I'l bet that got your attention. lol I've been dealing with this topic for well, most of my life since I was raised by one. I have said enough of this subject before so there is no need to fo over the same ground here. What I did think might be useful to many of the spouses who come here asking this question, I thought I would share something that has taken me a long time to figure out. This came about after several, painful relationships with women (in this case) who had varying degrees of Narcissistic personality traits and one full blown ASPD/BPD who wins as far as my own personal experience ( no need to revisit this one either...scary OMFG!)
So in my T office after this brief but very damaging encounter ( I tried to escape but that in itself became a night mare) my T posed this question to me and saying "well it's good that you can see this in other people now but more importantly....do you see why you became involved with these people in the first place." That's the most important part and the hardest one to face since it only involves you. You cannot blame anyone else for your choices yet......God Damned Narcs can be so decievingly convincing sometimes.....especially the covert ones (and especially if they are smart) Covert Narcs in my opinion are much more scary and potentially dangerous (or damaging) than your full blown over confident, arrogant entitled malignant Narcissist. They don't scare me much and are pretty easy to spot...then again, this was the type that I grew up with and was use too. This aspect does make it easier for you to forgive yourself at the very least. Unless you are a self proclaimed masochist.....most people (including myself) don't seek this kind of thing out with that intention. Eventually.....you do start to catch on however.....they can't keep the ruse up indefinitely.
The point of bringing this up was from what I learned as the rest of the answer to my T's question. I was groomed for being with a Narc by being raised by a Narc. I am (without being very careful and aware) the perfect combination of personality traits and maladaptive default strategies left over from this kind of abuse that a Narc has their radar on alert to seek out. I thought about this thinking " great.....I had a target pinned to my back and didn't even know." This still pisses me off at times thinking about but.....it's something that I have learned over time to let go of and learn how to take the target off at the same time.
So, if you are wondering about this yourself (ADHD or Narcissism?)....the first question should be.....am I a target or not? Am I the perfect person for a Narcissist and someone that Narcissist would look for or want to be with.
If the answer is no....then it's probably just ADHD ( obliviously inconsiderate at times and naively self absorbed without realizing it half the time.....I resemble that statement but try very hard at this point and time not to be as much as possible....awareness is a big advantage in this process:)
But if the answer is yes.......then you are narcissistic food in some way. How do you know? Read and learn as much as possible about his yourself and find out exactly what Narcissists need to be able to be in a relationship with you. It's not a fun process I can attest to that but.....you will learn a lot about yourself if you can grin and bear your way through.
I found a series on this subject on Youtube from an Aussie dude I really like. He's a life coach (I think that's what he calls himself?)...anyway.....he has some good no nonsense videos that address this topic straight up and I linked one of the ones that I think is a good start to see if you qualify as Narcissistic food.
here's the link https://youtu.be/mPmv9_UYpxo
In my thinking here.....even if you are this type of person it still doesn't mean your spouse is a Narc but.....if you aren't a person who would be a good fit for a Narc in the first place, at least it will be easier to eliminate the possibility that the problem you are having are related to more than mostly ADHD itself.
Our hearts don't know the difference.
Submitted by Hopeful Heart on
I truly don't believe that my husband has NPD. However, he certainly has acted like it often enough during our 21 year marriage. But my broken heart doesn't know the difference. It is emotionally devastating whether he really is a narcissist or if he's just acting like one.
Im not sure if a person becomes a people pleaser because of the way they are treated OR if people are taken advantage of and treated badly because they were born a people pleaser. which came first..the chicken or the egg?
Some people are born more sensitive and are natural caregivers. Some people are born selfish and take a mile if you give them an inch. I know this because I have one of each in my children and they were both raised in the exact same environment. they were born polar opposites. No question.
I definitely know why I married my husband. I was raised by two emotionally retarded parents. I married an emotionally retarded man. I didn't know any better. I didn't know there was more to be had from relationships. I realized after I had my own children that I was raised in an emotionally neglectful environment and now I crave more. I want to have a genuine, intimate, loving relationship.
These are just the thoughts that popped into my head as I read your post and watched the video
I know why....
Submitted by overwhelmedwife on
When I told my T about my childhood, she told me that I come by being a caretaker naturally. I was several years older than my younger siblings, and I enjoyed taking care of them and helping my mom. I grew up taking care of others.
This made me a target for my H who wanted to be "taken care of." He quickly saw that I could cook, sew, clean, etc, and that I was raised to "pitch in and help out whenever needed." H had NOT been raised in that atmosphere. H's mom is a covert narcissist.
I have a younger sibling who is a clinical therapist and she agreed. She has noted that mentally healthy people don't "take advantage" of my abilities to help out, but someone with NPD (or BPD) will surely be attracted to someone who will be a "giver"....because they are "takers".
Using Myself Here Again
Submitted by kellyj on
What I know is true about myself in comparison to what I am talking about......my pattern of behavior....it being "called out" for even being thoughtless of oblivious....my ADHD moments. My first response would be to say I was sorry but (in my past) try and use something as a means of an excuse. I definitely learned to be a victim but my reaction was usually not to rage or get angry and behave like I am talking about. I would immediately assume that it was ALL me and not make demands myself or say I will do better next time. This in itself was an unsuccessful pattern and an attempt to compensate for my ADHD symptoms that way but it didn't make me hostile and angry. Depressed, withdrawn or resistant to change yes (avoidant)....and even behaviorally (or functionally) Narcissist at times or in the moment but that appears to be the only similarity to someone who fits this profile. It shares some of the same qualities but it is a different mechanism and pattern with some of the traits or parts in this pattern completely missing compared to a Narc in how I am seeing it at this point.
As my T told me years ago.....it has the flavor of it at times but it is not exactly the same. For me......it's not missing empathy or compassion and I feel guilty as charged and feel badly once it is brought to my attention. Even in the moment after the fact (even then). I think this is one defining difference I can see.
If I had a dime for every time I said I was sorry....ooh boy! From my experience with Narcs....you will rarely (if ever) hear them say they are sorry with out some benefit to them involved. (even then.....very rarely or just to be let off the hook. All I wanted was forgiveness and a Narc has no use for it or needs to be forgiven for much of anything. That's another difference right there.
Ahhhhhhh! I see! Thank you
Submitted by Hopeful Heart on
Ahhhhhhh! I see! Thank you for pointing that out. That helps me a lot.
Is it possible that another difference is that a person with ADHD Is much more likely to admit that there is a problem, receive help, and try to change? While a true narcissist doesn't want things to be different. They are happy with the status quo.
A Narc With ADHD....
Submitted by kellyj on
in my mind (thinking here) Would have all the regular ADHD symptoms specific to them.....but they will react first with anger if you get to close to the fire and then not want to talk about it. (ever again if that were possible) At least my experience was chronically attempting to control other person with either anger or disdain ( or disapproval ) of them for trying to do this and then twisting and turning everything around and blaming you for something that has to do with them. Making you responsible for what you should not be responsible for. In this case....it's the ADHD symptoms + the NPD like symptoms. If not ADHD....then it will be only the NPD symptoms and those qualities that they will not be willing to look at or compromise from but the rest of it would be exactly the same.
I think that sound like a close approximation if not pretty darn close. Thinking here and using myself again....I will have to be honest enough to be accurate at the same time.
Things I didn't do having ADHD:
-blowing up and getting angry if someone criticized me or gave me constructive criticism. Instead I would rationalize or make up excuses but not try and blame someone else for something I did.
-try to manipulate others to get them to do things for me. To the extreme opposite....I became extremely self reliant and never asked for help with anything...to m own detriment sometimes. A different issue.
-instead of being angry and blaming others for not meeting my needs....I would feel hurt and be disappointed(sad) Retreat or withdraw and if after that....was passive or passive aggressive and not overtly critical outwardly. Again....I would get quiet, harbor more resentment than anger (long fuse and take a lot to get me angry or lose my temper) and not say anything as a comparison. If I was really angry with someone that was directed right at them....I could be very succint and tell you exactly why I was angry. A dirct connection to my anger and some external event or disrespect by someone else and usually had no problem talking about it since by that time....what ever it was had to be pretty bad to get me there. In those cases....it was usually pretty obvious to everyone why I was mad.....just not to the level of intensity for sure. It was a disproportionate response at these times but I think this was more of an over reaction than it was rage from a core self hatred or internal self loathing. I did most my self loathing right out in the open where everyone could see it. LOL
-instead of being confrontation (fight response).....I would freeze or (flight) as my default and would avoid confrontation at all costs. I learned in all cases that ANY confrontation meant losing more ground than you started with in every case. It was always a lose/ lose to speak your needs, speak up or dissent (complain) or be confrontational in any way. What's left is freeze of flight.....just like a deer! lol You do get good at finding escape routes quickly! lol
-the downside or compliment to what I just said is letting things go way too long and not saying anything and then when pushed into a corner or being forced to speak out (or up for yourself).....that's when I would have a melt down or come close to raging. I didn't do what my father did however. My anger or rage was not directed at anyone....it was more just losing control of my anger and having more of a tantrum if anything.....being angry at everything but nothing in particular. These were the emotional liability moments and were also related to the PTSD that I developed from being abused in this way as a child
-developed more neurotic mal adaptive tendencies.......doing things that were bad for me but not bad for anyone else. A brief period with some mild OCD behaviors that disappeared completely after a while.
Bottom line as the difference....as Freud said (approximately)......"neurosis makes the person who has it (easily affected by others) and themselves miserable.....narcissists make everyone else around them miserable ( but appear to be Okay themselves" I remember reading something to that order a while ago and went"...yep...pretty much:) lol
Add ADHD to this and you get both I think (being factitious in part here) " a miserable neurotic who is in denial of just how miserable they are who blames everyone else for their misery and makes them miserable too:) " May be for some? lol I think this might be more accurate than I think? I did just read something that Melissa wrote that said that having ADHD doesn't make you abusive. I can concur with her on that. For the most part (outside of indirectly or inadvertently) the person I abused the most was myself and tended to go off to be alone if I was having a problem and isolate rather than be social or even want to be around other people at times like this. Kind of like my dogs when they are sick! lol
Narcs on the other hand NEED other people as the source for Narc food (or to mirror to know who they are in the first place).....I don't see them doing very well alone or without other people to do their bidding in that regard. One final comparison to think about if any of this helps?
Please share more
Submitted by overwhelmedwife on
God Damned Narcs can be so decievingly convincing sometimes.....especially the covert ones (and especially if they are smart) Covert Narcs in my opinion are much more scary and potentially dangerous (or damaging) than your full blown over confident, arrogant entitled malignant Narcissist. They don't scare me much and are pretty easy to spot...then again, this was the type that I grew up with and was use too.
Can you share some of your insights and personal experiences?
I Took This Passage.....
Submitted by kellyj on
from a web sight describing my experiences to start with.
They see people as objects; if you can make them successful, if you can make them enter a certain group of people, if you blindly and naively love them, if you have anything that can be useful to them emotionally, socially or financially in the present or the future, then you qualify as a source of supply.
This can go on for a long time, until you are not useful to them anymore or you challenge them about who they truly are, worst still you expose them to the world! At this point they will discard you like an old rag, without remorse or regret; as if you never existed. They will also discredit you so that no one will ever believe that you have been their victim, if anything they will play the victim and point the finger back at you!
I think this explains gas lighting in more words. What I discovered in my relationships in the past with Narc women that I got involved with was a pattern of at first, feeling like I had met someone who was too good to be true which is the first red flag. I had the feeling that my expectations had been overwhelmingly exceeded and I felt extremely lucky to have found someone who was so caring and appeared to be so perfect in many ways? In reality.....not so much.
Somewhere along the way......the bubble burst (rather quickly) or there was a major shift or "turn" and change from being too good to be true to "what just happened and why?" This involved some major change where I found myself having to deal with "the other one" as I'm calling it. Jeckel and Hyde, in other words....in one form or another. The worst case was in a more literal way......alternating from sweet and nice to mean and nasty but......having never seen anything even close to "mean and nasty" before and would have no reason to think that it even existed. Another red flag!
This usually happened, precipitated by me either pressing for unexplained answers to behaviors or inadvertently.....calling the "other one" out in some way. Starting to notice past details that were said in the past but were not playing out exactly as stated. Actions not lining up with the words or deeds. Another red flag!!
Remembering compliments (thinking a few but most weren't at the time) ...stated as things that were liked about me along the lines of being "so flexible" or "willing" to do certain things that these people seemed to appreciate about me. Also, recognizing talents or some things that they found very attractive to them and sharing these so called "compliments" as a means to butter me up or get inside and let my guard down ( "buttering me up" is a good one for what's next)
Most of these at least were not compliments......they were statements or verbalizing a "check list" of qualities about me being a good fit and praising these things being positive or as being "good food" for them. I can now see this very clearly looking back. This reminds me of an old "Twighlight Zone" episode called "To Serve Man". https://youtu.be/MD4cii2imQ0 If you haven't seen it before, I don't want to give away the entire plot but it's the perfect analogy to my experience and how naive and "willingly" I went along for the ride.
This was what happened previous to the "fall" or "turn" which I can now see as coming from me not mirroring them, not going along or changing something in how I acted or behaved that was not in line with these compliments in some way. Instead of entering the "Twighlight Zone".....how about the "Co-Dependent Zone" which in reality was exactly what was happening at this time. This was when I began to feel more insecure and feelings of self doubt where before I had felt more self confident and just normal. Normal for me that is! ha ha
Now I realize this and understand it...... this was a very bad and very unhealthy place for me to be in and why it felt so "bad" or "wrong" when this major change or shift occurred. These ladies had been silently summing up my weakness's and now had begun to exploit them and use them against me in order to control or manipulate me in getting me to either do something or not do something as needed that fit along with serving their needs in some way. This was what I grew up with in the same familiar pattern and when this happened each time is when I began to rebel against it and all my worst and old latent defense strategies began to one by one....reemerge from my past. It ultimately was like reliving recurring bad dream which in some respects was not that far from the truth in more ways than one but made me the most vulnerable and somewhat helpless to counter at the time. Why? Because this was exactly the same place I was in from my childhood where I was in the worst place to be able to deal with or now my way out of for the exact same reason as before. I took the bait and now the trap was sprung and I felt helpless to do much without the threat of this person levying some kind of cost against me for any perceived insurrection. They manipulated the situation to make themselves a needed commodity in some way and then threaten to take that away from you once they felt you were "in love" with them and it was now safe for them to "go to work." An apparent indifference to my needs, wants or desires. Yet....another red flag. Your best defense against this. Need nothing from them. This at the very least is a good test to see what they will do. If someone is not a Narc and you do this with them......most would come to you and try and talk to you about this or say something directly about this at the very least. For a Narc.....with you not needing them....they will shun you and treat you like dirt.( act out against you and punish you for it in some way) More red flags.
This is predatory in my mind, It's emotional, financial, sexual or some other kind of blackmail is really what is but done in way that is not directly stated or said in those words. (emotional Vampires is a good one) This is NOT Love by the way when someone you are with says they love you and does this kind of thing with you. Another major red flag!!!
When that ultra caring, too good to be true person suddenly acts in ways that are just the opposite...uncaring, unfeeling, not loving and indifferent extremely rapidly or over night and then vacillates back and forth between these two behaviors......this would now set all my alarms off at once and in to a panic attack now thinking back then when I was left more without any answers or what to do and what to do about it. It makes you feel insecure, helpless and hopeless where before.....you were not feeling this way.
At this point.....nothing you do will make a difference anyway. When you actually realize this is true after trying everything first is where it starts to sink in that you are pretty much S.O. L. In some respects to maintaining or trying not to lose yourself......it's already too late. The best you can hope for is salvaging what is left and doing damage control at it's very best. Extricating yourself in this case is the only real option you have unless you are just a glutton for punishment or a masochist (or both).
Submitted by overwhelmedwife on