked while I finished high school. But one night I was sitting at the bus stop thinking about my courses / exams that I had coming up and I heard in my head my Dad’s critical abusive voice shouting at me. I was so sad aboit it because I realized that even though I had left home and was making my own way in the world that they were STILL with me. I couldn’t just drop their crazy off and never have it effect me again. So I started trying to fix it because I knew there was stuff wrong with me. I went through a broken engagement (in hindsight I was very demanding and manipulative but I could not see it at the time because it was “normal” for me.) And I ended up in the hospital over it. When I met with the diagnosing psychiatrist I told him that I knew there was something wrong with me despite my friends saying “oh no you’re great etc.” Because that’s just something people say to boost each other up when they think you’re being hard on yourself. I knew it wasn’t normal to want to kill yourself and end up in the hospital when someone breaks up with you. None of my friends went through anything like that and they couldn’t understand it either. He showed me the BPD criteria and I was very grateful. I wasn’t crazy (Well, I was, but I wasn’t crazy in thinking I was crazy!) So I didn’t years trying to realize when I was being hyper-sensitive to criticism (it still catches me sometimes). I also started to realize when no felt what I called “emotional flooding.” Sometimes I would have to take a sleeping pill so it would pass before I started having thoughts of self-harm. Finally after a couple of years I had EMDR therapy that took away the trauma pain almost completely. I was re-evaluated in 2012. I now present with symptoms of ADHD (which I take meds for) and not BPD. Huge relief. I make efforts EVERDAY to emotionally regulate. What comes naturally to others I put work into. Some days I fail. But I had enough skills to deal with my husband’s cheating and addictions and stay stable and centered. Lots of people love to blame Cluster B people for the evil in the world but I never once cheated on my husband. Not even the side eye or flirty crap or online whatever that people do now. Cluster B is not a direct cause or reason for cheating. I get the emotional drivers that many Cluster B people have to do it, but it’s strikes me as an unfortunate blanket statement. And kind of ironic that the people most emotionally sensitive to criticism are now often subjected to very harsh criticism. (And online, often uneducated. In one of the relationship forums I used to visit I swear everyone’s ex was either NPD or BPD. Well, the truth is you cant usually tell by Date 3 and maybe she just didn’t like you! There were people claiming “oh she’s BPD” about this one woman I would guess was more of a total sociopath.)
And BPD makes up such a spectrum of behaviour that’s it’s hard to affix all traits to one person. I wasn’t a rager (except for the short period with meds). I was more of a sad sausage “everybody hates me type of BPD that was so overwhelmed by my own crippling sadness and desperation to be liked that I could not see the effect my emotional tides and behaviours had on anyone else. Until EMDR therapy took away the flooding. But to anyone wanting to excuse their cheaters – DON’T. Nothing short of proper therapy that I put the effort into could have saved me from all of those issues, and I still have residual issues that might never be resolved! You cannot “nice” a cheater into behaving or loving you well.

lyndaloo
lyndaloo
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

I think the tendency to try to justify abhorrent behaviour is simply looking for an excuse for people with who lack character. I don’t know if Doughboy was a true narc, I just know he was selfish and childlike. He wanted everything and was envious. I could look at his family and say his father was the same, his mother was a social climber and was bitterly unhappy in her marriage. Should that excuse him from being a Cheatet? There a lots of issues in every family and in every marriage. Mature people who are committed work things out. The fact that Doughboy stayed in a marriage for 39 years, telling me he loved me and would always be there and at the same time was trolling for OW says to me …. He is lacking in character. It isn’t about sex, it isn’t about not being happy it’s about a total lack of character! It means that over those 39 years he was image managing, he didn’t develop a love for his wife, children, grandkids or extended family that was deeper than his carnal desires. You have to ask how is that even possible? A total lack of character is my answer.

Goaheadandjump
Goaheadandjump
6 years ago
Reply to  lyndaloo

I’m not sure if mine is a total narc. I agree that he is a childish selfish seeker…. never present, never happy. He always played the victim card and had lots of women who wanted to take care of him. Until his ho worker looked at him with interest. He fell hook line and sinker . Thinks she will bring him youth and joy. Barf!

JesssMom
JesssMom
6 years ago
Reply to  lyndaloo

>>”I think the tendency to try to justify abhorrent behaviour is simply looking for an excuse for people with who lack character.”

I get that … and there is probably some truth in it. I know I’ve examined and re-examined why I spackled so long and so hard for the serial-cheating asshole. This is what I came up with:

1. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt … and I truly believe in second chances (my optimism was really naive, but well-intended).

2. I genuinely believed he was good — that there was a good person inside. (Obviously, the information that led me to that conclusion was faulty.)

3. I genuinely believed that people do better when they know better. (Hopium Express!)

4. I saw the hurt kid he was … I understood, logically, why he had some mal-adaptive behaviors. But, I also believed that LOVE would conquer this since it was the thing he was missing as a kid. (*Pollyanna worldview!)

5. My own mindset caused me to view his bad actions as individual, distinct mistakes. (I have CPTSD — again, bad childhood.) So, it never occurred to me to see the comprehensive nature of his actions — which would have led me to see that it was a deep character problem.

6. I knew there were bad people in the world, but I always pictured them as the ones in jail … (yes, super naive). It did NOT (even for a second occur) to me that someone would use my kindness and integrity as weapons against me. Honestly, this still stumps me … it is so horrible to even think about.

I guess what I’m saying is that, like all of this other stuff, there are probably a complexity of reasons why we look for excuses for their horrible behaviors. What you mentioned makes sense to me, though. Especially near the end when I was realizing some things — I can see that I was deceiving myself more than anything. I desperately did NOT want to believe that he was a bad person.

RockStarWife
RockStarWife
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

Referring to Chumpiness’ post, ‘So-and-So is a good guy.’ A therapist I know implied regarding my ex-boyfriend that his cruel, distancing behavior and discarding of me after treating me as a rebound may have been caused by his ex-wife abusing and cheating on him. I think that that is excusing too much. I was tremendously abused for 14 straight years by my husband and I never comsidered treating my boyfriend less than the hero (not perfect but great) I thought he was. Too bad I was wrong in reading his character. Sometimes I think that if he had had significantly better character (honest across the board, truly empathetic) and loved me, then we would have a beautiful, very long romantic relationship. Guess I’ve learned the hard way over and over again that spackling, while perhaps in the short run less painful than acknowledging the truth about one’s partner will result in more total pain over the course of one’s life.

RockStarWife
RockStarWife
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

Jesssmom,
Your last paragraph beautifully sums up how I feel about my ex-boyfriend–I desperately wanted to believe that my ex-boyfriend was an all-around good guy (so many people said so). In some ways he was, but he treared me very badly in some ways over the last few years. When many things in my and my relatives’ lives went to H–l in a hand basket, people used to tell me, ‘At least you’ve got Me. Nice Guy.’ I think that I hung on to this image of him (instead of fully acknowledging that he was Jekyll-and-Hyde who never really loved me) because then I would have felt that every facet of my life was falling apart. I wanted to believe in the Just World Hypothesis (that, after experiencing many years of abuse, I would get a good guy).

Goaheadandjump
Goaheadandjump
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

Ditto Jessmom! We are cut from the same chumpy loving cloth!

Chumpiness
Chumpiness
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

Thank you Jesssmom for this summary. It really helps me to understand how I spackled so long. I’m still trying to untangle from these thought patterns. Post-divorce I hear my youngest repeating “Dad’s a good guy” as she tries to convince herself. He’s conditioned us all to accept his intentions- defined by him of course – over his actions. Now I keep repeating to myself, hourly, look at his actions. What do *they* say? It’s tough to change the pattern, but critical for our healing and wellbeing.

Nikki Lynn
Nikki Lynn
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

Annnnd, add in the cultural message that “men are kinda stupid”, “they don’t get it.’ Annnnd, that marriage is hard work. And, most importantly, not knowing the full truth . . . And you have (I had) a recipe for staying and staying and staying.

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

JesssMom – THIS right here: “I think this is why it is so essential to see the complexities of it. Yes, they have some limited capacities (not their fault — not our fault), but they also understand what is right and wrong, and they intentionally do what is wrong. And, importantly, they choose to do what is wrong at our–and our children’s–expense (their fault – but not our fault).” I loved your first, longer post but this sums it all up so nicely for me. As Tracy said, they might lack some gray matter but they still have agency. They CHOSE the behaviors. It was intentional.

What is more, the ability to mimic moral behavior is, in my opinion, the absolute worst feature of these cheaters. My ex fooled me and my entire family for more than three decades. And my poor son, who looked at his father as his hero and his moral compass on how to be a man. How is he supposed to assimilate the reality that all of that was just a facade? He spent 20 of his 25 years believing that his dad was a good person and worthy of hero worship and now he’s supposed accept that he was duped along with the rest of us? Not an easy lesson. One that I can not imagine learning myself. My late father has always been my hero. I can not imagine the horror of learning things about him that my kids have learned about their dad (I’m not talking the details of the cheating, I’m referring to his behavior towards them). And that trumps everything for me. I don’t give a fuck if he’s missing brain matter or ate a “western diet” or whatever. His voluntary, conscious behavior of mimicking a moral character to protect his secret life Hurt. My. Children. That is all I need to know.

JesssMom
JesssMom
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

>>”His voluntary, conscious behavior of mimicking a moral character to protect his secret life Hurt. My. Children. That is all I need to know.”

Wanted to give you a really big virtual (((hug))) for this statement. Yes, yes, and yes.

Initially, I was so deluded by the lies, gaslighting, and abuse that I likely would have gone back, even with the new knowledge that he would always hurt me … (yeah, childhood abuse has long-term impact).

But what had happened and was happening to my kids stopped me cold. I had to protect them. I had to model strength for them. Of course, this meant exactly one thing … I had to leave.

(Now, I’m thrilled to be out even for my own sake … it just took some time to heal to be able to really embrace that.)

Again, thank you, Beth. Your love for your kids … seeing that level of love in such a messed up world … it does wonders for me. 🙂

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

Yes the mimicking! I know the mimicking! The last time I went to church with Dancing Dick (ex narc)- his cell phone was loaded with porn and web cam hoes. Found this out in hindsight.

Recalling him singing in church that day- I still shudder. Who can sing “How Great Thou Art”……with a cell phone full of disgusting porn?

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

Thanks for the virtual hug JesssMom. You know I adore you too, right?!

Spoonriver
Spoonriver
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

That’s why I think church is so important to the fuckwit after betrayal. He needs a rigid set of rules so he can know how to behave. He has little if any empathy or decision making skills. Maybe that is why we have so many Jesus cheaters. The fuckwits want to fit in and don’t have the capacity unless there is a clear social construct such as religion with it’s rules and clear consequences. Hey you also get forgiven and you get to start over.

Amiisfree
Amiisfree
6 years ago
Reply to  Jodi Lynch

If a murderer wanted to kill me because he had a mental illness, I would not stop to worry whether his desire was his fault before getting the f out of there. 🙂

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago

“I wish someone would have told me — this is just who he IS. It’s not your fault. He cannot be the person you need him to be — walk away.”

A hard lesson to learn Tracy. I had myself a 41 year case study. The Limited as you know never changed. Sometimes I laugh at the thought he mirrored all that he was lacking from me and in fact the OW fell for my qualities, not his.

The man I’ve been dating is kind,l and intelligent, yet does lacks the ability to initiate. My therapist said I need to communicate better and talk to him about this. My daughter in the other hand said, “It’s who he IS.”

Fuck, do I really need to talk to a 60 year old man about initiating? To me that’s a fixer upper and I know enough to stop fixing that which IS. Walking away is an important tool Chumps need to recognize.

Chumptydumpty
Chumptydumpty
6 years ago
Reply to  Doingme

I wound up with a disordered boyfriend after divorcing. I knew well at that point that “this is who he is”. The long history was there as proof. Still, despite everything I’d been thru I kept allowing myself to be lured back by the good stuff. Hopium is a tough mutha to kick. The notion that we’d (I’d) be the one to turn that ship around is so hard to push aside, even when it slams you right back into the same rock again & again. Do chumps have too much off the grey empathy brain fluff?
“It takes time”, “be patient”, etc, say the counselors. We get programmed to tolerate this shit or else we’re the selfish assholes who abandoned the ’til death’ vows.
Reading studies like this does help validate our decision to jump ship. I only hope more chumps pursue individual therapy along with/rather than marriage counseling, to help them (us) turn the empathy switch off until we achieve a new, healthy normal.

Leavealyingloser
Leavealyingloser
6 years ago

I am so haunted by the blank stare i got at the end. Especially when i read how others got that same blank stare. It is beyond eerie. Now it is as if someone scooped out their personality. They can still act the same but sometimes its as if they really get tripped up. They are searching for a response?

Survivor
Survivor
6 years ago

I noticed that whenever I cried, which wasn’t often, the X would tilt his head and stare at me like I was a science experiment. It was odd. No words of comfort, no touch. Just observation. He didn’t feel a thing. He was just interested to see what pain looked like and to figure out how to cause it.

That is not normal or acceptable. I just didn’t know then what I know now.

Natalia.B
Natalia.B
6 years ago

I suppose if that component is missing we can’t really hold them accountable. By that I don’t mean forgive them and stay just see it as a blip of nature. Imagine those of us with the empathy/remorse wiring being told not to feel it. We wouldn’t know how. It must be the same for these people in reverse. Very frightening.

ChumpSaidBuhBye
ChumpSaidBuhBye
6 years ago
Reply to  Natalia.B

I don’t know about not holding them accountable. Even if they can’t feel empathy, they were (presumably) raised in in a way that teaches about right and wrong. They may not be able to put themselves in somebody else’s shoes but they know what the rules of society are and that treating people certain ways is wrong.

CanadianDad
CanadianDad
6 years ago
Reply to  Natalia.B

But they DID agree to something. Marriage vows, committed relationships, business partnerships, whatever, all come with rules. They knew the rules, they broke the rules. You might be able to say that you have a tough time following the rules, but you can’t say you didn’t know what they were. What about the other person? That’s why they are called cheaters!! They weren’t unclear on the rules, they just decided that they didn’t like them any more. Not convenient. MFers!!!

Sorry, a bit testy today.

TKO
TKO
6 years ago
Reply to  Natalia.B

Natalia, I think you are offering a totally invalid comparison. Normal healthy-brained people don’t lie, manipulate, and betray – not just because of their empathy but because of their honesty, their sense of self, their acceptance of the rights of others. There is nothing in the absence of empathy that necessitates behavior like this. That is, NPDs still know cheating is wrong and have the autonomy to avoid it even if they don’t or can’t imagine how it feels to their victims. That is precisely why they lie, evade, blame shift, etc. – because they know they’re exploiting and harming others. You could ask a non-disordered person to do the impossible task of not feeling empathy, as you propose, and their response wouldn’t be to begin lying to their partner that they are achieving this goal. They’d be honest and say “sorry, I simply can’t ‘not feel’ empathy”. And if not feeling empathy were a condition of a relationship, they’d forthrightly bow out. Why don’t disordereds likewise state what they are and limit their relationships to other disordereds so they can avoid harming and exploiting? (I’ll answer my own question – because in addition to not feeling empathy, what they DO feel is extreme power in being cunning and illicit; in being able to trick others and play puppet master; in receiving every petty ego-wish immediately and without reciprocity.)

Amiisfree
Amiisfree
6 years ago
Reply to  Natalia.B

I guess it depends on what you mean by “hold accountable”. It all boils down to this for me — if a person is harming me and/or those I care about, the person doesn’t get to be near me. If the person commits a crime against me, I will report it. Therefore, the person does have some accountability in the macrocosm (consequences) whether or not he takes responsibility willingly in the microcosm.

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Subtly pointing out that Esther Perel has the narc characteristic of stuffing feelings!

Today’s blog has given me yet another aha moment! After fuckwit left, he made the comment that when feelingit felt bad, she wanted everyone else to be miserable. Now it is dawning on me that my expectation was empathy-which he didn’t understand. So he was lead to conclude was she wants me to feel bad too. Stupid fuckwit!

AwakeningDreamer
AwakeningDreamer
6 years ago
Reply to  Feelingit

Omg feelingit: I had s flashback reading your comment- he confronted me ‘did I need him to feel as I did’ maybe it was as you said: he couldn’t empathize beyond a minimal level.

ChumpSaidBuhBye
ChumpSaidBuhBye
6 years ago

The blank stare gave me the chills. He can’t feel empathy, so he just shuts down for a moment while his brain tries to process information it’s not equipped to process.

That’s when I knew for sure that the relationship wouldn’t last.

ChumpMe
ChumpMe
6 years ago

I used to to tell my STBX that talking to him was like talking to a blackhole. The blank stare I got from him was unreal. He’s not able to feel my pain, but he can sure feel sorry for himself. He has no problem there…

nomar
nomar
6 years ago

This research will ring true to anyone married to a serial cheater.

I was married to my serial cheater ex-wife for 22 years. Never once saw her tear up at a song, movie, story, or memory. Complained bitterly if I suggested making any charitable donation. Dead-eye stare when I was devastated by D-day 1. So, yeah, zero empathy. She openly mocked my sentimentality as weakness and lack of sophistication. It was a life of watching “On Golden Pond” alone.

Only two memories of her crying. One upon the death of her father, who fawned over her to a degree that was vaguely romantic and creepy. The second when I found out about her decade-plus of cheating with multiple partners and said I wanted a divorce. Both incvolved the loss of kibble supply. She can do some emotions, but only as they relate to her.

Won’t be surprised if he part of brain these folks are missing also does risk assessment and shame, because they’re terrible at both.

RockStarWife
RockStarWife
6 years ago
Reply to  nomar

I don’t recall ever seeing my ex-husband nor my latest ex-boyfriend cry. I think that the closest my ex-boyfriend came to that was the time I went to his hide to take my clothes out of his closet (after he discarded me), I told him basically that I was devastated, and he told me that he felt guilty for two weeks for thinking about breaking up with me but ‘was getting better.’ He also lied that he might never have a relationship again–although he was by then dating my replacement. He wanted me to feel sorry for him for what he repeatedly initiated–him dumping me whenever he found someone more exciting. Still makes me mad!

Nikki Lynn
Nikki Lynn
6 years ago
Reply to  nomar

This brings up something I’ve always wondered about. My seriel cheater (and I mean this in the fullest definition of the term) displayed “tenderness” and teared up quite a bit. I’m thinking of, for example, watching inspirational/sad stories or movies on TV . . . Yet, he couldn’t show me empathy after tearing our marriage to shreds to save his life.

Risk assessment and shame . . . Nah, he didn’t do much of either of those . . .

HAPPY
HAPPY
6 years ago

My ex gave his daughter a romance card for her 18th birthday recently. On the cover is a drawing of a man groping a woman with the quote “To love and to be loved is the greatest happiness of existence”.

Inside the card is another drawing of a woman reaching out to a man who is laying on the ground, both have looks of desire on their faces. Ex wrote over this drawing quotes from Andy Andrews “The Traveler’s Gift” numbering the 7 decisions of personal success. The self help book was given to her as a gift.

Ex narc made her 18th birthday all about him. No mention of how awesome she is. How proud he is to be her dad. He spends this moment and the other few times they spent in person telling her how he’s a good person and how he forgives himself. He has told her that part of her brain has yet to develop and that someday she will understand why he did, what he did.
So weird…The message on the front of the card was meant to convey that he’s experiencing love and finally feeling love (from the OW), and that is the most important thing in life?
Silly teenager, that’s why I deceived you and your mom day after day in the family home!
After years of daily lying about not drinking, along with the cheating= Ex will have to spend the rest of his life forgiving himself.
No empty apologies needed.

TheBestMe
TheBestMe
6 years ago
Reply to  HAPPY

My youngest son received a birthday card on his 18th birthday from his father just months after our divorce when me and the kids were still hurting bad and reeling. My kids had been no contact for about a year and EX had only paid months of child support and my sons 18th birthday meant that finances for us were going to be tight. (EX has never paid another dime towards his two boys after that day)

So the card was a sappy card about how happy parents make happy kids and he is one of the happiest parents alive. He than wrote a note that stated he knows that kids are happy because he is finally happy in life.

So your kids will not talk to you because you were so cruel to them for years, you screwed over their mother and physically attached her one day and you told them to get a job because you helped yourself to their college funds because you had to take care of yourself thru the divorce (no one else will right…)
but you are sure they are happy because you are finally happy after years of emotional abuse from their mother.

Yep, that brain is not wired right, I did not need a study to tell me that. What does it really matter if he cannot stop lying and cheating or if he just does not want to stop lying and cheating, walking away is the only option to save yourself and the kids.

Just be grateful that it is not you that badly wired. Maybe it will help to kids when you can honestly tell them that “Daddy/Mommy loves you as much as they are capable of.”

Alexandra
Alexandra
6 years ago
Reply to  HAPPY

That’s just ick!

Leavealyingloser
Leavealyingloser
6 years ago
Reply to  HAPPY

That card is really bizarre. I have heard other narcs go on about how others brains have not developed the capacity to understand certain things. Does any brain ever reach a point to understand their upside down logic? Or is it more that their brain has developed in a different way just from sheer will. Sort of like contorting your body by wearing shoes that are too small. They seem to be very in control of flipping the switch.

HAPPY
HAPPY
6 years ago

Ex narc is in AA and OW is a narc too. OW love bombed him with expensive gifts and clothes (picked where they left off 25 years ago in college) Ex grew up privileged, entitled, and getting away with activities average kids would have had consequences/ punishments for. Red flags, I now see.
He’s selectively forgetful and acts aloof- Ex doesn’t want to think about what he’s done because that will make him feel bad.
He’s a wise sage who can teach his daughter how enlightened he’s become after all this. He’s got his resentment list and now he’s a better person who can teach her many things! Trainwreck.

Ever_the_Empath
Ever_the_Empath
6 years ago

My ex would get angry whenever I asked him to put himself in my shoes or said how would you feel if you were me? To him the question was completely irrelevant. But after doing some research I started noticing that he could never put himself in anyone else’s shoes. He had falling outs with friends and I would be his confidant, and after a while I started asking him deliberate questions to see if he could ever see things from the other person’s perspective. I came up short every single time. I’m with champ lady, I find it fascinating, and I think my last year with him was more of a science experiment because I was already convinced I would have to walk away eventually (although there was still some hopium at play) but I was fascinated with the pathology.

Cancer Chump
Cancer Chump
6 years ago

My STBX was angry that my dad was mad at him. I asked, “Wouldn’t you be upset with someone who cheated on your daughter and left her during cancer?”. His response was “I don’t know”

I asked him one other time how he would feel if someone treated his daughter the way he has treated me. Again he said he didn’t know.

They absolutely cannot see past themselves.

Lady B
Lady B
6 years ago

Did the same experimentation, it made him squirm, one of the only things that did. They know they are two dimensional and their life is a theatre of pretend to make up for this defeceit.

JesssMom
JesssMom
6 years ago
Reply to  Lady B

>>” I think my last year with him was more of a science experiment.”

Hahahaha! Yes! I was in scientific “observation” mode …. kind of like observing this new species that I had never heard of. Trying to tie what I was learning about it (via CL/CN, Dr. Simon, etc.) and his behaviors. It was so strange …. very happy to no longer be in that situation!

mila
mila
6 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

CL – maybe the solution is to hit them over the head with a 2X4. Do you think that might change them? I would gladly participate in a study, I would not even accept payment!

Tempest
Tempest
6 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Wait….so there is a slim possibility that hitting a cheater in the head with a shovel might improve them? Which scientists are set to explore this? I’ll contribute.

Sucker Punched by a Saffa
Sucker Punched by a Saffa
6 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

A cricket bat would do the trick for me, with his name dremel wood engraved to personalize it !

NoMoreEvil
NoMoreEvil
6 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Lmao, Tempest!!!????????????

NoMoreEvil
NoMoreEvil
6 years ago
Reply to  NoMoreEvil

About the shovel comment above!

chirral
chirral
6 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Epidemiologist here – I propose a one-armed clinical trial (no control group). Let’s hit ’em all in the head with shovels!

Tempest
Tempest
6 years ago
Reply to  chirral

I agree; within-subject design. Pre- vs post- measurements of behavior should suffice.

Nikki Lynn
Nikki Lynn
6 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Yes, I would very much like to be a part of that research team as well!!!!

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago
Reply to  Nikki Lynn

I’m all in! If the shovel doesn’t work- the scientists can try a baseball bat!

CanadianDad
CanadianDad
6 years ago
Reply to  Nikki Lynn

How about the AP? Do we get to hit them too? I have a big shovel handy for that MFer

Goaheadandjump
Goaheadandjump
6 years ago
Reply to  CanadianDad

I want to hit the AP more than the narkle…. must be a bit of spackle still going on 🙁

JesssMom
JesssMom
6 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

When my oldest daughter was in a car accident (age 17 at the time) — she had six skull fractures, a hematoma, and air trapped in her skull. What I know NOW is that they thought she was going to die. But, thankfully (x1000), she didn’t …

After she woke up from the coma (about 4 days), she was so much like a little girl again — maybe around the age of 5. When asked to write and “S,” she drew a circle. It was terrifying and heartbreaking.

But one of the “clues” I had that she would be okay was that she would get very irritated and cuss at the nurses and doctors. The doctors were immediately concerned there was front-lobe damage. I kind of laughed (because I was relieved) … the irritation and cussing was VERY normal for her — please, keep in mind she was a rambunctious 17 year old. I could tell my girl was still “in there.”

And she was. It took some time and months of speech, occupational, and physical therapy — but she is almost completely healed. She still gets more headaches than she used to and one of the nerves was cut so that she is now deaf in one ear. But, otherwise, she’s doing fantastic! That first year, even though studying gave her migraines and caused her to vomit, she worked with a tutor and still graduated high school on time! Now she is living on her own, going to school, and running 10-hour marathons! (My children are really awesome!)

One of the interesting aspects of dealing with the brain injury — was the Harvard-trained neurologist who said he could not give her a prognosis (in the days after she woke up). He said that they (the medical and science communities) know very little about the human brain, how it works, and how it heals. I was STUNNED. I had no idea.

So, I think it’s important to remember that ALL of this new data on the brain is terrific, but we need to be cautious to keep it within the context of … we still know very little.

JesssMom
JesssMom
6 years ago
Reply to  JesssMom

For the record, the empathy-lacking asshole was cheating before and during our child’s recovery. After she was up and moving around okay, he took her to the store the AP worked at … and flirted with her in front of our daughter.

Now he cries and says how devastated he was by our child’s accident. Such a horrible asshole.

GetMeFree
GetMeFree
6 years ago

I believe that a lack of empathy is part of the problem of cheaters. I know that I can see this in my STBX. But it is only part of it. Most of them also have problems with impulse control, addiction, anger, obeying the law, etc. My STBX gets a sick thrill off of conning people. After spending months going through his business books, there does not seem to be any boundaries on where he cheats. And the fact that they are big into impression management, tells me that they know right from wrong.

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

Ah yes! The deception is half the fun for them! Damaging another person’s sense of reality is nothing but immoral. Of course the cheater/narc could care less.

Lady B
Lady B
6 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

Yep dupers delight is real, sick fuckers!

Lady B
Lady B
6 years ago

I believe we unconsciously assume others have the same way of rational thinking as we do and if we spell it out clear enough and make it rational they will get it. My narc does not. I have asked him direct questions about feelings and emotions and he literally breaks a sweat, stammers and gets mad and changes the subject, claims he is all about communication and intimacy, what bs. One of the reason for cheating was my inability to communicate, ummm no that’s you projecting your arrested delevopment onto me. For him eotional pain must be avoided as he doesn’t trust that the pain passes and we learn from it. I have asked him questions about my feelings and again, the same response or a blank look, most people with empathy would at least choke up or get tears and look upset, nothing.
I used to think still waters run deep as he always seemed so emotionally contained, I now see that there really is not much going on and when there is it is fleeting at best, deep as a puddle.
Having this issue in mediation as they assume everyone is rational and co operative. I had to explain that any parenting plan you create he will disregard as he doesn’t follow rules, they are for other people not him. Everything is a chess game of power and reciprocity is a foreign languages to the disordered and why every tiny issue in our relationship turned into drama, brick walls.

Lady B
Lady B
6 years ago
Reply to  Lady B

Oh want to add he works with disabled people and it’s hard work he bangs on about how caring he is and empathetic but maybe I’m jaded and cynical but it dawned on me that maybe he can do this job that many people could not do because he doesn’t have deep emotional, compassion or empathy?? Maybe I’m a bitch in thinking that but most people burn out of his job in 6 months, he has been there nearly 6 years.

Jasmine
Jasmine
6 years ago
Reply to  Lady B

Being in the caring/disability field myself ….I can tell you what is true in our organization. ….you get alot of pretenders ….Most of them can fake it very easily and tell you how empathetic /kind they are ….but when no one is around ….nope ….they revert back to their selfish selves. One thing though ….Each person has detailed files ….and our organization at least has policy /procedures for most situations. …and even bad staff know the protocols to follow like a rote ….it’s programmed into staff with each action. We have very little staff turn over and I m considered medium length service at nearly 20 years….a very forfilling role….one that actually helped me get through my ex and his cheating ….The people I worked for had more empathy for their staff than my ex…..who has lived a pretty good life….His parents are good people …but allowed him to get away with things that I d correct our children for. His life has spiraled down now….and he has now realized (somewhat) how badly he treated the kids and I….but not enough to change his ways….still out chasing the next new thing….she is married I believe…..so really he hasn’t applied the lesson….and that is his choice ….no longer have to deal with him in our lives

Battle-Tempered Lionheart
Battle-Tempered Lionheart
6 years ago
Reply to  Jasmine

I am sorry I said that was true in all helping professions. It is not true that the authentic, caring people burn out every time, especially if they take care of themselves and each other.

Also, it doesn’t mean that long-lasting caretakers are all phony.

Sorry about that, Jasmine. I didn’t think beyond myself when I made that comment.

Battle-tempered Lionheart
Battle-tempered Lionheart
6 years ago
Reply to  Lady B

Lady B, I agree about the job. People that care deeply will burn out quickly. But if you don’t feel it, you’ll be able to keep going for years. Such cruel irony.

OneDaySomeDay
OneDaySomeDay
6 years ago
Reply to  Lady B

Damn Lady B, that was brilliantly described!

Everything is a chess game of power and reciprocity is a foreign languages to the disordered and why every tiny issue in our relationship turned into drama, brick walls.

If ever I had to describe a relationship with someone with a lack of empathy, it would be this.

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago

Dancing Dick was a thief, a liar and drug user/dealer before I met him. He presented himself as an “awe shucks” kind of a sweet, sensitive, nature loving guy. Clean cut, well spoken, intelligent- no Charlie Manson look about him.

By the time I found out what he “really” was- the trap door was slammed shut. Two babies, chronic depression, unrelenting anxiety, self esteem on the pavement kept me under his perverted thumb for years to come. These soul-less monsters are excellent at hiding who they “really are.”

Sunflower36
Sunflower36
6 years ago

This explains so much. It explains why he said what he did when I asked him why he even married me in the first place.

He accused me of asking him a trick question.

KYGal
KYGal
6 years ago
Reply to  Sunflower36

Mine said, “I wanted to want to be married.” He said a few true things after I caught him and I am grateful for that. I went full blown nuclear on him after I found out about his very long term affair with an ethics professor/Sunday school teacher, and part of the reason why he chose me was because I was so even-headed and non dramatic. Going nuclear threw him so off-base he actually said a couple of true things. Another was, “I never thought of you as a partner.” This, after 13 years of trying to make our relationship better and feeling nuts in the process. In a sarcastic tone I responded, “Well, thank you.” (for being honest) and he sincerely said, “You’re welcome.” What a prince! Clueless idiot.

On another note, why is it that narcs often have a ridiculous physical appearance? I’m talking used sales person greasy long hair, or absurd combover, etc. They all think they look gorgeous but some just look ridiculous. My X grew his (once really nice) hair long and puts tons of product in it. It’s a greasy mess. Even the students (he’s a professor) laugh at him but he thinks he looks great. It sounds like I’m being vain and that’s not it. Looks don’t really matter much to me but I think it’s just odd how pompous some people are about how they look when most of the world is staring at them thinking “wtf?” Theories?

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago
Reply to  KYGal

LOL! Dancing Dick thought he was Brad Pitt! The poorly aging narc wore a hair style from the 70’s!

Battle-tempered Lionheart
Battle-tempered Lionheart
6 years ago
Reply to  KYGal

Inability to see in mirrors, like a vampire?
Kind of a joke, but true in a metaphorical sense. My narc dresses horribly sloppily for work. Bad hygiene and unkempt hair/ beard. I have no idea how he got this far in his career. But that’s a different discussion.

They can’t see anything through the eyes of others, so they certainly can’t see themselves through the eyes of others. No need to check for spinach in their teeth or stains on their armpits. Doesn’t bother them, so why would it bother anyone else? They don’t even ask that question because it doesn’t occur to them.

It is truly bizarre. And I now realize that I’ve never seen him blush or act embarrassed, even when called out on mortifying things. He just gets mad.

Sunflower36
Sunflower36
6 years ago
Reply to  KYGal

My ex was in the Air Force when we married and was really a good looking man. Fast forward to retirement and he grew his hair and beard and attended my daughter’s wedding g looking unkempt and slovenly… and of courseI spackled. I was hoping it was a phase and I was determined to wait it out.

He still looks like hell. He’s 18 mos younger and he looks 10 years older.

Bleah…

Chumpiest
Chumpiest
6 years ago
Reply to  KYGal

KYGal, I don’t have a theory but you made me laugh with this pompousness thing about narcs. I’ll never forget the time we had to sit together at our youngest son’s school, and Two-Legged Rat spotted an old classmate of his a few yards away and told me, “Look at Johnny over there, he’s my age but I look so much younger than him, don’t I”. This coming from an ageing midget who’s all of 5’4″, LOL

CeliA
CeliA
6 years ago
Reply to  KYGal

XH said he doesn’t feel the need to iron his shirts to work since (in his opinion) everybody is raving at his job performance anyway! So what do a few wrinkled shirts matter?

Keepin Calm
Keepin Calm
6 years ago
Reply to  CeliA

My ex wore a Walking Dead t-shirt to his son’s graduation. I kid you not.

I was so embarrassed I wanted to crawl through the floor.

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago

When they aren’t getting the things they want the most- they start the devalue———-> discard cycle.
They only care about being adored/admired, sex, and financial gain. Nothing else matters to them.

Battle-tempered Lionheart
Battle-tempered Lionheart
6 years ago

Mine doesn’t seem to care about sex. But he definitely cares about being in control. I’d add control to the list.

NoMoreEvil
NoMoreEvil
6 years ago

This comment is so true, Leavingthecrapbehind!

JC
JC
6 years ago

This one is tough for me.

On one hand, I fully embrace the message that we can’t change other people.

On the other hand, I am uncomfortable with the increasingly-science-backed argument that assholes (and in fact, all personality types) are simply “born this way.” It presents challenges in assessing oneself, assessing others, and assigning responsibility (or blame). (And I know that this is not a political blog, but this topic has arisen lately to explain/justify our current president’s behavior, for better or for worse.)

My XW argued for a few weeks that a hormonal imbalance made her cheat. After I left her and filed for divorce, she even went so far as to send me the results of a hormone test from her doctor. Of course, this was her flavor-of-the-month, and I didn’t engage with it. So, she had a new explanation the following month.

Regardless, it’s not something easy for me to frame out and understand. There’s a slippery slope argument against prescribing behaviors as unchosen. But at the same time, I recognize that aspects of my own personality (such as my introversion) are unchosen.

Battle-tempered Lionheart
Battle-tempered Lionheart
6 years ago
Reply to  JC

There are women with really messed up hormones who don’t cheat. *raising hand*.

Either way, if your medical condition forces you to hurt others in a way you can’t control, well, that’s why they have locked psych wards.

I roll my eyes at the hormone excuse. Puh-leeze.

lyndaloo
lyndaloo
6 years ago
Reply to  JC

I agree, they cheat because they want to and they have no character. Doughboy lived in a fantasy world but kept image managing to me and everyone else. After Dday he wrote a self serving letter to adult kids detailing all the wonderful memories and singing my praises to the hilt. Told kids to look after me. That was to ease his conscience and pass the buck to them. He closed his note with ‘ I hope you understand why I had to leave’ but didn’t cite one reason only that “we ” had no common ground anymore. The best was “I’ll always love you in my own way”. Keeping in mind he’s throwing away 3 wonderful kids and 4 beautiful grandchildren. It took Doughboy 39 years to figure out he wasn’t happy. Two days before he told me he loved me and would always be there for me? I figure he was worried that Schmoopie hadn’t given him the green light so he was shoring up plan B just in case. These people are so wrapped up in their own drama and nonsense they convince themselves they have no choice. They are just plan and simply assholes totally lacking in character. Period.

Tempest
Tempest
6 years ago
Reply to  JC

Genetics, brain organization, hormone imbalances can *predispose* a person to behaviors, but the prefrontal cortex is always at the ready to inhibit maladaptive impulses. A hormone imbalance might have made your wife feel like humping every male who walked by her, but it did not cause her to actually have sex with another man.

No matter what one’s brain configuration (which is equally based on genetics & nurture), there is ALWAYS a decision tree when it comes to cheating. Always.

Leavealyingloser
Leavealyingloser
6 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

I am no scientist but it seems to me that to clearly understand the brains of the lovely little monsters we have unfortunately known they would need to be studied from childhood forward. I wonder if they do not change the own pathways in their brain by their choices over time. It isnt really about if they can be held accountable for the brain they have but if their behaviors dont modify their brain over time. They can definitely be held accountable for their behaviors. It seems getting ahold of certain behaviors at a young age would benefit kids and society.

Got-a-brain
Got-a-brain
6 years ago

I listened to a really good podcast yesterday about narcissism and coparenting. The way she described it was very helpful, because of course, the narcissist is so confusing. She describes the confusion kids go through with a narcissistic parent, because there are things about that parent kids love. It really brought clarity when she said “it’s like they have different personalities.” That’s one subject I continually brought up during reconciliation; how it seemed he was so good at serving up a persona that fit whatever situation he was in. There was no consistency in his personality, and you never knew who you were going to get. But instead of seeing that as a negative, he convinced the therapist and myself, it was actually a positive trait – he was flexible and adaptable, while I was rigid and inflexible. No, I just have consistency in my character. I can’t go to church and proclaim adultery a sin, then walk out the door and text my affair partner. It’s like they believe whatever will benefit them at the moment,and when pointed out, they have an uncanny ability to completely reverse your complaint and turn it back against you. “Oh, you have a problem with me going to strip clubs? Well that’s just because you are controlling and judging. I’m open minded and don’t judge people. I’m flexible and accepting of others.”

I thought the podcaster did a really good job of explaining

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-savvy-shrink/id1270361855?mt=2&i=1000395456837

hollowbunny
hollowbunny
6 years ago
Reply to  Got-a-brain

I was often called rigid and judgy and not game with cheater and his family. I see now that they were furious I wouldn’t play the games that came so naturally to them. They took on the traits of whomever they were with or whomever they thought they should be. I wasn’t rigid, I was confused and incapable. So I was always treated as an outsider. The problem of course is the inability to be oneself.

As far as empathy, feelings make you feel, and feelings stir up difficult emotions and trigger things we may not be able to control. It’s so much easier and time-efficient to look at the Feeling Person and day “oh for gods sake. This drama again? Aren’t you a bit sensitive about this? I didn’t even say that! You need to check yourself because you’re going off the rails and not making sense. This is a ridiculous waste of time.” And there’s it is – dealt with by invalidation. It’s how I was raised. I was the loopy drama queen. Except I wasn’t. I have teens, they’re emotional and sensitive and need a stable adult to hug them and act like a fucking adult. My mother is aging and can’t understand why she has no closeness with her kids. I’m working on my guilt,but I can’t be close to her.

Feelings are hard. Not dealing with them is super easy, especially if you word it well enough to ensure they’re never brought up to you again.

Let go
Let go
6 years ago

When I was in college I did an extensive study of personality disorders. I am still fascinated and horrified about how these disorders play out in life. When I asked an attorney if she was obligated to study any psychology, particularly personality disorders, she said no. I am appalled that something as serious as a PD could have so little understanding by the very people who make laws, and pass laws, and determine laws(the court). These disorders are why divorces are drug out for years. They are the reason children are abandoned. Look at someone like John Edwards. I have no idea if he has ever been examined or diagnosed with anything. All I know is what I have seen and read about him. He had a wife who was dying yet he started an affair with a woman after he met her in the lobby of a hotel. He had the audacity to continue to run for president and lie about the fact that he had a baby. How he thought he was going to get away with it is the very reason why I question what his true personality is. There is absolutely no rationale for his behavior. How did he think this was going to play out if he became president? He had no concept of what the future was going to be because he was of the moment. I felt so badly for his wife who died knowing what he did.

OneDaySomeDay
OneDaySomeDay
6 years ago
Reply to  Let go

Well, it’s guess now it’s simple knowing this, he probably also had these issues. Incapable of empathy not only means a lack of compassion, but also a lack of the ability to think what others might think of his actions. No introspection (scared of the inner void), no self-reflection (nothing wrong with me).

Nikki Lynn
Nikki Lynn
6 years ago
Reply to  Let go

Early on after retaining my attorney and upon finding CL (and reading up on PDs at outofthefog.net) I sent a short blurb about NPD characteristics to my attorney in an e-mail and said “I need you to understand that this is what we are dealing with. And it’s ON.” I didn’t know what training/experience she had in dealing with NPD (though she came highly recommended as an attorney, in general). She said “oh, I deal with these types all the time.”

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago

A hormonal imbalance made her cheat!!!!!!!!!!! LOL! Too funny! Her lack of morals made her cheat- period!

OutWest
OutWest
6 years ago

It’s like ‘Build a Narc’. You have a row of nurture qualities lined up: unloving mother, abusive father, criminality, chronic lying. These qualities are on a continuum, some over power others. On the nature side you get: addiction, psychopathy, lack of empathy. What we don’t realize when we meet them, because many of us carry the ‘fix up, spackle over, imprint on’ gene is that the narc, was on the ‘build a narc conveyor belt’ and at the end, we purchased them in all their lying glory. Some of us got good mimickers , some of us got cold hearted toads. They come fat, thin, sexy, rich, poor, charming, extroverts, introverts. A whole variety exists. Leaving a cheater is the ultimate ‘return to sender’, this is a defective product.

OneDaySomeDay
OneDaySomeDay
6 years ago
Reply to  OutWest

Haha, super interesting perspective. Love your summary!

Luziana
Luziana
6 years ago

OH MY.

Cold Slab O’Meat told me who he was over and over throughout our relationship and I refused to listen.

Early On, when I asked him who the Love of His Life had been. ‘I don’t know. I fall in and out of love easily. But you’re different. I’ve never met anyone like you.’ Ding, Ding! LOVEBOMBING

Mid Swing, asking him how to still be polite to an administrative assistant who had gone to the brink of firing for goofing off and stalking a coworker. ‘Being polite is just about watching other people and seeing what they do. Why would you care that she’s stalking someone?’ Maybe because they both work there, and everyone deserves to be safe at work? NO EMPATHY OR SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG.

Prior to meeting CSoM, one of my closest childhood friends died. 39 years old, she said to her 11 year old daughter going down her basement stairs, ‘I feel dizzy,’ and sat down and died of an aneurysm in front of her. She loved a band called the Smiths, and their singer Morrissey sometimes tours and sings some Smiths songs. Cold Slab also loves the Smiths. . Joke- he likes things but loves no one! Andi could sing, really sing, and she would sometimes just sing their songs a capella at random if the situation called.

We were able to attend a Morrissey concert, and I wore a 20 year old antique barrette she’d bought me as a teenager. Unexpectedly they began to play her favorite song, which contains the line, ‘Mother, I can feel the soul falling over my head.’

Well, I just lost it and began to sob doubled over that balcony railing thinking of her, my dear friend of 25 years, robbed of her daughter’s growing up. Clod Slab was kind, but he was sort of taken aback and asked me after what it was like to feel that way and have a friend that close. Zzzzzzzttt! INABILITY TO FORM A GENUINE CONNECTION OR EMOTION THAT IS NOT RAGE OR ORGASM.

Lastly, when Cold Slab O’Meat suddenly started collecting Workplace Wives on Facebook after never having a friend over in three years, I encouraged him, until I asked him why they were all female and ONE of them appearred to HAVE BLOCKED ME. Only the children could see her numerous likes and flirty comments. When I told him I didn’t think that was appropriate, he wailed into the only genuine tears I’ve ever seen from him. About how he needed more friends, and he felt empty inside “like a big silo echoing’, and he felt like he was just going along with a life I had planned, and I had thrown away his moldy bachelor microwave and bought a red one he doesn’t like! And The Sluterus was CHEERFUL ALL THE TIME. Winner, Winner!!! She was already Lunchtime Pregnant! TRIANGULATION! DANCE FOR MY LOVE AND PEANUTS, MONKEY!YOUR HUSBAND IS DEAD INSIDE!

BTW, the next three years were spent triangulating with the Sluterus and yet a third work related hookup who sheltered the Cold Slab from years of Financial Baby Wrangling and provided that sweet, rent free elixir of Narcissistic Supply in convenient 50 year old juice box form. She wised up and moved on too. The Sluterus has finally settled at the ripe age of 38 on a sexual identity that doesn’t involve cheating on him with other ladies.

Or does it? BUT SHE’S CHEERFUL, Y’ALL! So Cheerful! Taking you to court for CS till you live in the ghetto when you used to go on vacations every year. Causing a rift in your relationship with your older daughter! Living on less than a grand a month.

It makes me feel utterly cheerful!

hollowbunny
hollowbunny
6 years ago
Reply to  Luziana

Luziana- please find the bbc podcast called soul music. They did a smiths episode that is beautiful and emotional. It’s fantastic. It’s only 39 min and I’ve re-listened several times. Moved me to my core.

Luziana
Luziana
6 years ago
Reply to  hollowbunny

I will definitely check that out!

Luziana
Luziana
6 years ago
Reply to  Luziana

It’s SOIL, btw, soil falling over my head!~

OneDaySomeDay
OneDaySomeDay
6 years ago
Reply to  Luziana

Wow, that’s quite the story. I like that you call him cold slab. It does really seem to fit him. Especially the big silo echoing. That’s one disturbed narc right there. Glad you’re no longer with him.

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago

I see the pattern in Dancing Dick’s family: indifference, emotionally vacant- superficial people. Especially his creepy mother. I lean toward it’s a “learned behavior”- not a genetic flaw.

We are all flawed genetically in some way or another. That does not give us a license to destroy other people’s lives.

Chumpalumper
Chumpalumper
6 years ago

Hardly a need for a written article with that awesome cartoon!

Creativerational
Creativerational
6 years ago

I love Star Trek. I can’t figure out what the best analogy is. Data- trying to be and not being human. Vulcans- totally detached by nature and seeing nothing wrong with it and yet still having piles of rational emotion. Or borg- intent on destruction, no relevant emotion, completely robotic in their actions and barely understanding your problem with the actions. I feel like different cheaters people describe fall into all these camps. Who knows.

Eilonwy
Eilonwy
6 years ago

Borg. They all believe your “resistance is futile” and that their demands and way of life will dominate. No matter what.

SuperDuperChump
SuperDuperChump
6 years ago

Today is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

I am thankful for the young, rookie policeman who broke into my house, found me unconscious on the floor, and saved my life. He had only been a policeman for 6 months.

I am thankful for the policeman who arrived at my youngest sister’s door and knew she was hiding a bruised arm when she claimed everything was fine…..a lie she had been hiding from everyone for years.

Our police officers are getting toasted in the media. Like every occupation, there are bad apples, but most police officers chose their career because they want to help people.

If you are being abused, please call the police. They will help and protect you.

And….please teach your children that police are a safe haven.

JesssMom
JesssMom
6 years ago

Yes, indeed!

I was very fortunate to have a police officer who understood immediately that serial-cheating asshat’s suicide attempt was a sign that my kids and I were in danger. He told me to get a restraining order … as I stood there, stunned, trying to absorb what was happening. He took my shock as a hesitation and he became very insistent that I understand the severity of the situation — that jackass flagged for homicidality. Then, with great compassion, he walked me through the steps I needed to take in order to get the restraining order.

I will always be grateful.

Kellia
Kellia
6 years ago

Thank you for writing this Tracy! Per Dr. Gabor Mate, he states that narcissists have often times been misparented as children, and the circuitry that is supposed to properly develop does not, and the wiring in the brain goes wrong. This is in term of emotional regulation and emotional thinking. Hence the reason Narcissists never react normally to any situation. Their brain wiring formed wrongly in childhood and they become messed up adults. I can attest to that as my mother is a full blown raging narcissist and so was my dad.

Lady B
Lady B
6 years ago
Reply to  Kellia

Often children of narcs become co dependant and attract narcs as partners as it is familiar or energetically matched to them from their childhood. It’s very interesting and worth going into.
My Dads a narc, my Mums codependent and I am an empath, again which comes from having to read my home environment constantly as a child as my father was volatile and moody. My two serious relationships have been with alcoholic narcs. My dad was an alcoholic but milder than the ones I attracted. Needless to say I need to work on my childhood issues and fix my picker.