The most telling thing that narcissists do is contradict themselves. They will do this virtually in the same sentence, without even stopping to take a breath. It can be trivial (e.g., about what they want for lunch) or it can be serious (e.g., about whether or not they love you). When you ask them which one they mean, they'll deny ever saying the first one, though it may literally have been only seconds since they said it -- really, how could you think they'd ever have said that? You need to have your head examined! They will contradict FACTS. They will lie to you about things that you did together. They will misquote you to yourself. If you disagree with them, they'll say you're lying, making stuff up, or are crazy. [At this point, if you're like me, you sort of panic and want to talk to anyone who will listen about what is going on: this is a healthy reaction; it's a reality check ("who's the crazy one here?"); that you're confused by the narcissist's contrariness, that you turn to another person to help you keep your bearings, that you know something is seriously wrong and worry that it might be you are all signs that you are not a narcissist].
It's one thing to meet such a person as an adult -- imagine what it's like to be a bright and perceptive child of a family that moves every 18 months to 3 years, with no siblings, a mostly absent father, and such a person as the only constant in your life....
The most telling thing that narcissists do is contradict themselves. They will do this virtually in the same sentence, without even stopping to take a breath. It can be trivial (e.g., about what they want for lunch) or it can be serious (e.g., about whether or not they love you). When you ask them which one they mean, they'll deny ever saying the first one, though it may literally have been only seconds since they said it -- really, how could you think they'd ever have said that? You need to have your head examined! They will contradict FACTS. They will lie to you about things that you did together. They will misquote you to yourself.
Scary. You wonder how such people can function / maintain a consistent version of reality in their heads - because of course, they are not consciously aware of doing most of those things.
In fact Moat was so self-justifying that he even left a 49 page letter "explaining" himself. So, Samantha was shot so that she could claim compensation after the incident was over; Chris because Moat believed him to be a police officer and who had in any event mocked Moat; and David – who actually was a police officer – because he was "probably going to arrest some single mum for not having valid road tax" on her car.
It was almost as if he thought he was Robin Hood, or better still – the Hulk – whom Moat name-checked in his letter. He also abused steroids. In fact Moat – one of the best examples of a narcissist that we will ever encounter - had been very carefully managing his image throughout this incident and had gone out of his way to downplay or justify the violence that he had used with what are called "techniques of neutralisation".
Originally Posted by Ivy
Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.
If you leave him alone long enough, he'll convince himself either he never did it, or it was the best thing he ever did and give you reasons why you should appreciate it.
If it puts them in a bad light, it simply never happened.
It makes it impossible to confront them about past abuse.
Mochajava -- I just caught what you said about your mother's reaction to your saying one good thing about your dad. OMG. When my dad died, my mother did some very upsetting stuff, and trying to talk about it with her later I just felt helpless trying to get her to understand my DAD had just died ... didn't she remember when her daddy died? wasn't she sad? even though her parents didn't get along either... so can't she understand that I was very sad, too? and getting nowhere. There's just no empathy. She finally did grudging say "Well, he did love you." But even that was a betrayal, because she is the only one who can be loved or admired. Any love or admiration going anywhere else took away from her. If my dad commented that an actress on tv was pretty, my mother would flip -- but if I did the same, she'd also flip -- it wasn't sexual jealousy, it was pure jealousy. You could not say someone else was prettier, period.
If I said something clever, her response would be "Why didn't I think of that?"
Awe man, the contradicting! It really is like feeling as if your head will explode any time you get into it with them. I've always said my mother hears what she wants to hear (even though she will tell you it is me that hears what she wants to hear). I've honestly had times where I am tempted to set-up a intricate network of hidden video cameras to record everything just so I can sleep in peace, lol. I can laugh about it but it honestly is just maddening.
I always worry I'm a narcissist. I wig out when I recognize some of my own behaviors or tendencies when reading information about narcissists, but then I realize that a true narcissist does not reflect in that way. They don't seek therapy, they resent the suggestion ANYTHING is wrong, they don't seem to have any interest in the well being of relationships outside of their own selfish needs.
"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you...amazing things will happen" --Conan O'Brien
It's kind of old (1989), I found it used on Amazon; if you read the reviews, you'll see it has had a very positive, healing effect on many people. It is a best-seller on the subject of harmful parenting in general. It has helped me for sure.
My mother (STJ) is not a narcissist per se, put she was very demanding with me and had little consideration for my feelings or aspirations. She was very controlling. She imposed her own priorities and aspirations on me. She punished me constantly and made me feel bad and defective. She was always looking over my shoulder, telling me what I was doing wrong. I didn't know what to do about it and couldn't verbalize my unhappiness (I wasn't allowed to express my anger, that was rebellion), so my body would express it through sickness. I was a rather sickly child and had sleep problems (I still do when something makes me nervous). Stress-related ailments, I guess.
When I was 9, my big sister moved in with her baby girl (an ISFP) and stayed with us for a while. My mother totally devoted herself to the child and made me feel like I had been pushed aside, replaced by a new kid to love. She wasn't very subtle about it and kind of sent me the message that I had failed and hadn't been able to please her as a daughter.
Until recently, I spent my life trying to find a surrogate mother through female role models who would show kindness and appreciate me for whom I was. I made a lot of those relationships fail and even destroyed some of them because of how intense and obsessive I'd get about them.
My most recent role model (and the worst failure so far) was an ISFP. Strangely enough, quite a few of those role models have been ISFPs, as if I was trying to be like the niece who had replaced me to become lovable.
I feel better now, and Toxic Parents has been very helpful.
Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer has also helped me a lot. You might like it if you are a Christian. The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck is also excellent.
@Tiltyred It's funny, but the thing I told you about my Mom didn't strike me as that bad... just self-centered and weak. Also, it's not among the worst/most hurtful things she did. But you're so right -- it IS that bad. Sigh - I have a LOT of work to do...! And it's coming up around a year since I've talked to the toxic folks, so my mind is somehow staying there a lot.