Tag Archives: narcissists

The Narcissist vs the Straight-Talk: A Fight to the Finish.

Take away the bull, and you'll find the narcissist has pretty much nothing to say.

So, Aunt Alex was with a narcissistic old flame the other day, making out with him in the back seat of a flames-embellished, spoiler-bedecked Hyundai, when….

Hm. Got your attention there, didn’t I.

And now, let’s leap right to the point here: Life is complex, feelings are complex, and relationships are complex, but when it comes to narcissists, simple is your friend. Bare-bones, reduced-to-the-elements points are your friends. Straight-talk is your friend.

I’ll bet dimes to doughnuts that you’ve bought into the BS of a narcissist before. You’ve done this not because you’re dumb, or weak, but because you’re emotionally generous. You give the benefit of the doubt. You allow for some wiggle-room. But, boy, would the straight talk ever sound different:

Wiggle-room: “I’ll just hear him out and see what he has to say.”
Reality: “I’ll just give him MORE attention and give myself MORE hope, when the truth is I’ll only end up hurt and depressed.”

Wiggle-room: “It’s OK if we spend a little time together. I won’t let things go too far.”
Reality: “Things absolutely will go too far, because he’s a scammer and a liar, but I won’t see it coming until it’s too late.”

Wiggle-room: “I’m a kind person and I believe in people who want to change.”
Reality: “I want him to change, and want to help him change, but he hasn’t yet, is all talk now, and isn’t putting up an ounce of effort other than the blathering about it.”

Wiggle-room: “We were only talking. We missed each other.”
Reality: “We were making out in his car, while his fiancee waited for him to come and pick her and their new baby up at the hospital.”

See how that works?

It’s the narcissist who is damaged goods, and he can plow a path of emotional sewage and destruction without any help from the rest of us. When we give a narcissist so much as a micron of wiggle-room, you can bet your doughnuts he’ll use it to shove through your personal boundaries and wreak further havoc on your life. Second chances, second-guessing, letting his abuses go, forgiving and forgetting — none of these approaches have a role in dealing with a narcissist. It’s like adopting a rabid dog who’s already bitten you and your family members multiple times, because you think he might be OK now. It’s just not a safe, or likely, or worthwhile bet.

Narcissists are liars and phonies who will never change, ever; not soon, not later, not a lot or a little. Cut your losses, and you’ll be glad you listened to your own straight-talk.


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Top Ten Reasons Narcissists Are WONDERFUL to Have Around at the Holidays.

1. Peaceful, nourishing, enjoyable celebrations are so BORING, and thoughtful gifts are SO overrated. Give me disappointment and disillusionment ANY day.

2. His whining about not getting the gift, attention, treats, dinner, or EXACT expression of appreciation he wanted, will make any cranky children look like angelic, mature, serene and wise sophisticates in comparison.

3. Usually they don’t even bother showing up, or calling, or following through on any plans. This means you get his serving of dessert.

4. Having a narcissist in the room means he’ll be desperately sucking ALL the attention his way. NO ONE will notice if the tree is crooked or the turkey is dry.

5. Take him to the office Holiday party, and all the old workplace interpersonal tensions will be forgotten. Your colleagues will be too busy feeling sorry for you for having such a jackass in your life.

6. His laying in the Barca Lounger like a hairy, farting manatee all day means he’ll have LOTS of energy for the three minutes of intimacy he’s got in store for you tonight! Rawr!

7. You didn’t really want help with those decorations anyway. After all, you just have to take them down again in January.

8. Kids LOVE playing the “Guess How Many Half-Siblings We Have That Mommy Doesn’t Know About” game. It’s a narcissist family favorite.

9. Knowing perfectly well he’s going to passive-aggressively ruin your day, you can spend HOURS and HOURS mapping out a reverse-psychology, pre-emptive, out-do-the-narcissist manipulation strategy. Yes, it will consume all your energy and free time, and will fail anyway, but it’ll be SO worth it.

10. And finally, the answers are, “Yes.” Yes, he did pick out that lingerie for you while thinking mostly about how it will look on him. And yes, he did unwrap the store package and try it on before rewrapping it and giving it to you. Enjoy.


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Top Ten Reasons Why My Cat is Better Than a Narcissist.

10. After I feed it goodies, my cat curls up in my lap and purrs instead of going over to the neighbor’s house to ask HER for goodies.

9. My cat brings me gifts that he truly thinks I’ll enjoy, just because he loves me. Yes, I prefer his dead mole to a narcissist’s bottle of perfume that he got at the Dollar Store.

8. My cat might ignore me sometimes, but he doesn’t ignore me and then say he didn’t.

7. When he wants to stay out all night, my cat never tells me it’s my fault for being too needy.

6. I’ve never caught my cat flirting with someone and saying he doesn’t already have an owner with whom he lives.

5. A narcissist will tell you the relationship is on the rocks if he’s feeling a little bored. My cat just takes a nap.

4. Cats actually bond with people, their kittens, each other, and other species. My cat’s never faked an emotion a day in his life.

3. Ever seen a cat make an ass of himself by trying to talk about your feelings and why those feelings are wrong? Nope. Me either.

2. My cat hisses when he’s mad, instead of carrying on like an insane berserker on crack who makes about a much sense as a mumbling wombat.

And the Number One reason why my cat is better than a narcissist:

1. I’m SURE my cat has never, EVER tried on my underwear.


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The Narcissist as Sex God.

Reader Alert: Not for young eyes or those of tender constitution. Proceed with caution.

First, I hope you giggled a little at that title, because if there’s anything a toad ISN’T, it’s a great lover. Don’t get me wrong, some of them have acceptable technique. But even that is part of their disorder — if you look closely at any very good technique they have or anything you like, whether it’s their kiss, their pace, or a certain touch, they probably learned it from you. They’re either mimicking you, or are repeating — over and over — what they think you like. They have no personal style that’s partner-oriented. Creepy deviance is likely; pleasant creativity is unheard of. Sex on the fly is likely; true intimacy is starkly lacking. He’ll accuse you of being frigid or not liking sex, when the truth of the matter is you just don’t want his sweaty manatee fatness grunting on you. He’ll pleasure himself on your body while you’re trying to sleep, and act like he’s just anointed you with the nectar of the Greek Gods. And you should thank him for annoying you, using you, and getting you all gross before sleeping.

Face it. Narcissists suck in bed.

People like sex. This is because sex is really, really awesome. Toads with personality disorders, however, are not really, really awesome, and they tend to have one of two approaches to sex.

(1) “I have an erection! Let’s have a parade!”

Yeah. He has an erection. This is supposed to be as fascinating for you as it is for him. You’re supposed to experience his erection as he does when he has it, and get all hot, aroused and freaky right at that moment, and magically know how to thrill him sexually. Forget about YOU being satisfied sexually, or when YOU are aroused and want to spend time with him; you’re supposed to be fulfilled by helping him to achieve orgasm, and every sexual encounter together should be a greatest hit. If you don’t have a great time, it’s because there’s something wrong with you, not because he’s a selfish lover. The beginning of the sexual experience is defined by his erection, and the end by his orgasm. Then he’ll pat you on the butt and roll over and go to sleep. This, my friends, is not love-making. It’s masturbation using another person as a sex toy.

(2) “I am Tarzan! Lord of the jungle! No, wait, I am Pre-Transgender-Woman, hear me ROAR! No, wait, I’m a MAN, but, gay and PROUD! Wait, what’s a transvestite — and is “bi” still available?”

I have never seen anything so pathetic and hopeless as the sexually confused narcissist. And I assure you most vigorously, they’re as common as fleas on a hound dog. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a narcissist who was both secure and comfortable in his sexuality. They want EVERYONE to love them and want them, so, actually, nothing and no one is off the table (so to speak) when it comes to potential sex partners. And their identity in ALL departments is so flimsy and malleable, including their sexual identity, that they don’t really have a firmly established gender identity or sexual alignment. They want attention and adoration from anything that moves, and if sex is a way to get it, so be it. They’re the ultimate slut — they’ll truly hump anything.

For both of those two types, though, be sure that when a narcissist has sex, he thinks he’s a Greek God at it. It’s healthy for people to feel sexy and confident and comfortable during sex, but that’s not what’s going on with him. No, he’s PERFORMING. To HIMSELF. He’s the guy who mirrors over the bed were made for, so he can watch himself — not the two of you having a loving, intimate time, but himself, being a golden Greek God. And like with anything else, the truth of the matter is he sucks at it. So to speak. Sex isn’t a bonding behavior for him, with shared passion and afterglow and tender endearments, it’s a release and a GREAT way to be passive-aggressive. To withhold, to let you down, to begrudge and to abuse.

He’ll pretend he loves and get your response, your love, and get you to give yourself over to him, and then devalue and discard just like he does with everything else. Narcissists make their lovers feel needy, because their lovers do all the giving and get so very little in return — and the resulting emotional deficit is VERY uncomfortable.

Doesn’t matter if he’s good-looking, has beautiful eyes, a large dong, or good lines. Sex is just a more painful version of the same emptiness and lack of bonding ability as he offers with every other part of the relationship. That’s not what sex is all about, Friends, and there’s nothing Greek God-like about a toad.



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Book Section from Toads, and The Women Who Kiss Them.

As promised, Friends, here’s a sample from the Toads tome

(  http://tinyurl.com/3j49a6a  ).

It had some critical input from a social worker at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, NH, named Sonya Mastersen, MSW, who edited for continuity and provided ample mental health info as well as helped the theme stay focused. 

Tell me what you think, because we’re all Friends here and we want to make sure Aunt Alex didn’t wander into the Feeble Zone whilst listening to herself talk.


There are several different kinds of toads, in ALL shapes and sizes and varieties of scumbag, but here are some common traits.

### The only thing that fuels his motor is self-interest.  The SELFISHNESS factor in toadcraft is off the charts.  No matter how gifted of a manipulator he is, or how smooth his lies and deceptions are, his partner has noticed — often — that with this guy, it’s all about him.  And it is.  Without that normal, healthy ability to empathize, he can’t think of people, anybody, as even remotely important or even very interesting, except for what they can give him and do for him.  Taking that a step further, it’s all about what they can do for him to make his life at any given moment easier or more entertaining for him, or to make him feel like a fabulous guy right that minute.  He hurts others without guilt, he takes what he wants from others without remorse, he lies with revolting ease and has so little problem with it that he forgets his lies equally easily.  He wants people to be appliances, dispensing what he needs when he needs it, and quietly out of the way when he doesn’t.

### Most toads like to be busy, often with COMPULSIVE little preoccupations.  This helps keep him from thinking and feeling, things a normal person would actually enjoy doing.  Toads don’t really like thinking or feeling because they’re unable to bond, and the consequential loneliness is desperately, bone-crushingly desolate and sad.  His thoughts and feelings are steeped in self-loathing and anxiety.  No wonder he avoids them.
The Truth is, he grows bored with a woman very quickly.  Now, this is NOT a reflection on the woman.  He grows bored with EVERYTHING.
A novel: Gripped, then bored.
A celebrity: Enthralled, then bored.
His old girlfriend: Fascinated, then bored.
A sports game: Jazzed, then bored.
Aliens landing in the backyard: Riveted, then bored.
He’s addicted to adrenaline because it makes him feel alive, and he’s bored more easily than a monkey in an empty cubicle.  And that’s a hopeless combination.

### His MOOD SWINGS can give a person seasickness.  His memory for loving gestures, kindnesses his partner or others show him, ways they try to bond with him, gifts they give to him, anything good, is nonexistent seconds after it happens.  He can’t retain feelings and build on them because he doesn’t have that bonding “glue” that holds it all together.  After he gets what he wants, the “feelings” dissipate, the time together is forgotten (completely, as though it had vanished), and he’s on to what he wants next.  If he’s getting something, he’ll purr like a kitten right that moment.  If he’s being “refused” (even if it’s because she has an emergency and can’t come over right then, or she’s sick, or she got in a car accident, or is justifiably mad because he’s been a jerk, or, really, anything), he’ll have a tantrum like a spoiled and not-quite-right-in-the-head kindergartner.  He also gets moody very easily because he doesn’t have the mental health to handle even a little stress or anxiety, moderate life challenges, frustration, or disappointment.  He’s perfectly OK with rampant mood swings.  He doesn’t see them as a problem or even as at all unusual, because they reflect the tornado of contradictions, struggles, and chaos in his head.  When a sane person feels peaceful, they like having peaceful surroundings.  When a frog Prince feels energized and excited, he likes exciting surroundings.  Well, toads feel miserable and crappy all the time, and that’s the joy they want to spread around, all the time.  Frog princes are able to keep aware of the big picture.  Toads can’t.  They don’t have the mental parts.

### He’s DESPERATE FOR ATTENTION.  Lots of it.  He’s never so comfortable as when the attention is on him, the drama is high, or he senses that his lies are being bought and believed, lock, stock and barrel.  They love to screw up other people’s birthdays, celebrations and holidays (he doesn’t feel special, so why should you?), and prevent anyone but him from being the focus of happy attention.

### He expects his partner to be able to read his mind, all the time.  Not little messages at rare times, like he sent his partner a private “let’s leave” signal in a crowded room that she didn’t pick up.  Neither are we talking about minor differences in understanding about agreements, for which neither of them in the couple feel particularly responsible.  That’s occasional healthy couple stuff.  We’re talking MAGICAL THINKING, where he gets furious if she didn’t just magically know he wanted her home early, or just magically know he wanted her to seduce him with a certain sexual fantasy, or that he wanted to be left alone on a certain day.  She’s supposed to know when to be fully available and when to be scarce, when to baby him and how much, what to say, how to say it, when to call, what to offer, and when to be “challenging”.  She’s supposed to know what he wants, and want the same thing herself.  She can find herself feeling like she’s dealing with a three-year-old, except three-year-olds are (A) adorably innocent, (B) trusting, and (C) can be soothed with hugs, reassurance, and ice cream.  Toads just keep that toad tantrum shrieking away until he either runs out of steam, or she leaves, or he wants something else from her.

### He’s DEFENSIVE.  He’s ridiculously defensive.  He’s not just “sensitive”, he gets head-spinningly enraged at comments or looks that weren’t even criticisms or accusations.  The chip on his shoulder is so big, it’s a wonder he doesn’t tip over.  He can’t handle the most gentle conversation about something he could do to improve the relationship, or something he could change about the way he does things for his partner or her benefit, or even his own benefit.  He would call his defensiveness “explaining”, or “responding” to her harsh criticism or attacks, but all that’s really going on is his lashing out at her when the compost tornado in his head gets to spinning out of control — and just like with a tornado, there’s nothing she can do but take cover.  He’s so emotionally weak that he can’t engage in the slightest introspection without lashing out with all guns blazing, nor can he hear anything about the smallest discomfort or dissatisfaction on her part without taking it as a massive assault on himself.  It’s bizarre, and very destructive.

### The frequency of PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE behavior is off the charts with toads.  This means that he does mean and nasty things out of a desire to hurt and bother others, but usually in a sneaky, underhanded way that he can try to play off as a mistake, an overreaction or misunderstanding on the woman’s part, or something that he can try to pretend is thoughtful and meaningful on his part (when in fact it’s mean and nasty).  He does this because he’s got a whole lot of anger, hatred, loneliness, frustration and negativity in his head, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and passive-aggression lets some of it leak out to give him a little relief, while not making him suffer all the consequences that overtly aggressive and obnoxious behavior would.  Hurting others makes him feel impactful, and makes the outside of him more like the inside, a harmony and cohesion which we all seek.  (That’s why validation feels so good and why we enjoy calm, relaxing surroundings.)  There are thousands of ways passive-aggression can show itself.  If he’s not particularly smooth about it his plays can be pretty obvious, such as when he outright asks her what she wants, and then says in the same discussion that she can’t have it.  Passive-aggression using sex is guaranteed, especially in the way he’ll treat her afterward — like she’s in the way.  Denying her things (visits, plans, occasions, sex, anything), mentioning other women in pointless contexts, mentioning things he’s done without her that he knows she wanted to do with him, being late, being annoyingly early, canceling at the last minute, withholding answers, breaking promises, calling her with an invitation to a trip an hour before he’d pick her up, while knowing she therefore can’t go.  He can get very creative with his passive-aggression.   His passive-aggressive withholding and denial can even be about something that he wants too, but his compulsion to be passive-aggressive is so strong that it overrides rational thought, his own plans, and his own strategies.  And then he’ll get mad about how his own passive-aggression has messed up what he wants, and takes that frustration out on you.  Yes, it’s that crazy.  No, it can’t be fixed with therapy or love.

### This trait is critical, and universal across the toad board: He’s a huge CONTROL FREAK.  It’s his way or the highway.  He’ll be a rigid, bossy jerk.  He can be pretty sneaky about this, also, if he wants to be:  “Your making this easy for me is part of why this works.”  But more often, it’s more like,  “This is a way we can do things.  And if you don’t want to, that’s your choice.”  (Comments like this make it sound like she has a choice, when he’s actually toaded things up so badly that she has no such thing — she has no input or leverage in this “choice” except to take it or leave it. )

Some common (but not universal to all toads) ways they control things include:

~~ Laying a huge (and sometimes screaming) guilt trip on her if she wants to spend time with family or friends, even only occasionally or for special events.
~~ Going through her cell phone to see the numbers she’s dialed and received.
~~ Telling her how to dress (not preferences, but instructions or manipulations, as in, “If you love me and want me to be happy, you’ll dress this way all the time, except when I tell you to do differently”).  Hair’s too short, not enough makeup, her favorite lingerie is too lacy or not the right color.  He’ll imply that if she doesn’t wear what he wants her to, they can’t be together.
~~ Telling her she’s selfish and a poor partner if she wants to do things once in a great while that don’t include him or that he doesn’t particularly want her to do, like visit people important to her that he doesn’t like, or relax once in a while by herself with a video or the Internet, or take a nap.
~~ Threatening to end the relationship over stupid little things, or things completely out of her control.
~~ Suicide threats, threats of worsening his tantrum, or threats to withhold — anything he thinks might “get” to you.

He even wants to control the conditions of an argument with him — if he feels like fighting and she doesn’t, she’s “refusing to talk to him”, she’s being withholding, or a bitch, she thinks she’s superior, etc.  If he is being intolerable and she needs to talk to him about it, she’s not allowed to bother him with her “petty nags and bullshit”.  Period.  God help her if she’s got a good point to argue and a mind of her own, and wants to press the issue; if she stands up for herself, he’ll have a complete meltdown.  Sometimes he can be so ridiculous about it that it’s easy to think he might be joking.  But he’s not.  Keep in mind, it’s not about the issue at hand, whatever it is; it’s not about family, or what to have for dinner, or what his partner wants.  It’s about control.  If he can’t dominate her and his surroundings, he feels like things can — and will — spin wildly out of control, a possibility which terrifies him.  He doesn’t have the emotional health or substance to be able to see otherwise, no matter how many times he’s shown or told he can share control in a relationship and it will be OK.

“Toads are people too!”
— So are child molesters and pornographers.  Doesn’t mean you should bring them into your life.

### Something that gets a toad really, over-the-top nasty is some natural healthy boundaries on the part of people around him, in his presence.  His partner tells him she doesn’t want to talk about something right now, or do something with him because of her feelings or beliefs, or that she doesn’t want to get into an argument with him about the topic at hand because it’s too volatile or uncomfortable for her.  Toads HATE BOUNDARIES with every cell of their warty little being, and if she has them, he’ll attack them until they’re dust at her feet.  It’s partly tied in with the control thing, where he wants her to have nothing that’s really to herself, including feelings and information.  It’s also partly tied in with his wanting to be able to shame, hurt, and manipulate her if needed, and the more private the details behind the boundaries, the more he needs to know them.  He desperately needs to be able to get to her (to “smite”her if ever need be, as one toad put it).  But mostly his hatred of boundaries has to do with his total and complete self-loathing.  A woman’s healthy boundaries let her keep dignifying and identity-building things to herself, and protect her most primal, vulnerable core, that tender “inner child”, against assault, even in a healthy relationship. Toadboy takes her boundaries so personally that he’s sure she’s telling everyone everything, and sharing all of herself with everyone, except for him.  His damaged psyche tells him that the reason she has boundaries is because she thinks he’s not good enough to “know” her, and that she shuts him out only because he’s a warty loser.
Now, it’s absolutely true that he’s a warty loser and that she probably does have some huge red flags about him and wants to protect her tender inner self from him and his toadcraft.  But these aren’t the only reasons she has the boundaries he hates; it’s because she’s taking care of herself.  One of the most common ways toads exploit boundaries is the Machiavellian “trust and faith” move.  Toads want to be able to tell a woman to trust him and have faith in him and in what they have together, and have her buy into it, all in, so that he can exploit her easily and maximally.  If he can get her to believe in his BS with no evidence he can be trusted, or why she should have “faith”, he can feel like he has that power, that control, that ability to “get” a woman.  The kind of “trust” and “faith” he asks for requires a woman to abandon not only her boundaries against being manipulated, but also her common sense and her own wants, needs and plans.
Healthy trust and faith have substance, a pattern of performance, a history of worthiness to back them up.  In healthy relationships, trust and faith aren’t just words.

“I once met a guy who, on the first date, told me I was inflexible and impossibly rigid because I said that betrayal in a relationship should never be tolerated.  Is this something a toad would do?”
— Yes, but he’s also being an impossibly ineffectual one, showing his toad cards on a first date like that.  I don’t know what’s more appalling, his toadery or his stupidity.  But I thank him sincerely for saving you the trouble.

There are lots of terms that overlap here.  Narcissist.  Sociopath.  Antisocial Personality Disorder.  Borderline Personality Disorder.  Psychopathy.  Huge Jerk.  Same BS, different costumes.   The beauty of Aunt Alexandra’s Army and its work is, it isn’t the partner’s job to “diagnose” the toad, or to go looking through a copy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, otherwise known as the DSM (and don’t get me started on the DSM), and try to sleuth out exactly under what category his toxicity falls.  If her stomach is in knots and she feel like something is wrong, and he’s got the toad traits mentioned above, he’s a toad, and Aunt Alex’s Army the right place for her.


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Toads, and the Women Who Kiss Them.

Aunt Alex’s Army has a manual. I’ll post a chapter tomorrow.

Check it out:



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How to Make a Narcissist Pay

Mmm, it’s delicious to think about sometimes, isn’t it — making that mofo writhe in misery to pay for the pain and destruction he’s caused. It’s justice, with flair and attitude. And, how hard can it be? Spraypainting “assclown” on the side of his car, lobbing dozens of eggs at his house, or getting him drunk and, when he falls asleep, drawing daffodils on his forehead with permanent markers. Tying him down and tattooing “I hurt people” across his clavicle. Posting unflattering pictures of him in the post office with the FBI Most Wanted, or in public restrooms with “Pervert” written on them.

Ahem. Not that Aunt Alex spends much time daydreaming about such things. (This is true. I’m usually thinking about Italian food.) But it’s perfectly healthy thought-play, orchestrating revenge scenes in your head, and the more elaborate and creative, the better. He hurt you, and you’re allowed some justice-dreaming.

But what I encourage you to think about doing is very, very different from what I encourage you to actually do. Your wanting the narcissist to suffer is completely understandable, and it’s wonderfully fortunate that the best way to make him suffer is also the best thing for you. See, all that stuff above feels good to us as revenge, but he’ll actually love your retaliations because it’s just more attention directed his way. The technique to make him really suffer is — wait for it — ignore the living daylights out of him.

Shun him. Obey the “No Contact” rule. Sit shiva for him, so that he’s dead to you. However you want to put it, the plan is for you to have nothing to do with the narcissist. This leaves YOU going on with your life and putting the pieces back together, and HIM squirming in his toxic juices.

This is the BEST way to make a narcissist pay, and the BEST thing for you, but it’s not perfect. The missing will be excruciating. And the ignoring him will make him try really, really hard to get your attention. Resisting these efforts on his part will be monumentally hard for an emotionally generous person. It’ll be a giving person shutting out someone she’s loved, who says he wants to get back together — a pretty dangerous situation. For that reason, shutting him out won’t be fun, or easy, or likely to be successful the first time. If he catches you in a weak moment, it’ll go like this:  you’ll shut him out, he’ll beg to come back, you’ll allow him back into your life, and he’ll be just as destructive and assclowning as before (if not more so). This isn’t a bad thing, because then, when you ignore the crap out of him the next time, you’ll KNOW what you’re in for if you let him back. Experience is a great teacher.

That putting your life back together part doesn’t get talked about much, and it’s critically important to keep from being vulnerable to another narcissist. Beefing up boundaries is a mandatory part of recovery. And letting all the air out of his tires while he’s at a bar meeting another woman, releasing a box of snakes in his house, and posting his picture and a detailed list of his mental and physical shortcomings on the “news” page of your town, are perfectly splendid ideas best left unexplored.


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The Narcissist as One of Us

Hello, Friends; Aunt Alex is back from the front lines, with stories to tell and observations to share. And the first one is about a well-meaning but not-too-bright-in-the-bulb guy named Jeff.

Jeff isn’t a narcissist. Jeff’s a therapist, and he sees lots of different clients, including people involved in nasty relationships. Here’s what Jeff said, with a straight face: “You can’t be making narcissists out to be pathological. Narcissism is just another trait, on a continuum. Some have less, some have more, but it’s not really a personality disorder.”

It took Aunt Alex quite a bit of time to knock this dolt out and stuff his lifeless body down a storm sewer, but now that it’s done, let me set the record straight:

Continuum, my ass.

In normal, healthy people, some have more or less confidence, arrogance, self-love, self-loathing, lots of things. Some people are more empathic or less empathic. Some are big jerks or barely have a jerky day in their lives. But narcissists are not, I repeat, are not on a continuum of normal traits.

The key here is the empathy. Narcissists don’t have less empathy than the average person, or way less empathy than average. THEY HAVE NO ABILITY TO EMPATHIZE AT ALL. That empathizing part of their brain isn’t shrunken; it’s absent. They can’t even fake it very well, for very long. This isn’t on a continuum of normal, because there’s NOTHING normal about having a barren absence of empathy. It’s like having a continuum of colors, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet, and on that continuum the narcissist is North. It doesn’t even make any sense to put him anywhere on a continuum where he has no relationship to the thing being measured and compared.

Jeff was exhibiting an irritating tendency one sometimes sees in the helping professions, and that’s to cut the narcissist a break. To “find health” or “seek out strengths”. To give hope where there is none, and where hope only makes the hurt drag out longer and the devaluation go on and on. This isn’t cool. There are mental health professionals, helpers, coaches who are worth their weight in gold, who know that some people are abusive and broken beyond repair, and know that it’s OK for everyone else to stay away from them. And there are others who really need to shove their concepts about narcissists down in the storm sewer along with Jeff.


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The Aftermath — From the Narcissist’s Point of View

Only one heart gets broken
We’ve talked about this before, but it’s a huge component of the trouble with getting over these assclowns after a break-up — and that’s how easily he seems to move on. How light his step is after you break up, how easy it is for him to pretend that now, now that you’re not in his life, he is happier than ever and feels energy and radiance in every day. This is all while you feel like you’ve been hit by a logging truck and can barely form coherent sentences, so thorough and intense is your grief and pain. And it feels to you exactly how he wants it to feel to you — like he’s indispensable, unique, fun, healthy, awesome, and Mr. Right, and you’re doomed to a pit of misery, despair and depression without him.

OK, please join Aunt Alex as we take a closer look at this. Two people are together. Let’s call them Jennifer, and Assclown Narcissistic Douchebag Yakface (OK, we can call him “Andy” for short). Jennifer is a vibrant, emotionally generous woman. Andy is a narcissist who has no empathy, no ability to bond, and no burden of thinking of anyone but himself. Jennifer and Andy are going out.

Jennifer bonds. Andy only pretends to. Jennifer becomes emotionally involved. Andy only pretends to. Jennifer loves. Andy, ugh — he’d rather suck on moose mucous flavored fun pops.

Andy, because he’s an A. N. D. Y., breaks it off when he starts to feel he and Jennifer are too close, or she points out he’s not perfect, or he just feels vaguely bored one day and figures it must be the woman’s fault. Jennifer, not understanding what the heck happened, is devastated. Andy is not, because he was never truly invested in the relationship. So he carries on like things are fine.

There’s also something else happening here, and that’s Andy’s desperate need to pretend. Andy isn’t fine after the break-up. Not because he loved Jennifer and she was important to him, but because he’s a disordered trainwreck on the inside, and he’s constantly unsure how things look, what’s happening, whether he’ll get enough attention and adoration that day, and whether anyone at any time will ever actually make him decide anything or expect him to know how to pretend to feel. He’s anxious that he might not get enough worship. That’s a lot for one pathetic idiot to take on each and every day. But he’s going to pretend he’s doing fabulously, because: a) he needs to find a Jennifer replacement FAST and to do that he needs to look good, and b) it would never occur to him NOT to pretend that everything is terrific. Pretending is his life. Pretending is who he is.

My point here is this: Jennifer’s response to the break-up is real. It’s deep, and affects her, and it’s complex and emotionally strong. Andy’s reaction is just another narcissistic song and dance. 100% fake, totally meaningless, and utterly devoid of value. It doesn’t mean anything because it’s not tied to actual feelings, empathy and events. It’s only reflective of his need to bust his narcissist moves. It’s only about his desperation and his shallowness. It’s only about him, right this second, and what he wants, where he is, and what he’s doing right this second. What he can get out of someone this second, and who might be nearby from whom he can get it.

He eventually gets in touch with Jennifer again, because he wants some attention and adoration and remembers she gave it before. Now that they’ve been apart for a while, she’s not “regular” anymore — and “regular” is a very, very noxious concept to the garden-variety narcissist. He also wants to see that she’s been having a hard time without him; this makes him feel special. So, he looks her up, and he pours on the charm to try to get another fix of love from her. And if she’s been listening to Aunt Alex, she’ll do us the sweet, sweet favor of taking him back in without a hitch. Please, Jennifer. Get him away from us. Take one for the team.

OW! Hey, watch it with the rolled-up newspaper! Man, social workers can have surprising upper body strength……..


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