Christine’s Chat Corner
A place where real questions get answered.
Christine Louis de Canonville is a psychotherapist who worked for many years with victims of narcissistic abuse. The questions discussed in her “Chat Corner” are real questions, they have come from the many victims that write to her on her blog daily.
Q. “I cannot believe that the narcissistic woman I fell in love with deliberately set out to manipulate me from the very beginning. Is it true?
A. We are all guilty at some time or other of manipulation, but when we are talking about a narcissist, we are talking about someone who lives their life through the manipulation of others every single day. Victims constantly ask if the narcissist knows what they are doing? The answer is “yes”, they are consciously aware that they are manipulating, they may even take pride in doing it. So, don’t be fooled that they do not know what they are doing, they know it very well. Their manipulation is deliberate, and they use a wide array of techniques in the process. The question is “Why do they do it?”
Why do narcissists do it?
The answer is quite simple really. All narcissists use an array of manipulative techniques to feed their addiction to attention. They are addicted to all forms of narcissistic supply for getting as much attention, adoration and power that they can.
Furthermore, narcissistic supply it is not only confined to their most intimate relationships (although these relationships are the best, most reliable, and provide regular daily source of supply for the narcissist), however, they see everybody as fair game.
They are especially attracted to sensitive, empathic, kind individuals, who they systematically diminish over time by violating all boundaries. Because narcissists are opportunists, they will use manipulation wherever they feel they have something to gain, and what is more, they feel entitled to do so. They use a range of both subtle and extreme manipulative techniques to groom their victims, which includes a combination of both charm and rage to gain and keep control.
If their manipulation results in collateral damage for others, too bad, that is merely incidental. Should a victim call them out on their behaviour and inadvertently shame them, then they will use vicious and slanderous behaviours (i.e. smear campaign, false accusations, scapegoating, shaming, etc.). Unlike the rest of us, they are not hindered by conscience or remorse.
The narcissists total focus is always on getting the personal attention they need. Their whole existence depends on having enough narcissistic supply to guarantee their getting a sufficient fill of attention and adoration.
The attention the narcissist reaps does not even need to be positive, negative attention equally gives them the oxygen they crave from each encounter. The manipulation starts from the moment they pick you as a target, and nobody is safe; not their romantic partners, children, parents, siblings, friends, work colleagues, bosses, or even strangers. Remember, narcissists are skilful manipulators, they know how to handle, control, and use people to their own ends. Unfortunately, most people never work out that they have been manipulated until it is far too late to do anything about it.
The narcissist’s Machiavellian tactics of manipulation are numerous. For example, here is a sample: –
- Idealisation: They lavish you with praise for grooming you, especially at the beginning of the relationship.
- Devaluing: They say or do things to purposefully make you feel worthless.
- Denial: When confronted about their behaviour they generally deny it, then combine it with some of the following behaviours below.
- Gaslighting: They use this form of psychological abuse to make you doubt your perception of reality.
- Play the Victim: They deliberately play the victim when they need favour, playing on your sympathy.
- Triangulation: They bring other people into the relationship to upset you, make you jealous, and then control you.
- Guilt-bating: They will guilt you to make you feel at fault and vulnerable, then coerce you into ceding unreasonable demands.
- Aggression: They often use aggression and intimidation to control you by fear, and to make you do what they want.
- Love-bombing: They use heavy seduction during the beginning of the relationship (Idealisation Stage) to hook and suck you in.
- Smear Campaigns: To convince others that you are unstable, and “the problem”.
- Silence: To bully and unnerve you by placing doubt and uncertainty in your mind.
- Verbal trickery: To confuse, belittle and degrade you.
- Targeting: They systematically target your flaws and insecurities to throw you off balance.
- Pathological lying: Lying serves to give the narcissist an advantage over you, and they lie by vagueness, omission and commission.
- Projection: Shifting their negative thoughts and actions onto you.
- Intimidation: To keep you afraid and on edge.
- Singling out the victim: Weakening your confidence and self-belief, to make you vulnerable.
- Moving the goal-posts: To confuse and humiliate you, often the cause of apathy, and depression.
- Use subtle flattery: To gain access into your life.
- Mirroring: They mirror back to you your beliefs and values, pretending that they are just like you (your soul-mate).
- Judge and Criticise: Implying that there is always something wrong with you, making you feel inadequate.
- Utilise the Law of Reciprocity: They are nice to you to obligate you to do a favour for them.
- Pity: By getting you to pity them, they can get you to switch away from their negative behaviours.
- Managing down of expectations: You get so little that you come to expect little or nothing, and they get more and more.
- Hope: They intermittently give you glimpses of the heavenly Dr Jekyll to lower your defenses and give you refuge from Mr/s. Hyde.
As you can see, the manipulation is often complex, and interwoven for maximum effect, a perfect illusion. Such manipulations deliberately create an imbalance of power between the narcissist and the victim, exploiting the victim to serve the narcissist’s agenda.
- Narcissistic Female Intimate Partner Violence Against Men Is No Joke - February 28, 2023
- Narcissists and Positions of Power and Influence - February 6, 2023
- Why Is It So Blooming Hard Leaving a Narcissist? - December 9, 2022
After reading multiple articles on your website, and other websites; I believe I am in a relationship with a narcissist. He is an addict (though he has been sober for 10 years) and was also diagnosed as bipolar (un-medicated).
I had joined a support group on social media to try and rebuild our relationship into a “healthy one”. I posted about a situation between my husband and I and multiple people in the group told me to “run away as fast as I could”. Anther suggested I look up Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome (Or Narcissistic Victim Syndrome). I googled it and a youtube video came up, by the end of the video I had tears rolling down my face. It was like the narrator was a fly on the wall during some of my conversations with my husband. I took a deep breath and said to myself “I am glad I am not going crazy and I will be able to rebuild myself”.
Right now, though, I am torn between filing for divorce immediately or sitting him down and trying to explain to him what he is doing and help him get help.
For the past 6 years I have been strapped with full financial responsibility and stability while he spends every penny he “earned” and every extra penny I earned (yes even my retirement savings). I have also been verbally and emotionally abused privately and publicly.
In April 2018 I took a contract about 5hrs from home (to support us while he starts a farm business with no startup capitol). Every third week, I make the 5hr trip home to work remote and spend the week with my husband and fur babies. It was always a stress filled week, with fighting and the constant put-downs and blame that I am the cause of him failing to succeed. I had the hardest time getting any work done due to constant adrenal exhaustion and cognitive dissonance.
At the end of April 2019, I stopped going home. He told me things are better when I am not there, and I can get more done at the office so that was that. After about two weeks, we stopped talking on the phone because he didn’t like the tone of my voice when I answered it. We communicate solely through text messages now and only about the farm and him asking for money. Even through text messages he stills finds ways to lash out and hurt me.
He tells me he is seeing a counselor every so often, but I have also met with this same counselor. In two sessions with him all we talked about breathing exercises and techniques to stay calm while certain situations. I honestly would be happy to walk away tomorrow and never talk to him again, but a part of me feels such sorrow and sadness for those feelings. My husband cannot get a bank account due to poor choices and right now has no income. I pay for 100% of his expenses. I know it is probably the shame creeping up inside me, but I just don’t know what to do… Should I confront him or leave him?
Any advice on how to deal with the alcoholic narcissist? The verbal abuse is exponential.
Beth, I was saddened by your story but heartened by your great attitude and survival mentality. You are going to get through this with God’s help. Praying for peace and joy and hope for you ? Feel free to PM if you ever want someone to talk to. I’m learning how to not send out signals that tend to attract narcissistic people into my life. I’m still learning but I’m growing day by day. Maybe we could give each other tips or.morwl support. Just know you are not alone ok? Blessings, Kristen
Thank you for this information it’s been most helpful,I’ve been married to this type of woman for almost 30 years and it’s almost destroyed me. I always knew something was terrible with our family dynamics. The abuse and control was gradual at first and I thought it would go away if I provided more wealth and status but how wrong I was,I’ve been bleed dry by her.ive been having counseling for 3 years and it’s made it worse because sometimes she came to sessions but it only gave her more information about me and the manipulation went to another level.this website has been helpful in understanding the Narcissist sickness and I don’t feel like I’m going crazy anymore and it’s giving me more strength and courage to get out of this bad situation
I have been subjected to every one of these tactics for 6 years. It’s so clear to me now after 6 years and doing the research from the very beginning. It wasn’t until after I was married that I realized the true state of her personality. I once put together a list of put-downs, devaluations and threats she used against me. What I could remember was it was over 400 statements and took 4 pages.
I do see light, however weakly, as she is now voicing to me some of the things she has done and said and she sees it’s not right behavior. They say the N will never change and that may be true, but I’m changing inside and my awareness of what she does will allow me to not go crazy. I know it’s her and not me and I’m working on ways to keep my sanity until such time as she has had enough of my normal behavior and either can’t stand it or she decides to really work on herself, deeply.
Mary..short of being a therapist I feel like you wrote my story. My question to you is ” how did you justify to your spouse your readon for leaving”? My spouse is 72 and has no one here in Canada to lean on. I feel ‘responsible’ for him. Sounds crazy eh? And, I think he uses that too because it’s always been his choice to exclude his friends and even his children from his life. I know I should be thinking of my sanity but I feel so guilty. Bless you for sharing your story.
I spent almost 60 years under the influence of trauma bonding to my narcissist mother. She died when I was 57 and it took me 5 years to process all of the hell that I had gone through for her and with her, along with mourning the death of the broken pathetic mother whom I loved. And, additionally going through the hell of a 3 year probate of the estate with her flying monkeys. I had anticipated the thievery from the time that my mother had told me that my step-sister was the PR for the estate. It was like the final screwing that she gave me from the grave.
I have consciously struggled with this difficult and painful relationship for the last 40 years of her life. I kept trying to make the relationship work for me, without the skills, knowledge, and support to make sense of the insanity of it all. It is only through her death that I have been able to escape her use and abuse of me. Though, even now, I am still working to make myself whole so that I can live a happy life. I am working intensely, on a daily basis to discover and become the person who I am meant to be.
Trauma bonding is a real crippler and made a shell of me (and my brother). I am just happy to be an escapee to whatever degree I am. At least, I know what made me be how I am, which helps me to be free to seek help. The others who were victims of my narc mom and my narc aunt (her sister) are not so lucky as me and remain in their pain, suffering, and self medication behaviors.
*All of the information is good to know, and I am thankful that it is available, but I know that I will never find healing without God’s help.
Thank you for the book you sent me Christine, it is proving a fascinating and enlightening read. I have read so many articles just as your other readers have clearly done but you put all in a nutshell.
As all of us, we had no idea about narcissism originally. I had, what turns out to be a very narcissistic mother, of course I had no idea what that was as a small girl, or in later life. I just thought our thinking and doing was poles apart and I had no understanding of her in any way. She was so loud, never had sympathy for anyone, had an incredible sense of entitlement with a world she felt had to revolve round her and everything she wanted or wanted to do at ALL TIMES. I have almost no memories of happy times with her as I grew up and would NEVER want to go back to any time in my life so far.
I met my husband just before my 16th Birthday, we were together for 40 years, had two lovely children. He was/is a very handsome, charismatic, charming man. I loved him with all my heart and never looked at another man in all those years. He had so many affairs, we have no idea, they started almost as soon as we met, I just thought he was a big flirt, although I did find it hugely hurtful. He would always tell me I was imagining things, therefore I just became conditioned over the years that I was over reacting and this was normal life. He would even discuss his affairs with me sometimes asking my opinion about what he should do!! He ran up huge debts constantly, we had the bailiffs in three times during our marriage. He has a very well paid high profile job. I was also successful in my long career. I moved my work to a place at home so that I could prioritise bringing up the children (which I always felt I did alone) he had little interest in anything to do with them, unless he was on show as the lucky father of talented children. I suffered hugely throughout our long marriage but could telll no one of the constant abuse of affairs, lack of empathy, enormous debts and yet he continued to act like Mr Largess, especially when in company. This used to worry me so much as although he was showing friends that he was so wealthy and generous, I knew the truth and the truth would be that the bank were paying and I would have to find a way of paying off the bank!! No one would have believed me even if I tried to tell them. We lived in a large house, with beautiful grounds, tennis court, animals etc, children at fee paying schools, it all looked so perfect from the outside. Occasionally I did say I wanted a divorce but he would laugh in my face and basically say TRY IT…..I will take you for everything including the children. He is a lawyer so that basically says it all. I knew the only way to get out eventually (I had latterly become very ill with ME and knew I would just die if I didn’t get away) was to say I needed a time on my own. He agreed to that and think he was very excited about the prospect of living by himself in a smart part of London. Now alone I could start the process of divorce. The kids were both grown up, one married so I felt I could now DO IT. It was a very tough two years both for me and my children. I was of course the one they blamed mainly although they did both support me in my decision. My husband manipulated my daughter to some degree often, she would not realise it but my solicitors were flabbergasted by his attempts. I guess I was just used to it.
My son, stayed away from all the family for a good year, he was the sensible one. We are all very close again now which is wonderful. Both my children also say they had the happiest childhood anyone could have had….phew, for me this feels it was all worth it. The lie of a life. Having said that we did indeed have some very happy times.
My divorce came through eventually last June. I had fallen madly in love with an old friend and had moved in with him, where I was for a year. ANOTHER narcissist can you believe. By now I was understanding and reading about the condition. I had no idea he was the same initially. He was so loving and caring. The caring turned to complete control, the love to highest levels of jealousy. Moments of fury and anger from him when he stated things that I could not believe I was hearing. I started panicking a bit as I knew this was all wrong but I did not want to hurt him in leaving him. Thankfully he suddenly, out of the blue suggested I leave, find a place of my own. I didn’t hesitate. Unfortunately or fortunately I have no money to get myself a home yet. I say fortunately, because I moved in with my lovely old Pa. I realised I was just so so fragile that I would have just become a complete mess if I had not got his support daily. I really don’t think I would have survived on my own. My energy levels are still pretty low, I could never hold down any sort of job at the moment. I can and do just ‘get Through’ the days doing normal every day stuff. I help my daughter out a bit for her work, see my friends, luckily I have the BEST most supportive adorable friends whom I have know well for over 30 years. I am seeing a phsycotherapist weekly now which is wonderful. My mother’s comment was “what a waste of money, you must have more money than sense” she is older and easier now but can still dish out the hurtful stings. I feel lucky, am mainly very positive, have loads to look forward to but life is a challenge and change in our thinking process also a must but also a challenge. I WILL BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR RED FLAGS from now on.
Thank you Christine and everyone else on the site. X
Christine, thank you again.
My internal struggle is with the thought of being a victim. I feel more like I am a host.
To be victimized creates a vision in me of being powerless. Maybe I am powerless at times against these persons but I am also aware of making a conscious choice over the decades to continue to “supply” because I am an INTJ and “I can fix it”.
You started one paragraph with the statement regarding the narc; “They are especially attracted to sensitive, empathetic, kind individuals, who they systematically diminish over time by violating all boundaries” …. YES YES YES this is who I feel I am and by being such I have walked into fire for the narc-of-the-moment all my life.
My father/husband/daughter have damaged me in various ways with their degrees of life sucking. My father was a simple elementary narc as all he required was for me to do exactly as told and make him look like a great father and I did – yet on the day I heard he dropped dead on his kitchen floor I cried hysterically knowing that I would now never be able to be his special supply again. Now that’s whacked! My husband is also a simple narc. He requires only that I have no focus in my life except for his needs so I work each day to give him what he wants. After 50 years I still, daily spend my day filling his tank. I have little love or respect for him but I have adjusted my view of him to see my work as paying for my share of this house, car, groceries, etc. It’s my payment for letting him into my life when I was 16 and needy and he was 19 and hungry for supply.
Then here I am with my 45 year old daughter. A classic narc. Lord how I have been taken to my knees with her. I don’t know how young a person is when they take on the mantle of Narcissism but she was pretty young. I always believed she was broken in some way. I recently concluded she has BPD but even with that there were so many times when BPD did not quite fit all of her.
Of course I have read many articles from the mother blaming experts who say I broke my daughter due to my own selfish/neglectful behavior and that I created her abandonment issues – but those writers are clueless. They have no business telling someone like me that I created this monster. Deep inside me I knew they were wrong because I have always been able to pop to the surface and grab a big breath of clarity and see just for a moment who and what my daughter is but I would always sink again into the mire because I am, if nothing else, a FIXER and I was determined to save my daughter from herself.
Then I found a video on YouTube about the 3 Faces of Narcissism and there it was. TRUTH AT LAST. I thanked God when I saw that video and I thank you Christine again for making it. Sharing your findings has given me the pieces of the puzzle that were missing. I am still injured in many places but I am healing.
God bless you and your work. Sincerely, Tylee
Now I know I am not nuts. I always thought I was the problem. I can scarcely believe this nightmare of 30 years is over. Before that I grew up with alcoholism. My 4 beautiful children were systematically turned against me.
I had pieces of the jigsaw but nothing would fit. Now I have all the pieces and they all fit. I am getting ready to do battle to liberate my children but they all still see me as the bad guy.
I am 60 now. I start counselling tomorrow. I would love to see a support group set up. I think they have them in US. I would be willing to help set up a group.
You are so right about narcissist manipulation it took me 20 years to figure out that is wasn’t me the guilty party caught in an love affair: I am still impacted by this person and by searching out why I was addicted to this woman I found that I have Self Love personalituy Disorder. I am now figuring out the formula and why this relationship lasted so long. The love affair was 1/2 + 1/2 = 1 (Disfunctional Relationship). You views on NPD is helpful to the co-dependent to see the manipulation and hopefully breaking the cycle of trying to fix a person who has no empathy.. I know that 1 + 1 = (healthy relationship) . Thank you for sharing your knowledge on NPD.
I just wanted my mom to care about me and my feelings. Now at 33 I have just learned she is a narcissist and that all these feelings come from emotional abuse?! What hurts the most is that I will NEVER have the mom I have so desperately wanted.
Hi Sylvia, Yes, you are absolutely right. Narcissism is a natural part of each person’s humanity. You see, we need a certain amount of narcissism in order to be healthy. Afterall, if we don’t look out for ourselves during our lives, who will? Too little narcissism leaves a person overly shy and to have difficulties in socialising in the normal way. It is also true that when we are deeply distressed our narcissism is likely to spike, for example, if we experience a death of a loved one. But when we are healthy, and with a little time, this “spike” will reduce down and we shall settle back to normal healthy levels once again. In pathological narcissism, it does not level out, it is constant everyday behaviour. Generally, narcissists do not recover from pathological narcissism, mostly because they would not be willing to go through the hard work that is required in therapy to bring about the necessary changes. As soon as the therapist challenges them (as part of the normal therapy process), they are likely to feel shame. They will then want to punish the therapist and take revenge. It is highly likely they will then blame the therapist, insult them, sack them and leave therapy. They will then most likely do a character assassination to discredit the therapist. That is why it takes a “team” to work with narcissists, they can’t sack everyone that easy. Christine
I am 67 years old, have been married for 35 years, and am a psychotherapist myself!! I have had a private practice for 38 years. You think I would have learned!! I have been in therapy several times, and I am a true empath (as learned long ago by me, my therapists, the nature of my work and skill, and the HUGE AMOUNTS of reading I have done).
Let me tell you, it is SO HARD to actually accept the fact of all the dynamics of the narcissistic person and relationship, and, to some extent, the “ownership” of the reality of the relationship. It is never any surprise who the narcissist ends up with; it’s inevitable. I guess, that what I mean by my part in the relationship. I DIDN’T WANT TO SEE OR BELIEVE what was really going on; believe me, it is crushing when, after SO LONG and 5 now-grown children later, a woman, wife, therapist, etc. comes to the realization of who her partner really is. What is so hard about coming to this realization is the fact that 35 years ago I still fell to the very tactics that I now see clearly. It is painful and sad to be the “victim” of the narcissist even when you’re aware of what that person is really doing. The very hardest part is their use of others to “slander” you. NO ONE could ever understand what you’ve experienced or KNOW FOR A FACT, because the narcissist is so nice and kind (as a manipulation tactic, amongst other reasons). They couldn’t possibly be different with you, but they are and you know it. It does no good to try to tell others. Even your own children, who grew up SEEING differently and knowing differently, want so much to be loved by the narcissist, who is their father, that they feel the demise of the relationship is due to the “victim” of the abuse.
We are now separating —- I don’t care about a divorce nor does he, or so he says. I can no longer deal with the abuse I’VE ALLOWED throughout all these years. I truly was naive and trusting and didn’t realize some one who wants to marry you, could be anything but sincere and “in love” with that person. My mistake!! I saw things through my eyes.
Thanks so much for your book and your knowledge of this subject. I have read more research and books about narcissism than imaginable, but yours is the best! I would love to see a therapist, but, believe me, it is very hard to find someone who REALLY KNOWS AND UNDERSTANDS narcissism. It can be so subtle if you don’t live it.
Keep up the good work. Thanks,
Hi Judy, I’m writing after reading your comment on Christine Louis DeCanonville’s site. In particular your comment that you “are an Empath and a Narc”; and that you “have to fight the Narcissusm in yourself now”. May I suggest you look at some of Ross Rosenberg’s YouTube videos on NPD. In some of them he explains that if a person was to ask themselves or a Therapist if they are themselves a Narcissist, then you can be assured you are NOT one. The reason being that a Narcissist would never ask him/herself this question. Don’t be hard on yourself. I too had Narcissistic parents and know how it feels. I am thankful I can across Ross Rosenberg (and Christine)’s work on NPD etc.
What struck me the most apart from this being the most comprehensive list I have ever seen is the comment about the subtle way some narcissists operate. I still question my belief that my ex was narcissistic, apart from two episodes of rage and periods of silent treatment and disappearing for weeks on end (always with a plausible reason) the rest of the abuse went unnoticed by me until my therapists commented on it. He’s back on the scene, trying to gain my sympathy as his new source is trying to “help” him as she is a second rate therapist/lifestyle coach. She’s still pushing but she hasn’t figured out how hopeless her task is, good luck to her, my life is much better now since he left.
Baiting or instigating. They’re very skilled at this.,
I received the link to this book in my email yesterday. Ironically, I am writing this 9 days awhat The physical aggression phase, now in the silence stage. Three and 1/2 years of everything on the list above. I hate the word victim. Nor do I want pity. Got out but foolishly allowed him back in. The embarrassment and humiliation has me frozen. I was warned by family, friends, therapists but my ideals of looking for the best in a person, especially one you love that they could change kept me in this vicious cycle. The terrible thing is, I’m suffer from a physical disability and cannot afford to live alone. What savings I had, was spent on us. I have nothing and no where to go but a shelter and he knows this. Doing so would upset my family. Oí have struggled with going to the police this past week after his physical assault on me when he lost control for he could not control me. I was calm and self assured as he was cursing me out and calling me names. All he’s done to me is too long to go into, and as others have said, difficult to prove in court. He’s charming, educated and well known. My therapist had told me he is dangerous and a gaslighter (a term I had never heard of), so before allowing him back in my life, I had done my homework and hesitated, but he charmed me once again. Now I suffer worse than ever but have my sanity. And physical proof. Most women would have called the police immediately. One of my daughters is a police officer…but I feel like I can’t. I question myself and embarrassed to say I still hold onto hope that maybe he loves me, maybe he will change. Maybe he will apologize (though he has NEVER said he was sorry). I don’t know what to do??
Had I had a list like theis one, had his ex wife’s friend not given me vague warnings when I met him, I wouldn’t be writing this letter. Instead he knew all the right bottoms and I was left feeling I was crazy, all my fault and lucky to have him. I I am physically and financially spend. Thanks for listening
One of the most difficult ways of manipulation to pinpoint and get validation for that I have experienced is the way they start a subject and wait for the others to fill ithe gaps so that they can’t be held responsible for what happens or anything that is said because “they did not say it” or ” they did not ask anything”. I don’t know if there is a real name for that type of behavior, but it might help if there was. It’s so disgusting.
Both of my parents are malignant narcs. There is enormous damage in me. It’s so helpful to have a community that gets it. So many therapists are CLUELESS. I have to fight the narcissism in myself now also. I am an empath and a narc – thanks to my upbringing. Lord help me.
Dr. Louis de Canonville, is there a level of narcissisism in every man? I am discovering the signs of narcissism but what are some stories of men/women who are recovering from narcissism. What are their agendas?
Before I knew my husband was a malignant narcissist, I had finally gotten to the discard stage and it is everything the literature describes. I was trying to figure out what happened and I found something on the Internet ’10 ways you can tell someone’s trying to manipulate you’ and printed it out. I highlighted all the things that pertain to me regarding my husband’s behavior toward me and left it on my desk at work. My soon to be ex went into my office found it and had a complete meltdown and went so far as to call the police. Clearly he understood what he was doing and freaked when he realized I was onto him. Soon there after I realized that he suffered from the severe form of NPD. The divorce was a nightmare.
Hi, thank you so much for your expertise. My daughter has been trying to divorce her Narc for almost 5 years. He’s so good that he has delayed the process for 5 years. The judge is very bias and only believes him. He has tried having her arrested at least a dozen times and most recently got my grandsons to say they found a bag of drugs in my home where my daughter and 3 sons have lived since the narc left them homeless, penniless and desperate, this got them turned over to his custody with an emergency op. My daughter went to court with a letter from her counselor, drug tests showing there was no truth to these accusations and all the police records. It made no difference to the Judge, she wouldn’t even leave her chambers just sent the bailiff to say no and it wasn’t an emergency. We cannot seem to find anyone that is knowledgeable in Complex Post traumatic Syndrome. Please if you have any suggestions we are desperate to get counseling for her ( which she does do 3 times a week but its not for ptsd victims) either everywhere we call they say they are not taking new clients or they don’t except her state ins from Blue cross/clue shield of Illinois. We are in Cook county which is very corrupt. We know he has been following or getting counsel from Fathers rights groups that are really just telling men how to get around the court systems, set up their ex, prolong proceedings. My husband and I have spent $40k of our retirement and more to house, feed, & educate the 3 boys. We are just tapped out now and could really use some guidance as how to proceed.
Great definitions of the multiple manipulations tactics used by narcissists!
The biggest issue I have encountered in validating my experience has been around the stereotypes of what constitutes narcissistic manipulation.
Most people seem to think narcissists display very “obvious” manipulation tactics when in fact their tactics can frequently be subtle and open to interpretation when viewed in isolation.
It is not a single behaviour, but rather a pattern of manipulative behaviours over time in a very consistent manner… and it is part of a cluster of other controlling behaviours.
Much invalidation occurs when discussing the manipulation one experiences with a narcissist as few people are able to comprehend and believe that this is “real”, not imagined.
This is hard for people to imagine as they do not spend as much time, or in the same way, with the narcissist as we do and the narcissist is unlikely to use the same manipulations with others.
The narcissist does not even need to recruit others for their smear campaigns. All one has to do to experience the smear campaign is discuss concerns about the narcissist with people who would prefer to wear rose tinted glasses than face the truth that someone they know is indeed a narcissist.
Perhaps subtle examples in the above definitions would help?
For instance, one of the most disturbing aspects of my relationship with a narcissist was the use of silence to control me. When one is confused and dizzy from all the manipulations, one is not likely to know when or how much silence constitutes manipulation. My experience with silence, which was entirely different from my experience with non narcissists, is literally “walking away” or “disappearing” from any and all conversations in which the narcissist would be exposed to feedback or required to apologize for a poor choice of behaviour. That silence/walking away/disappearing could last as little as a couple of hours and as long as weeks at a time, but the clear pattern was that the subject could never be brought up again in a calm and rational manner. If brought up again, it was subject to the same treatment or to the use of another manipulative tactic such as a veiled threat or an ultimatum to ensure I would not bring up the subject again lest I wished to be punished some more.
I was surprised the first time it happened, then I was surprised again when it happened next, and eventually I went online to research this pattern of behaviours using the following key words “unable to handle feedback, silent treatment, thin skinned, ultimatum, threats”. This led me thankfully to a number of articles and support groups about narcissistic abuse and eventually to your web site where I found the most validation for my experience.
Thank you again Christine for the important work that you do and the resources you are providing to people like me who feel like they are going insane and need support and validation.
I have shared your resources to my counsellors and received great support from them. I am now out of that relationship and have been for almost 6 months. I am working on no contact and feeling like my old self again.
It is amazing how quickly the veil can be lifted once you are removed from the situation entirely and stay away from anyone who invalidates your experience!
Christine I will be eternally grateful for the wisdom u gained by reading ur book and attending ur workshops. How having to have assisted both minors n adults who have been wounded by having both parents or a partner engage in such behaviour I was able to recognise it for what it was n I have directed clients both young n old to undertake their own research as part of their healing. A young woman recently said to me upon looking up YouTube clips …’ gosh that was my granny n my dad!! For the first time in my life my experience make sense’ so thank u Christine for ufcwissom! Susan CC
What a great explanation.. Bravo!! This explains exactly the kind of man I was with.. I had your book and I loaned it to my ex man and asked him to read it and return it but of course who knows if he read it and he never returned it.. it was a gift from you to me last year.. this man is unbelievable.. several times he wanted back in my life but lied all the time.. he had had doings with someone else and different people all thru our 7 years together and lied all the time when red flags were flying by my head? 65 years old and never ceases to amaze me with his crap!! I’ve gotten so much stronger reading your book and learning about this. I always felt these things in my head and heart but didn’t know what was causing them and why!! Thank you so much for your inspiration in my life to reset my knowledge.. problem is .. I’ll always be scared to give my time or love to anyone else in fear of getting myself involved with such a person again? It caused me much pain, fear and insecurity that I feel I’ll always be vulnerable to this horrible beast!!
If you have anymore books out or your other one, I’d love to purchase them.. 304 Walnut St, Pacific Grove Ca 93950. Terri Chaplan . Thank you so much
spot christine after 20 years of Abuse Malicious falsehood Harassment lm finally taking my Ex to court,l Divorced her 17 years ago yet she still causes me grief.Solicitors/Barristers agree she has been vindictive to the Extreme.my Health suffered & now my own Daughter is suffering after Living with this maniac for the same period.justice for me&my Daughter.the Police have said its a civil matter they dont really understand what lm talking about neither do alot of solicitors.
What astounds me the most is that they can totally deny in the face of overwhelming evidence and proof, and witnesses, feedback, etc.any wrongdoing on their part. They have a few glimmers of truth at times but these are quickly extinguished and they are back to their original position of-“I am innocent and a victim of unfair treatment and I just have to accept it”. How can they lie to themselves?
Sadly this is my life .
He finally left us with nothing and now is taking me to trial to take my boys from me claiming I alienated them from him.more lies.
The boys are 13 and 15.
They don’t want anything to do with him because they know him. Better than I do even . But no one believes us because he charms everyone.
Thank goodness the police believe but they can’t prove it either.
I’ve been looking for an expert on this to help in court but people don’t understand this enough to to be able to help let alone for me to be able to afford them even if they could.
Sigh….it’s in the Lords hands.
This was exactly what I have been a victim of, although my abuser was a male. I really need to save my money and buy the book because maybe it will help me with my recovery as too many therapists are not versed in what gaslighting is and how severe it can damage one’s psyche.
So so true. Its a horrible thing to be in the grip of a narcissist.
How to heal after all this damage? Sometimes we have some points of contact with a narcissist even though we have escaped their grip. For example, when you have children together. So there’s two concerns. First to heal from all the scars and wounds which are often very deep and second, when you have to have occasional encounters due to family and they will always try to trigger a response from you.