Narcissist’s actions rarely match their words, they are inconsistent and change their minds, opinions and dreams/desires on a regular basis.  For those who are involved with narcissists it can be very frustrating to try to work out where they are coming from, you keep trying to make sense of their behaviour and project “sense” onto them (even if it seems far fetched).  You are invested in making their behaviour seem “normal” so you try to “fill in the gaps”.  However, the gaps in their behaviour will become too big to fill and you will realise that everything that you do for or with a narcissist is in vain.

Their complete lack of integrity and consistency means that you realise that you cannot trust or depend on them in any way.  They make and break promises without remorse or feeling guilty and then they will turn around and blame you for the fact that they broke their promises.  So, you lose trust in them, but we feel guilty about that because that is not how you “should” view your family members, partner or friend, so there must be something wrong with you.  It is frustrating, self-depreciating, exhausting and you have been emotionally abused, it is not your fault, you just didn’t think that anyone could be this way.  Not knowing that some people can behave this way leads to further abuse, such as.

  • You feel responsible for cleaning up their mess
  • You will clean up their mess without complaining or pointing out the error of their ways.
  • You try to show what the problem is by setting an example.

The narcissist is preying on you at this stage, they will try to make you feel that it is you who is crazy and is being irrational

  • The narcissist does not want to be accountable or cooperative as they see it as a loss of power and control and that which sets them apart as being special and more entitled than the rest of the human race. They will very often tell you that they deserve special treatment due to their wonderful talents, beauty and intelligence.   Because what they say is so exaggerated and extreme, you might think that they are joking, they are not, they are very serious.
  • If you expect a narcissist to do something they will be twice as elusive because they see “being expected to” as being taken “advantage of”, so helping with house work or working as part of a team (unless they are the leader) is completely beneath them as they see that they deserve special treatment and mundane tasks are for lesser mortals to execute.

The word integrity means being whole, entire and undiminished.  This is the antithesis of what a narcissist is.  They are confused, fractured, have different sets of rules for themselves and everyone else and different behaviour depending on who they are talking to.  This means that they have very little self-awareness of their thinking and behaviour so they can do anything they want without feeling bad about it.

  • If you come from a narcissistic family of origin this type of behaviour can feel “normal” because you have kept making excuses for those who are supposed to love you and we all have a deeply ingrained desire for love and intimacy.
  • You are a bit innocent and you cannot believe that someone would treat another person in this way. You feel like there must be a more complex dynamic that you are just missing it.
  • You try to justify their behaviour to yourself with self-talk such as “there must have been some reason for them to behave that way”, “if they feel that strongly about it” they don’t feel that strongly about “it”, they feel strongly about getting their own way.
  • The narcissist has massive gaps in their psyche so they cannot understand the effect that their behaviour has on an integral level, they judge everything on their own limited emotional landscape which is anger, envy, hurt and self -righteous indignation. Any expression of emotion that they manage to evoke in someone else is a win for them.

Misogyny and Misandry

Wikipedia states that Misogyny means:

Misogyny (/mɪˈsɒdʒɪni/) is the hatred or dislike of women or girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, hostility, male supremacist ideas, belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women.[1][2] Misogyny can be found occasionally within ancient texts relating to various mythologies. In addition, various influential Western philosophers and thinkers have been described as misogynistic.[1][3] In 2012 the Macquarie Dictionary (which documents Australian English and New Zealand English) expanded the definition to include not only hatred of women but also “entrenched prejudices against women”.

Wikipedia also states that Misandry means:

Misandry (/mɪˈsændri/), from the Greek misos (μῖσος, “hatred”) and anēr, andros (ἀνήρ, gen. ἀνδρός; “man”), is the hatred or dislike of men or boys.[1][2] Misandry can manifest in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of men, violence against men, or sexual objectification[3] of men. The word “misandrist” was first used in 1871.

If you were born into a narcissist family of origin, it is quite likely that you will have experienced either misogyny or misandry at some level.  This can come about for several reasons such as the narcissistic mother grew up in a family where females were considered “less than” and so the power within the family dynamic was with the males.  Since narcissists like to affiliate themselves with perceived sources of power, giving males preference over females in some families was “automatic”.

If on the other hand a narcissistic mother was brought up having been treated “less than” by her brothers and her parent(s), she might treat her own male child with disdain and neglect in order to “compensate” for being deprived of opportunities in her own life and/or focusing all of her attention exclusively on her daughter(s) to “make up” for the lack of opportunities and hardship she suffered.

This is a message that you can be given at birth or while still in the womb if the sex of the child is known before birth.  If a narcissistic mother is disappointed by the sex of her child she will not bond with it or mirror it.  She might wear the baby on her hip like an accessory but she will deprive the baby of all emotional nurturing.  One of John Bradshaw’s healing affirmations is “It is okay to be a girl/boy”, it is surprising how strongly that sentence resonates with some people.

If your gender has been a disappointment to your parent(s), they most likely will treat you with contempt and will criticise and humiliate you because you were born the “wrong” sex.

Narcissistic mothers will very often be very jealous and envious of their daughters from a very young age (something that an infant simply cannot understand), especially if she is “daddy’s girl”.  It works the other way too, fathers get envious of their sons if the mother leans on him emotionally to the exclusion of her husband.

The reason that parent(s) will “partner” their own children is because they are very emotionally immature, so it is easier for them to relate to a child who has the same emotional maturity that they have instead of an adult.  Narcissistic parents try to infantilise their children so that they do not out grow them emotionally and because they are easier to control if they haven’t grown up.

If the narcissistic mother wanted female children she can often foster dislike of men in her daughters by acting like she and her daughter are the same age and “best friends” and can often confide in her daughter about the difficulties she might be experiencing in her marriage and talk about her husband in derogatory and demeaning terms.  She does this to try to get reinforcement that she is right about the way she treats males.  It is an over generalisation of the “rule”

Both parents male and female will be in direct competition with their same sex off spring so they will disregard practically everything that that child achieves.  They start to compete when the child is at a very young age and they will not acknowledge anything that the child achieves from a drawing, learning how to ride a bike to getting a degree or Phd.  Nothing is ever good enough for them.  The result of this is that the child will feel invisible, they will have low self-esteem and will probably suffer from anxiety, depression and possibly addiction later on in life

Why narcissists are like young children

Like toddlers, narcissists tend to have very rapid mood swings, the most notable of these swings is when they fly into a rage over something that most of us would consider a minor issue.  These rages can flare up in an instant and are very intense, however, these feelings tend to be quite short lived which is confusing because for most people if they felt that intensity of anger it could fester for hours or even days.  Not so with a narcissist and the reason for this is that their rage is not genuine anger, it is a controlling mechanism that they employ to get the person that they are raging at to back down.  Most of us when met with that level of anger will back down because you think “well if you feel that strongly about it …”.  You might well be amazed by how the narcissist can go from bright red in the face with rage to quietly getting on with life once they get their way just a moment later.  They will also expect you to behave as if nothing happened too.

Narcissists like toddlers can be very possessive and have difficulty sharing.  A toddler might well have trouble sharing people as well as toys.  So, for example, a toddler might freak out when they realise that they have to share a favourite aunt or uncle with their cousins or have to share their best friend at pre-school.  It is the same for narcissists, they do not like sharing, either people or “stuff”.  They will give stuff away sooner than share it – this is because they don’t like the give and take interaction.  To give for them is a purchase, sharing on the other hand does not have the same leverage.  They will however, take from others relentlessly, because as narcissists, that is their right (sense of entitlement), if they borrow something from someone they do not feel obliged to return the object but will become incensed with rage if someone did the same to them.

The motto of a narcissist it “It’s MINE!!!” just like a toddler.  Learning how to share is a developmental stage that narcissists missed out on, this is very isolating for the narcissist child as they never learnt how to interact and play with other children and that is why they find it so hard to maintain friendships/relationships later on in life.

Emotional and social skills are essential for developing abilities such as paying attention to others, switching from one activity to the next and cooperating with others. The ability to show empathy, express feelings and share generously are not the hallmarks of the narcissistic personality.

Some people do not think that narcissism is genetic is because one of the key components to learning the above skills is to have a role model of appropriate behaviours.  If a child sees a role model sharing, showing gratitude, co-operating and openly expressing feelings they will have a good understanding of how to interact with people outside the immediate family.  Showing respect for children and other members of the family is essential.  A child will observe what is done and take it on board much more than what is said.

This is where narcissistic parents become unstuck.  They may well tell their child how they want them to behave (to make them “look good”), correcting them when they forget to say “please” or “thank you”, doing kind things for other people, but if they are disrespectful to their partner, their own children and or criticise others within earshot of their children, that is what the child will learn.  Children mimic behaviours not words. Which isn’t to say that every child of a narcissistic parent will automatically become a narcissist themselves, that depends on the character of the child, the intensity of the narcissistic parenting and a multitude of external influences, such as supportive relations, teachers and neighbours etc. all contribute.

Healthy parents will reinforce positive social behaviour, this makes the child feel good about themselves and teaches the child the types of behaviour that are worthy of praise.  Helping a child feel good about themselves helps them to develop a sense of empathy for others.  This is because they feel secure enough in themselves to feel other people’s pain, without being over burdened by it.  When a child is brought up in an environment where they are allowed to share their feelings the child will automatically become more generous and thoughtful.   This was not the case with the narcissist, in general narcissists are “afraid” of their feelings and have a tendency to block most of them (with the exception of rage), because feelings for a narcissist are not “safe” and are a sign of weakness, which is why they cannot love, be empathetic, caring or even listen to the feelings of others.  A narcissist will very often block the expression of feeling in others (no matter how mild) with comments such as “well at least”, “nobody died”, “you always” or some other disparaging remark.

Parents can stimulate empathy and emotional intelligence in their children by encouraging them to think about how other people feel, take the perspective of another.  The expression “people will rarely understand what you are feeling unless they have experienced it themselves” is very true.  If a child has been denied access to their own feelings, they will find it almost impossible to know what other people are going through – this carries through to narcissistic adults.

That laughed at therapist’s phrase of “how did that make you feel” is absolutely valid.  Narcissists are so divorced from their feelings that they probably don’t actually know what the question means.  As children we all grew up with things that we were or were not allowed to do.  For example, eat sweets, stay up late or cross a busy road on your own.  However, children of narcissistic parents were not “allowed” or were punished for the expression of their feelings.  This is almost certainly a learnt reaction like those two famous English quotes “stiff upper lip” and “we don’t do feelings” as though that was a virtue.  It is not, it is a denial of the very thing that makes us human.

Teaching and modelling cooperation is a lifelong skill that you will give to your child.  It will make them much more socially adept and will provide them the ability to relate to others.  This in turn will make it easier for them to develop healthy and happy relationships of their own.  As a child learns to develop social problem solving skills they will learn how to deal with conflict or arguments with their peers and will also teach them the concepts of negotiation and compromise.  These are skills that were never developed in a narcissist.

Narcissistic parents

Narcissistic parents are vandals, they rarely say nice things to their children, as they are in constant competition with them.  They regard their children as their property or play things.  So, they allocate roles to their children such as golden child or scapegoat to fulfil their own needs and get aggressive and hostile if any of the children try to shift the dynamic.  However, they make it clear that these roles could be changed if the child does not facilitate their every whim.  This confusion creates insecurity with in the family and makes the children much easier to control – confusion is a key symptom of abuse.  Healthy relationships are clear, you know where you stand (double meanings, denial, reframing, lies and inconstancy are all abusive traits).

Many narcissists use weakness and vulnerability as their key weapons of control.  If they feel any criticism coming on they will look hurt, wounded or will go off in a sulk.  The children in such a family end up thinking that the narcissist is genuinely hurting and that they genuinely need the protection and tolerance of their children to “make it all right”.  Of course, like with everything a narcissist does, this is just a manipulative ploy to get what they want and to shame their children into taking care of them.  This is called parentising.  It means that adult narcissistic parents will actually expect their very small children to take care of their emotional needs.  What this means to the child is that they are given all the responsibility of their parents “well-being”, but absolutely no power, support, protection or guidance.  This makes the child feel inadequate and a failure at the job that has been allocated to them.

An example of this is when a parent will accuse a child of being to blame responsible for a mistake that they made.  They make the child feel guilty by shaming them for something that they had absolutely no control over, such as scratching the paintwork on a car or forgetting to buy something at the supermarket.

Their projection onto the child means that the narcissist can:

  • Abdicate their responsibility
  • Attack and confuse the child (so that they feel more powerful)
  • Lower the confidence and self-esteem of the child so that they will be easier to control in the future
  • Use the blamed child as a model to the other siblings to let them know that they have to “keep in” with their parent, otherwise they will be at risk of being blamed for any mishap
  • Force the child into a constant state of hyper reactive obedience

Because narcissists are so self-absorbed they forget that their children are children and so can frequently use language with their children that is too adult for them to understand.  If they are teasing their children, they will frequently use word play or sarcasm that is far too developmentally advanced for the child to understand.  They will often employ cynicism to the actions of their children as they attribute adult motivation to childish acts, the child might well be punished for simply just being a child.  The narcissist however will see any act of selfishness on behalf of the child (which is all part of the developmental process) as a direct attack on them.  The child therefore is dehumanised and is used as a vessel for their rage and frustration.

Because narcissists are control freaks and they ALWAYS have to be right, they will retreat into a zone of delusion and fantasy to maintain this self-image.  So for example they might say to their children “you are so lucky that we are rearing you with so few rules and that you have so much freedom”,  the implication being that it was some thought out bohemian lifestyle when in fact the accurate description would be neglect and indifference and are given a ridiculously burdensome sense of responsibility for self but also for parents from a very young age,  without any guidelines or instruction, just criticism when the narcissistic parent feels that the child “got it wrong”  according to their mood.  There is no consistency with narcissists.  They use guilt and shame with their children, which is just a destructive and lazy means of control, as it makes the child feel very insecure.

They find it very hard to celebrate the achievements of their off spring and will take credit for something themselves such as an academic or sporting achievement and will say “well of course you got that from me” or say something like “the standard must have been very low if you won”.

Narcissistic parents brainwash their children into giving them what they want and insist that their children always put their needs before the child’s.  A frequent refrain would be “after all the sacrifices that I have made for you”

Non Love

It is amazing that we have so many words for different types of rain such as pouring down, bucketing, deluge, lashing, shower, drizzle, spitting,  soft rain etc.  Yet we only have one word for love, there is no spectrum or a love scale and love is a very simple word for a very complex weave of emotions in most cases but not with narcissists.

Narcissists by definition, cannot love other people but that does not stop them from using the word liberally and inappropriately, it is used as a hook rather than from any genuine sentiment, to make you feel obliged to take care of their feelings simply because they said “I love you”, not because they have behaved in a loving or intimate way.  Everyone wants to be loved, so it can seem flattering when someone endlessly tells you they love you,  but it is a trap that they use to ensnare you into not rejecting them and treading softly around them.  If there were a love spectrum, narcissists would register on a below zero value because they do not respect other human beings and are so cut off from their own feelings that they do not recognise or feel empathy for them when they see them in others, in general they find emotionality in others annoying and they may well get angry or rage at someone for showing emotion and try to “correct” their behaviour by telling that person “why you shouldn’t feel that way” they also do not consider it inappropriate to tell people “how they are allowed to feel”.

If you come from a narcissist family of origin you will probably be asked by your narcissist parent if you love them on a regular basis, very few children would dare to say they do not for fear of the punitive consequences.  They will also use the love word as a leverage “if you really loved me you wouldn’t do/not do that” or “if you really loved me you wouldn’t ask me to do that”.

Often the literature on narcissism refers to their “love”, but love doesn’t hurt or enjoy seeing someone in pain, afraid or in difficulty.  Love doesn’t try to destroy the reputation of others, tell lies, cheat and steal.  Love doesn’t make someone feel constantly anxious and unsafe and have them retreat further and further inside themselves so that the grandiosity of the narcissist can sparkle.

What a narcissist feels towards the feels about others is the opposite to love, it is indifference.  Most  people think that the opposite to love is hate, this is not so because if you hate someone you are very invested in that person (albeit negatively), a narcissist couldn’t care less about the other person as an individual and are only and exclusively interested in what that person can do for them.

If a narcissistic parent tells their opposite sex golden child that they love them what they really mean is that they want the child who they have put on a pedestal to admire them back.  To get the admiration of this favourite child they will flirt and enter into a bizarre psychosexual “dance”, for example they might let their 18 year old sit on their knee and or touch them inappropriately for their age such as kissing their teenager on the lips or patting their backside, a father may grope his pubescent daughters tits “to see how much they have grown”.  All of the above behaviour is said to be done out of love but it is only about control, dominance and their perpetual desire to seek attention.


Global Intelligence

Global intelligence means that you have an interconnectedness between all types of intelligence as per American psychologist Howard Gardner:

  • Naturalist (nature smart)
  • Musical (sound smart)
  • Logical-mathematical (number/reasoning smart)
  • Existential (life smart)
  • Interpersonal (people smart)
  • Bodily-kinesthetic (body smart)
  • Linguistic (word smart)
  • Intra-personal (self-smart)
  • Spatial (pattern smart)

A person might score high on only one or two areas usually because the person has an interest in those areas.  Global intelligence means that all of your intelligent types are integrated and interconnected.

This means that a person instinctively knows how to be respectful to others and understands the inherent importance of empathy and emotional intelligence has on family and society in general.

Narcissists can only think in short term gains, so if they want something they will go after it irrespective of the long term consequences so if they have to be deceitful or steal something to get it so be it, they do not take responsibility for their consequences, they only think in terms of “winning” that particular game.  They are incapable of critical or logical thinking (or the big picture), ethics and morality is for other people, since they have little or no self-awareness, their own behavior is not something they question.  They have a running narrative that tells them that they are better, more deserving, more important than everyone else and this self-talk drowns out any self-analysis or personal development.

A narcissist with a high I.Q. is only intelligent in very limited fields of focus such as spatial or linguistic intelligence.  It can happen that highly skilled inventors can invent something like a weapon and their focus will be on three issues, solving the problem, gaining power and earning money.  They can express genuine surprise when people point out the destruction and devastation that their invention caused, because they do not factor in the human aspect and they have no capacity to see the global picture.  They cannot acknowledge that we are all inter-connected and that personal responsibility is at the very core of being a functioning adult human being.