Tuesday, July 24, 2007

And the Narcissist Said....

Interesting!

This blog may have started out as a way to explore my experience as an adoptee, but it seems what draws many visitors is the grim subject of dealing with a narcissistic parent.

This according to Blog Patrol.

While being given away by your own mother blows, the wind blows just as hard for those raised by a narcissist.

I know at least one person whose first mother not only relinquished her, but in reunion, revealed herself to be a narcissist to boot.

Then there are adoptees like me, who were given away as infants, only to land in the clutches of a narcissistic adoptive parent. Being an adoptee makes it even harder to escape or detach from the narcissistic parent because of all the traits we adoptees collect as we grow up among genetic strangers: the people pleasing, the false self and the ever-present expectation, subtle or not, that we be grateful to our new set of parents, capable or incapable.

Did Christina Crawford, that most famous of adoptees, describe her adoptive mother as a narcissist? Or just as a disturbed, lonely, alcoholic actress? I must go back and reread it.

Which raises the issue of celebrities adopting today. It seems to me that they didn't get that way because they were simply artistic, self-effacing people. Sure, some of them wanted to act or sing or perform. But some were driven by the need to be the center of attention. One way to get it is to bask in the glow of the public's approval of the celebrity adopter who has "saved" an orphan. Another way is to turn that child into narcissistic supply. No doubt some of these adoptees - when grown up - will discover the work of Alice Miller and declare themselves to be prisoners of their own childhoods. No doubt we can expect to spend future decades reading and weeping over the tell-all autobiographies of these "rescued" children.

But back to the garden variety narcissist.

I must admit I'm FASCINATED by the things they say and do.

They are not quite human. Or maybe just too human.

It's a good thing I'm not so angry lately because my a-Dad's most recent comment would have really upset me. It just stings a little. But it's so revealing. So I'll share it.

He called asking me to send him something. ASAP as usual. I agreed.

Then he said, "I really depend on you. I guess I have to be nice to you."

True. I'm an only child and the only person in his life.

He COULD have said any number of things, like: "I appreciate all you do for me," "I'm lucky to have such a good daughter," or, simply, "Thank you."

But no. Just a gruding admission that circumstances are forcing him to be nice. Which also means he wouldn't be nice if he didn't have to rely on me. The manipulation is revealed in this simple statement. It sums up our entire relationship. A narcissist isn't completely stupid. They can't afford to alienate everybody.

As I mulled this over last night, driving in my car, I listened to a new song by Nick Lowe, "I Trained Her to Love Me." I found it profoundly upsetting. In an interview, he said he intended it to be provocative. Lowe succeeded by that measure. I wonder....did he unintentionally compose an anthem for narcissists everywhere?

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19 Comments:

Blogger Celera said...

Well, is there some chance he was joking? I mean, some people have trouble making genuine emotional statements like "I really appreciate all you do for me." They might say something like "I guess I have to be nice to you" just as a way of trying to get to what they really mean without having to .... eh, the more I write that the more it seems that such behavior comes from one or another kind of self-centeredness. When we don't genuinely express appreciation, because we are afraid or because it makes us feel vulnerable, we are still putting our own needs ahead of the person who deserves appreciation. Although I'm sure if even one time, your dad would say something actually appreciative or affectionate, it would make up for a lot of other bad behavior.

10:54 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

There is definitely a lot of narcissism involved with adoption. I can't escape the triggers, I sure wish I could.

Worse, NPD is the only reason I was abandoned. It makes me sick.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous kimkim said...

Celera,
my Narcissist mother makes "jokes" like that all the time. It's creepy and weird and then if she says something extra hurtful she can pretend it was just a joke.

It's all about you being made to feel not really valued, it's weird and creepy, as I said.


Nina why don't you just chuck him in a retirement home and be done wtih it?

12:21 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Celera, A lot of it has to do with tone of voice...which I realize now I failed to mention. He said it almost in wonder...like he'd just realized that he's FORCED to be nice or else he won't get what he wants.

Elizabeth: Is NPD the root of all evil? Was Satan narcissistic? Is that what hell IS? A pit filled with narcissists?

KIMKIM...I did put him in an assisted living facility. He went kicking and screaming. It was the BEST thing I ever did because FINALLY third parties confirmed that I wasn't crazy...that he's EXTREMELY manipulative and mean. I cried with relief when the head nurse told me he's a big man baby.

4:02 PM  
Blogger joy said...

I can't believe how honest your narcisstic adad is, bizarre, it seems the npd's I have known in real life at least manage some semblance of disguise.


It is sickly funny in a way, his unabashedness.


I am sorry Nina, gawd if he was my adad I would probably laugh and say "fuuuuuuuuuuck" into the phone.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Joy,

He wasn't always so honest. In fact, he's a BIG liar. I now realize how much he used to lie to get his own way. What's changed is that he has Lewy Body dementia, which impacts the frontal lobe, so he now has no social inhibitions...which makes him wildly inappropriate. He had few inhibitions to begin with, but now he just lets it rip. I desperately try to keep him mind that he's very sick, but in the past, when he was just narcissistic (hah!), I lost it a few times, screaming and hysterical.

12:45 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

Yes I do tend to think NPD is the root of all evil. Have you read "People of the Lie"?

12:46 PM  
Blogger Searching for answers said...

This is really interesting to me. I have never contemplated this before but now I'm seriously wondering if my husbands mother and my daughter are narcissists. They make statements like this all the time. You are right..it is the tone and it is so revolting. I'm sorry you had to grow up with a dad like that. Christine

5:00 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Searching for answers: Here is a link to an EXCELLENT article written about narcissistic parents that may help answer some questions: http://www.alanrappoport.com/Co-Narcissism

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