I have posted here before, and described something of my journey with what I thought was my partner's ADHD; I have been through thinking there were breakthroughs. I have moved onto other attributions, including the ever relevant 'co-dependence' perspective. What I did not expect to realise is that the truest match of all is NPD/malignant narcissism. It has been a lightbulb moment that makes sense of all else, and makes much better sense of it too. It has become more possible for me to connect dots as he's gotten older and narcissistic rage is his response to a simple question...and all else besides. I have known him for twenty years and this, I really believe, in his case, is it. Tuck ADHD in there, but narcissism is what we're really living with, and what, most would agree, can't be beaten in a person. I have been aware of other malignant narcissists in my life, but this took a lot of working out, since such people specialise in concealing tracks and shifting blame and shaming and reversing, and so on and so forth. I've been trying for the real thing in this relationship, for reality and authenticity, and now realise that this was always to be unwinnable as I have been his 'narcissistic supply'. What a waste! How sad! So now I have a new path, and feel a new freedom to see it. I'm interested to hear from others who've had a similar realisation. There are so many possible overlaps in working out what's going on with someone. Thankyou, and love x
Lightbulb : Malignant Narcissism
Submitted by StateOfBeing on 09/02/2014.
Submitted by Standing on
Hello. I was once married to a malignant narcissist. Briefly.
One key distinction that I want to point out is this: Such a person tends to discard his or her source of supply once the mirrored image is no longer so wonderful.
I do know what you mean by narcissistic rage and the similarities, but my experience has taught me that when you're dealing with a pathological narcissist, he will leave you the moment you take a stand against his image. He does not stick around for years, trying to get you to accept him for who he is. What makes him so malignant, to me, is that he will not only leave you, but he will also seek to punish you severely in the leaving. That level of envy does not merely content itself with self-preservation. It seeks to destroy the one who sees what is behind the mask.
I agree with you Standing
Submitted by kellyj on
Full blown Narcissism is pathological by it's very nature which makes the person easy to predict and easy to manipulate to a certain degree. Not saying you want to or even want to be in a relationship with one but....only if you have to out of self preservation and survival.
I had the kind of revelation that was mentioned and it is a real eye opener for those of us who aren't this way.
The way it was described to me by my therapist was an extreme insecurity and self loathing.
Picture this fragile insecurity at the core of a fortress with an exterior that looks like self confidence and strength but it's only purpose is as protection from anything (reality, truth or otherwise) that might expose the true inner core.
That's why they are vindictive and punish or came back at you with revenge if you threaten exposure.
Your value to them is based on serving the inner core insecurity to maintain and supply more building material for the fortress.
If you provide what is perceived as needed to them, they will put you on a pedestal and sing your praise. You will be in the glow and warmth of the fire.
If you cannot provide this then you have no value. You become worthless and treated as such.
You can also return to favor and fall again over and over too. This is where the person with them starts feeling like they are losing touch with reality. What is more true is that the reality that is being handed to them is out of touch from the very beginning. The reality of serving another master in their case.....the one at the core of the fortress.
The revelation is when you see this for what it is.....it is truly enlightening!
Submitted by Standing on
I've not experienced the return to favor from what I consider a true malignant narcissist... but then, I imagine there is a spectrum of severity with them, too. From my experience, once you have seen the little wiz behind the curtain, you are out - and you must be destroyed, at all costs.
When my brief marriage ended, it was not I who filed for divorce. He did, after I sought protection from his threats of violence. He projected all that he had done onto me in a way that I have never experienced before. Fortunately his lies and projections were so wild that the court saw clean through them.
Projection and blame-shifting done purely for the sake of self protection are one thing, but this was pure evil. I dunno, maybe he was a sociopath; but I do know that he would stop at nothing to punish me for not properly reflecting his "glory".
In the course of my recovery from this relationship, I realized that alot of his behaviors seemed so familiar to me because my mother was very similar in nature. She was not nearly so vindictive, but equally fake and protective of her self-image and, with her as well, there was no possibility of redemption back into her good graces. Unfortunately, I did not wait long enough or get far enough into recovery before remarrying, so my current husband's hyperfocus on me seemed like a dream come true.
I'm definitely with you on the disorienting quality of the alternate reality. It just about shattered my mind.
By the way, I have appreciated all of your comments and posts and I'm thankful for your participation here!!
Unfortunately, I'm Speaking From Expereince Standing
Submitted by kellyj on
And thanks for thumbs up. I feel like there are times where I'm like a guy who accidently stepped into a ladies locker room by mistake here in this section of the forum but I think it's good for people to know that not all men with ADHD are the same....at least I tell myself that. lol
Sounds like your ex had some other things going on than just Narcissism. I had a very bad experience with a woman I was with that had a similar ring to it.....going way, way out of her way to do as much damage as possible. I later found out that she was Borderline/Antisocial Personality disorder from her brother. I learned a very disturbing lesson in evil. Holy cow!!! My experience with Narcissistic personalities in my life outside of this is that they surely are not all evil but they do tend to follow the pattern closely even if it is just hurtful, devaluing or disrespectful on the other side. From what I learned they will not disappoint you either way....like I said. Very predictable.
I did a little research after my experience with this woman and do remember that the extreme fall from grace and leaving relationships in a blink of an eye while exacting maximum punishment on the way out is a hall mark for BPD. I think ASPD is more common in men and BPD is more common in women but I could be wrong. And yes, as soon as they know that you know who they really are ( you've seen the man/woman behind the curtain ) which inevitably you will see them eventually........my best advise to anyone with a person with either of these lovely issues, is to get out first while you can. My experience was very similar to yours..... I get that you and I both have had the light bulb come on for this topic. It is a learning experience to say the least. Hooo boy!!!
Submitted by Standing on
maybe my ex was bpd or a sociopath or some other sort of malignant creature.
Today, we received evaluation results confirming that my husband has both add and narcissistic personality disorder. I was actually very surprised. He is thrilled to say that he is not bipolar or delusional. I feel nauseous.
Be gentle on yourself
Submitted by Tired-to-my-bones on
Hi StateOfBeing - my father was a narcissist ( I briefly mentioned him in another post). He was unable to function as a proper father. We children were constantly on tenterhooks as we never knew how he would react to any given situation. He raged and was physically violent towards my mother and us. He was a bully and a coward.Whatever life experiences he had as a child left him utterly stunted as a human being. He didn't know how to make or keep friendships but he knew how to be charming to (increasingly younger) women if he thought there was something he could get out the situation. He would flirt with them in an obsequious way. He targeted waitresses, shop girls, women in the typing pool. He was scared of women who stood up to him. He accused my mother of having affairs - when he was screwing anything with a pulse and she was looking after 5 children. He liked people who bought his story. He sent people who saw through the chimera of his fabricated self, to eternal dismissal and disregard. He was dishonest and sneaky and played his children off against each other. Those of us who refused to play along were punished unless we sought to regain favour. He lied and poured poison into the ears of his children who continued to listen to him. He sucked the energy out of me. Never had anything to contribute positively.
When he was dying my siblings kept trying to get me to go to his bedside. There was nothing he had to say that I needed to hear. I had nothing to say to him. But I took the opportunity in the funeral home to turn the air blue and finally put to rest all the misery he inflicted on me and my siblings.
Do I regret this? No I don't. It was liberating. Do I miss him? No I don't. Do I hate him? No, I never wished him ill. Do I forgive him? No - he became irrelevant.
On the day he died, I took a bottle of champagne around to my one sibling who had also stood up him. We flung our arms around each other and 2 women in their fifties rejoiced that he couldn't ' hurt us anymore'.
Be gentle on yourself StateOfBeing. You have walked away from an unwinnable situation. You have created time and space to work out who you are and what you want. That's big. Well done. Listen to your heart. Allow yourself to grieve. Ask yourself what it is you want. And listen to the answer. You will survive. No regrets.
I wish you all good things. All will be well.
Ever since my dh went on meds
Submitted by copingSAH on
Ever since my dh went on meds, it has helped one aspect of his neurology, namely the focus at work. But he has also turned into Jekyll & Hyde on me and the family. I grew up with a narcissistic father and that completely messed me up as a kid but I'm an adult faced with another adult and my spouse seems to play dirty much more. But then again, I'm not my father's keeper, my mother was, and took on the burden of my father's dirty games.
I am very sure it is not all dysfunction and not all ADD... but the meds seem to really drive the OCD and right now, the selfish narcissism is bad. It's not malignant but his demands on being heard but not hearing others is getting worse. He was so mad at various people at work... somehow he interpreted the lack of attention as an attack by these persons he came home one night and shaved off his beard completely in a near fit of rage. It was so impulsive. Like he couldn't cut these people down, so he cut off part of himself (his beard) to get back at them.
When he's loving and receptive, it's wonderful. But it's strange following a period of how selfish and narcissistic he is when "it" (the narcissistic rage) comes upon him. I can't explain. One hour he'll be okay, the next he's just plain nasty, when I'm being conversant he either barks at me to shut up or tells me constantly it's not a good time to talk to him. So what is happening inside his brain? Then he'll follow up by asking me to find something for him, right after he has told me to become invisible.
My narcissistic parent has one thing in common with what my dh is going through now is the brutal incivility of forcing me to become submissive. Both my parent and spouse want a voiceless, headless reflection. That seems to be the main thing. Once their "object" is voiceless, then they feel they can stroke and pet the object and give (me) little trinkets for being good and grateful and appreciative. With my dh I have learned to be overly thankful to him to feed that need he has. He has no problem with my thanking him, but exceptionally angry when I try to get close to him. It disturbs him a great deal as if there's a hateful reflection staring back at him.
Voiceless, headless reflection
Submitted by Standing on
Yes, I often feel that I am not "supposed" to have any identity of my own.
Coping, you wrote: Once their "object" is voiceless, then they feel they can stroke and pet the object and give (me) little trinkets for being good and grateful and appreciative.
This really struck me, because it is exactly the way my husband has always treated the household pets. When they need or want something, he ignores them.
It is just now settling in to my consciousness that he has treated me the same. He was much more flexible with me before he became a "business-owner". I guess then he felt that he needed me... needed to keep the peace, in some respects. But now that he has some more sense of personal power and control, it's a whole different ball game. I do not get the exceptionally angry when I try to get close to him, though. Maybe because I try that so seldom, I don't know. As I recall, narcissists despise and look with contempt at those whom they view as "needy". My mother surely did. I certainly cannot explain it.
My spouse is the same with
Submitted by copingSAH on
My spouse is the same with the kids. If they've stayed out of his way the whole day, then they have earned a kiss from him at the end of the day. I am very annoyed with his fathering skills because he's unable to connect. Also, even tho I'm the one with the kids the entire day, his face and kiss are the last thing he wants them to see at bedtime.
My spouse actually kissed and cooed a Furby once because it made like it was happy to see him.... for crying out loud, it's a battery operated thing for children!!!
I will always remember that Furby image
Submitted by Standing on
My mind formed a complete visual on that Furby. I can totally imagine that! Haha. Oh, so sadly comical.
Today my husband decided to compete with me for the attention of a customer.... interrupting constantly, carrying on like he was this pretty girl's bff. It is so strange because it does not feel flirtatious at all... just desperate for attention. Usually doesn't inspire jealousy in me, but a deep sense of sadness and... i think shame, like shame for being associated with him, embarassment, i don't know. Most people seem to think he is a bit of a harmless eccentric, but when he puts on his guru hat, i see the grandiosity and it is far from cute and charming. Today was like a circus. He said that he has to "pump" himself up in order to tackle jobs that are complex or unappealing for him. It is a sight to behold!
Submitted by Tornado in a Jar on
I am glad you have finally recognized what you are dealing with. Save yourself at all costs! These people are poison to everyone around them, and the farther you can get from him, the better. I have one in my family and believe me, if there was some way to shut my life off from him, I would. You will never be naive about the problem again, and you will be able to spot one from a mile away, so you can have nothing to do with them. They are the least treatable people on the planet, because they believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with them - it's all down to US, the cardboard figures in their lives that they just want to manipulate and move around for their own amusements. Some of them can be very dangerous to the point of being sociopathic killers. You may not be able to gauge that until it's too late, and any of them can turn, I believe, given the right/wrong circumstances. Best to get away as soon as possible and never have anything to do with one, ever again.
I had the same experience
Submitted by fempartner on
I had a very similar experience and realisation. I first thought my ex-boyfriend had adhd (add). And then came to realize that he has a severe attachment disorder/RAD, which in adulthood also is called a personality disorder /with npd/bpd traits.
It has taken me years to get together the pieces, even though I knew form the beginning that there was something wrong. One of the reasons being, that I read on these adhd- websites that impulsivity, lack of attention (towards you), seeking novelty (which mean getting easily bored with partner), anger-management issues, selfcenterredness etc., was part of adhd when it is in fact narcissistic abuse.
The reason why we see so many people with attention problems, that also have attachment problems or personality disorders, is this:
Early abuse and neglect can cause attention problems, just as it can cause problems with attachment, empathy and personality developement. Of course each case is different and not all cases are severe, surely not all people with adhd also have attachment problems, but adhd is very often combined with other personality problems, because it stems from early developement.
I have maken progress, and today I am fine. But I suffered from severe stress and symptoms of ptsd for a long period. I found it helpful to see a psychologist who knows about personality disorders and how it affects people close to them.
I hope you are doing fine today too :)
A passing comment on this
Submitted by NowOrNever (not verified) on
A passing comment on this thread. Cohabitation with someone whose habitual behavior ticks the boxes of clinically defined narcissism is very serious business. Yes there's the problem in living with one sorting outnwhere their self centered manipulation is coming from. This is just a passing comment on the online disseminator of the term "malignant narcissism" not the problem or the term itself. For awhile Sam Vaknin had so flooded the internet with his definitions of narcissism and of the person victimized by a narcissist, that it was difficult to find much online about NPD from more reputable sources. That situation has righted itself, but for awhile he was the online guru being online interviewed or profiled in articles about NPD, yet he never had the psychological training, certification or clinical practice. His claims were based on himself, a diagnosed NPD... Not even on other narcissists. How narcissistic can you get? As a result, his view of people being preyed on by narcissists was very cracked and ultimately based on...himself He hid his lack of training, credentials and lack of clinical experience handling narcissists in fine print and back pages. You can check out other people's takes on Vaknin if you like, but I thought his model of people living in contact with a narcissist to be full of his hot air and unhelpful. Head to bona fide professional resources, I'd suggest
...finally, speaking only about the one relation I really know anything about in which ADD/ADHD is involved, which is the one at home, it's very visible to me that narcissism, clinically defined, is NOT involved. It could be in someone else's relation.
Submitted by Tornado in a Jar on
I don't know why, perhaps people don't understand the difference between serious personality disorders and ADHD, but there seem to be lots of people who join this forum who are really victims of narcissists. The two are not mutually exclusive, IMO, but perhaps some narcissists will claim the ADHD in an effort to disguise their more manipulative side? Or the victims are trying to kid themselves into thinking that what they are experiencing is not as serious and threatening as it is? I have read so many posts on this forum where the person described, as described, has a lot more than ADHD going on, but the poster seems to ignore many red flags and only acknowledge the ADHD symptoms.
I like the term "malignant narcissism" to designate the individuals who are truly dangerous to others, even if someone unqualified did invent it. Didn't know this Sam Vankin fellow was an NPD person himself.
effort to disguise
Submitted by Parasol on
Thank you for pointing that out. In fact, ADHD is the perfect excuse for the manipulations and lies of a narcissist. It's the perfect cover up pseudo-syndrome. I currently am dealing with that exact situation. And you know what? The "outside ADHD inside narc" is the pastor of the local church community. Another perfect position for disguise, IMHO. Of course you can have ADHD and narcissism, but nevertheless there is a secure way to distinct one from another.
I have dealt with the question on how to distinguish ADHD from narcissism for a while now and these are the answers I found:
There is a big difference between the confabulations of an ADHD an the manipulative lies of a narc. The difference is that the narc is trying to avoid to be held accountable for the cognitive diversions he or she implemented at any cost.
When you ask an ADHD about the fact that you feel manipulated and that there are contradictions, you will get a response that shows you that the ADHD has an interest in clarifying the misunderstanding and responses how he or she really means it.
A narcissist will avoid to say "sorry". Instead, they'll "excuse" in a fuzzy, sneaky, undefined and imprecise way, if at all.
When being confronted with their contradictory behaviour, a narcissist will avoid a clarification at any cost by
a) "I dunno what youre talking about" gaslighting method
b) blaming you for being the abuser and him or her being the victim that has been hurt by your "crazy" allegations
c) making up lies to cover up the lies plus putting up a smear campaign or triangulation
d) "haha, that was just a joke, stupid" kind of downplay.
The pseudo ADHD but narcissist pastor who baited me exposed herself by pushing my buttons and smirking while seeing me in pain and despair and having no empathy at all. Narcs enjoy those situations, ADHDers don't.
Trust your guts, people. Trust your instinct. I hope that there will be more awareness for those disguises.
adhd and attachment disorder
Submitted by fempartner on
There is finally coming an understanding in research-fields within psychology of the relationship between attention, attachment and attachment disorder. When a child is severely neglected the first 3 years of life, and haven't learned to receive attention, being touched and met emotionally, learned to concentrate and emotionally bond to a single person (mother) for a long period of time, the result is a severe attachment disorder (RAD). The symptoms can be many: problems with motor control, difficulties paying attention to something or someone for longer periods of time, difficulties with learning, impulsivity, difficulties with conscience and guilt, difficulties with creating bonds, being hyperactive (the brain compensate for low arousal because of severe neglect the first years of life), or depressed etc.. . . Because these things: attention, bonding, feeling yourself and your body, feeling others, feeling safe, able to explore and learn, etc. is what a child learns the first 3 years of life. So adhd can very likely be one symptom an attachment disorder. Not all of course have this severe attachment disorder, the level differs, and some have not, but only adhd, depending on the specific upbringing.
I'm posting two years later here but your post resonates with me
Submitted by Le Femme Nikita on
I am so glad I found this post. I hope you get this! I have been racking my brain to assess what was going on in my 2 year relationship with whom I've learned is a definite narcissist. He claims to have ADHD but he has just put me through the most horrific emotional battery I have ever experienced. For almost two years, I have been on a pedestal during an extended and intense idealization phase. We just bought a home together but after one intense argument where I questioned his emotional availability, he started to withdraw emotionally and physically. After a horrible two month period where he gaslighted me and made me feel like I was crazy, I began blaming myself and he seemed to be disappearing, I spent agonizing hours researching what could be wrong. I kept examining ADHD as the culprit but then came the grand finale. He told me to get out (move) as soon as possible and after a weekend of sleuthing, I learned that he was feverishly pursuing a married coworker and they are moving in together and want to start a family!!! I cannot believe this extremely cold-hearted treatment after trusting him completely. I am going to need years of therapy on this one.