We do not seek treatment. The answer to why that is the case is a simple one. There is nothing wrong with us. Occasionally we may be compelled to undergo treatment but that is a different matter. We feel no compulsion at all to volunteer to be subjected to analysis and therapy because there is nothing wrong with us. Yes, we know that our treatment of other people is often unpleasant and has significant downsides to those who are subjected to it but that still does not amount to a good reason why we should seek some form of assistance. The way we behave is the way we behave. Deal with it. We cannot help but act this way because it is the way we have been designed. We must obtain our precious fuel and if that means we lash out and wound others, emotionally and physically then that it is the price that has to be paid. By you.
You must also remember that since we have no concept of empathy, when we see our behaviour injure others it does not affect us. We do not feel guilt, we do not feel shame at what we have done and we do not feel the need to put right the injurious harm we mete out to others. This is our modus operandi and it can never be changed. Add to that our lack of remorse and you have two huge reasons why we will not act to seek treatment to change our ways.
Naturally, there will be times where we will talk about seeking treatment.
“I need help, I know that now. You are the only one who can do it.”
“If I seek assistance for this terrible affliction, will you stay and help me?”
“I don’t know why I do it, perhaps I need help. Will you help me?”
“I need you. Don’t go. You have to save me from myself.”
“I will change, I will go and see somebody, just don’t leave me, please.”
These are all empty promises. Remember, words comes easy to us. We will dangle these carrots of penance and insight in order to get you to do what we want. Once that has been secured and you try to cash the cheque that we have written you will find the bank has not only been closed but razed to the ground. It is not a question of there being nothing to cash it against, there is nowhere to cash it.
Treatment is for the weak and foolish. To submit to it is an admission of weakness. In the rare instances that we will, it is only to enable us to get something else that we want or to prevent something drastic happening to us and thus we regard the pay-off as one worth making. We do this safe in the knowledge that any treatment will not be effective because:-
We use our manipulative wiles to con the person treating us into concluding that there is nothing wrong with us;
We spend the time trying to charm the therapist and this may work or if they are alive to our manipulation they are forced to terminate the work;
We do not want to change and see the therapist’s actions as a direct challenge which we must thwart. Our energy is channelled into frustrating and defeating him or her and not applying ourselves to the treatment.
We treat the treatment as a form of fuel.
This results in it being futile.
The reality is that those who engage with us are the ones that end up seeking treatment. It is most often the case that our bewildering and confusing conduct towards you has you at your wit’s end. You seek answers and if you are fortunate, you turn to a professional who is fully conversant with out kind. They are able to illuminate you to what you have endured, assist your understanding and then hold your hand as they take you through the painful and difficult extrication from our grip. You are blessed with insight from this treatment.
In certain instances, the abuse we dole out is such that it seriously damages the recipient and therefore treatment is needed to deal with the symptoms of our behaviour towards you. The ramifications for you are serious and have long lasting effects.
We do not seek the treatment. You do. In doing so this is often the first time you actually realise what you have encountered and what you have been subjected to.
The narcissistic dynamic and the effects of our kind are all-pervasive. Nobody is untouched by us in their lives. Whether it is the stranger we smile at in the lift and receive a smile in return, thus gaining a dollop of fuel, the doggedly loyal friend who is in awe of us and does whatever we want or the smitten and confused discarded primary source, we are everywhere. You find us walking down the street, in your workplace, at the bar, in the hospital, in your bed and also in your family.
Much of what is written about our kind appertains to the romantic ensnarement of an unwitting victim who falls madly and deeply in love with us, suffers the cruelty of devaluation and then is tossed aside with no explanation before being hoovered back in and the process begins once more. This is the case because this type of narcissistic dynamic is amongst the most devastating owing to the strength of feeling, the close proximity between narcissist and victim and the period of exposure. The targeting of somebody to be our intimate partner primary source is regarded as the most obvious engagement with our kind and fits the standard model of seduction, devaluation, discard and hoover.
Of course, as I have shown, there is much more than this standard model, with the targeting period, the initial seduction and then the seduction golden period, the stranger zone, the respite periods and so on. Furthermore, there are variances for those who are intimate partner secondary sources or those who find themselves the dirty secret intimate partner secondary source. There is also the situation with inner and outer circle friends who are secondary non-intimate sources who enjoy elongated golden periods and those who a tertiary sources who may experience a short blast of seduction and no golden period or the malice of a malign hoover from the very beginning. Whilst the methodology of our kind has many similarities, there are also many variations dependent on the nature of the source which we are entangled with and this is equally applicable to the family.
Family members are nearly always secondary sources to the narcissist. The majority are non-intimate but in certain instances there are family members who are intimate secondary sources.
Occasionally there may be a situation where a family member is a primary source. These are rarer but certainly not unheard of. Again, these are mainly non-intimate but there are also intimate examples too. If the family member is a primary source, there is a greater likelihood of intimacy than as a secondary source.
The family instance is varied. You may have a narcissistic parent or grandparent, a sibling may be the narcissist, a cousin or your child or children may be narcissists. Blended families may also bring in a step-relative who is a narcissist. The issue of a family member being narcissistic is a wide one, with a variety of permutations and in this article I will be addressing some of the key aspects of the narcissist in a family sense, providing an introductory overview, with later articles focussing on individual areas of this whole dynamic.
There is no seduction when there is a non-intimate relationship between a narcissist and a blood family member. This is because the familial relationship has already created a bond and a sense of obligation which seduction would otherwise create. The narcissist does not need to establish a connection. In all other dynamics with a narcissist, the victim starts out as a remote stranger or a stranger. They may remain in that place and are seduced purely for the provision of a one-off or repeated bursts of fuel. Think the stranger in the lift or somebody who a narcissist flirts with online. This individual may become a secondary source by becoming a friend or a colleague and then be promoted to a primary source thereafter. The promotions may be swift but in order to draw the individual to them to begin with there must be a seduction. This does not happen with the family member
You know the narcissist as your parent or grand-parent and you have an established connection with them from birth;
You know the narcissist as your child and you have an established connection from their birth;
You know the narcissist as a sibling or a cousin and you have an established connection from your birth or theirs, dependent on who is the elder.
This connection creates a sense of obligation.
As a parent you are obliged to look after your child;
As a child you are obliged to be under the control of your parent;
As a sibling or a cousin, you are obliged to be connected to them by reason of blood
Thus the narcissist does not need to seduce the family member to create the bond. The bond has already been established by reason of being a family member. This saves the narcissist considerable work.
The exception to this is where the narcissist wishes to ‘elevate’ the source to an intimate secondary source or an intimate primary source, namely through the commission of incest and invariably it is abusive in nature. For this to happen, the narcissist must engage in seduction to bring about the intimacy. This will involve manipulations to bring about this coercion, isolation from other family members and external influences and the clear use of incentives and more over threats to ensure that the incestuous activity is kept hidden.
The dynamic between a familial narcissist and his or her victim will fall into one of these categories:-
An elongated golden period where the victim is always treated well, akin to an inner circle secondary source. This is where the familial victim is treated as a secondary source. This individual will be accorded golden or favoured status. Thus a sibling will be the favourite, the child will be the golden child, a parent will be favoured over the other, a cousin will be seen as a favourite. The position of being golden or favourite is not an exclusive one. It is entirely permissible for the narcissist to have two cousins who are favoured, two siblings who are favoured or a parent to have two golden children. What there must always be when there is one or more relative who is favoured or golden, there has to be a scapegoat relative as well who is of equivalent ‘rank’. Thus with the golden child or children, there will be one child who is the scapegoat, a narcissistic child may favour his or her biological parents and scapegoat the step-parent and so on. This is necessary because the narcissist needs somebody to compare against to create the favouritism. Remember, we always want to deploy contrasts (think being placed on the pedestal and then thrown to the ground, the provision of great sex which is then removed etc) because contrast is the catalyst for better drama, greater emotional output and thus more potent fuel.
Where the familial victim is installed as a primary source, they will experience the similar pattern to that of a non-familial primary source, namely a golden period to begin with but then devaluation will follow in due course.
An elongated devaluation period which is punctuated by Respite Periods. This is akin to the recognised pattern of behaviour between a narcissist and the primary source. Here the familial victim is subjected to the denigrating manipulations of the narcissist and every so often will experience relief from this state by receiving a Respite Period where a golden period is visited on the victim. The distinction here however is that the familial victim does not experience a golden period to begin with. There is no need for one since there was no need for seduction, this already occurred through the familial bond which exists. This is where the individual is treated as a familial secondary source. The victim is cast as a scapegoat and then favoured. In this scenario there will be vacillation between two sources. Source A is the golden child. Source B is the scapegoat. Source A is then made the scapegoat and Source B becomes the golden child before it changes again.
An elongated devaluation period which does not have any respite periods, but the victim gains some relief from the devaluation because they are a secondary source and therefore the narcissist does not call on them with the same frequency for fuel. During those periods when the narcissist is not drawing fuel, the victim is left alone. There is however no positive behaviour towards the victim (as there is when there is Respite Period). This typically occurs between the adult narcissist and adult familial victim because they do not live together and because the victim is a secondary source, so the narcissist is not making daily demands for negative fuel against the victim. However, whenever there is an interaction between the narcissist and the victim it is always negative in nature, the victim is cast as the perpetual black sheep of the family, always the scapegoat.
A familial primary source is rarely discarded but would be demoted to a secondary source, when the narcissist secures a non-familial primary source instead.
A familial secondary source is rarely discarded. If the familial secondary source engages in behaviour which is regarded as traitorous and treacherous by the narcissist, rather than discard the individual (which is less likely because of the familial bond) they will maintain that individual as a perpetual scapegoat instead.
If a familial primary or secondary source tries to escape the narcissist then there will be hoovers using the familial dynamic (other family members will readily become compliant as Lieutenants) in order to draw the individual back under the narcissists control. Escape is usually much harder for the victim because the existing familial bond is especially burdensome to the victim in terms of guilt, wanting to help and having a sense of obligation towards their relative.
Narcissists utilise familial Lieutenants regularly and it is very rare to find a narcissist without one. This might be the other parent where the child is a narcissist or if one of the parents is a narcissist, it may well be a sibling (especially if they are afforded golden child status) who is used and triangulated with the scapegoated victim.
Family members are almost always significant members of the façade. This is because they are in denial as to the behaviour of the member of the family, unable to accept that a blood relation would act in such a manner, preferring not to confront the behaviour, to dilute its effect and minimise it instead.
These are just some of the key elements of a familial narcissistic dynamic and various elements and strands of this will be detailed and focused on in due course.
It feels like every day is summer doesn’t it? Warm and wonderful. No rain clouds anywhere, just a cornflower blue sky. Not a cloud to be had. Everything is fantastic. We do everything together. We match on every conceivable level. I like what you like. We laugh at the same things. We enjoy the same books and films. I know what you are about to say. We like to cook together, try new wines and explore interesting places. Whether it is forest or foam, city or village we both enjoy going to these places and do so together. We are soulmates. I do not want anyone but you. You have finally met the person that you have wanted all of your life. You still cannot believe how lucky you are to have found someone like me, someone who cares for you, holds you, loves you and showers you with attention, praise and affection. What would you do without me? You struggle to even remember what life was like before I appeared, shiny and exciting. You never want it to end and you allow this golden effect to permeate deep inside you, touching every part of you. Every fibre of your being is coated with my golden touch. None of it is real. You have spent all your time looking at a mirror whilst wrapped in an illusion. I was never any of those things. I just showed you wanted you wanted to see, said what you wanted to hear and did what you wanted to experience. I am a con-man, a charlatan and a fraudster who trades in fake love and steals your true love. I am not what you think I am, I never was and I never will be.
2. Nothing is ever good enough
How soon the golden and glistening empire rots and rusts, those gleaming towers of glass and chrome shatter and crumble. What once seemed like it would stand for a thousand millennia has come crashing down. You scurry left and right, attending and caring, working yourself into a frenzied confusion as you try to hold it together. You cannot accept that this is happening and you try your utmost to stop the cascading stone and the splintering timber but it is an impossible task. You can no more prevent this edifice from tumbling to the ground than you can hold back the tide. The manifestation of this crumbling empire and your frantic efforts to rebuild it comes in how you try and try to please me. You give more of yourself each day in your desire to salvage what you understand, wrongly, to be us. You steadily erode your integrity in a bid to please me, make me happy and do whatever it takes to make things good once again. Each time you think you have got there, the bar is raised higher and then higher still. You keep giving and I keep taking. What worked last week is now scorned. What made me tell you that I loved you a month ago annoys me instead. I no longer want to be with you or be touched by you. No matter how hard you work, cook, clean, tidy and care. No matter how much effort you put into maintaining your figure, dressing attractively and taking an interest in my day, you are only ever met with scowls, scorn and abuse. You do not give up, not yet, but you fail to realise that this is a hole which can never be filled.
3. Nothing stops the games being played
The tears in your eyes will not abate the cruelty. The soft glistening tears which roll down your cheeks only appear as blood to the cruising shark. A green light to continue with the denigration and vicious nastiness in order to provoke more emotion from you. Today is a day of silence. The shoulder cold and brutal as you try to fathom out what is wrong and what you have done. Tomorrow is all smiles again although you are none the wiser as to what has happened to change that but by sundown you will be traipsing to a cold and empty bed as I vanish once again. I sit in my chair seemingly staring into nothingness but I am mentally flicking through my Devil’s Toolkit as I consider my next move. I arrange the pieces, you, my friends, my family, your friends, the neighbours and the man in the sandwich shop. All of you pawns on my giant chessboard as I decide where you should go. You try to learn the rules, to stay onside and avoid transgression but these games are played with just one rule. There are no rules. I revel in my gamesmanship as each day I deploy a new machination against you. These games will tear you apart and you can never hope to win at them.
4. Nothing surpasses fuel
Everything revolves around obtaining fuel, from you, form him and from her. It is a ceaseless quest for my lifeblood which ensures that I am always on the hunt. Restless until I find sufficient fuel and then planning the next move, this need comes above all else. Events are disrupted, dates are delayed, birthdays are ruined and anniversaries forgotten all in order to acquire my fuel. Your needs are placed way below mine, for fuel is everything. I have no responsibilities save the acquisition of fuel so children, jobs, money, health and harmony are all left at the wayside, neglected and abandoned to enable me to pursue the only thing that truly matters to me. I will do anything, say anything and be anything to obtain this fuel. Fuel makes me hurt you, fuel makes me seduce your best friend, fuel makes me fire the nice guy in the office, fuel makes me take centre stage at get togethers. Fuel is all.
5. Nothing will ever change.
There are those of my kind who know not what they are and any such attempts to pin them with the blame of awareness will be resisted with the speed and instinct of pulling your hand away from a flame. They do not know what they are but they know that you are the enemy, seeking to foist change when it is not needed, a part of your attempt to control them and punish them when they have done nothing wrong. Change is not needed and will never happen with them. Those of us who know what we do see no reason to change. We are conquerors, pioneers, leaders and ubermensch. We are supreme beings and we are always right. You make the changes to yourself and fit in with my new world order. I am mightier than you. This all works for me so why should I change? I am not required to change, I am the decider, I am not the one who is decided upon. I rule. I am not ruled. This is how it is and it shall always be the case. Deal with it. I will not change and I cannot change. I know what I am but I choose this, who would not do so when you are as triumphant and brilliant as I am? Nothing will ever change.
The use of and imposition of silence are two of the most powerful weapons in our abusive arsenal. Silence is easy to deploy and horrendously effective in securing our aims of compliance, control and fuel.
1. My silence is always meaningful
You may sit quietly because you have no need to say anything. You may remain silent because you are listening to somebody else or just enjoying the silence. We do not allow silence to be used in such a passive and redundant fashion. Our silence is used to convey contempt. It is used to draw concern and cause anguish in you. When we fall silent that pregnant pause is an indicator of the fury which will be unleashed against you. The longer silence is the imposition of our cold fury as you are banished to a sustained silent treatment. When we sit in silence we are not savouring the lack of noise, we are thinking, planning and plotting, calculating our next step. Our silences are weapons, they are our operations headquarters, our defence against your critical wounding of us. We use silence to hurt you, warn you, scold you and indicate you have overstepped the mark. Every silence has a meaning, it would be remiss of us to use it any other way.
2. Absence makes the silence longer
The deployment of an absent silent treatment where we remove ourselves from you, invariably with no warning or indication is a confirmation to you that this silent treatment will not be short-lived. The need to absent ourselves sends you a clear signal that we will be gone for some time. It is designed to have you come after us, try to contact us and beg and plead so that you fuel us. When we impose a period of absence by vanishing we are reinforcing how easily we are able to consider you gone from our lives. You may not even be able to contact us but we gather fuel from our knowledge that this sudden disappearance will cause you considerable consternation and worry. The absent silent treatment is also a key indicator that we are engaged in the seduction of a new prospect and providing this person with our false love and attention, which we have removed from you.
3. The silent gesture
Our silences are not just occasioned by us not talking to you or absenting ourselves for a period of time. We deploy silence through gestures. We may not turn up when we have agreed to a date with you, in order to reinforce how you mean so little to us and that we have any number of more pressing engagements to attend to than dine with you in a restaurant. Leaving you alone in bed, our side of the bed now empty and cold is also a hammer blow to your confidence and self esteem as we choose the spare room, the sofa or the bed of another in preference to being with you during the night. The silent telephone call from a withheld number, used when we are hoovering you, is designed to put you on edge. Is it us calling you this late? It must be mustn’t it, but you cannot be sure? The failure to buy you a gift on your birthday, creating a gap which ought to have been filled stands out considerably and allows us to apply maximum hurt through such a silent gesture.
4. The silent presence
By giving you the cold shoulder when everyone else is met warmly and enthusiastically, we cause you to feel completely alone even when you are surrounded by others. You try to carry on as if nothing has happened but you know that people will be wondering why we are not speaking to you. You feel the flush of embarrassment as once again you try to speak to us and you receive only a glare and then we sweep away. You want to challenge us but as ever it is you that will be criticised for creating a scene. You want to upbraid us for our childish sulking but you have learned that the consequences of doing so are not worth suffering. We of course know all this and we know how powerful our freezing you out in the company of others really is.
5. Suffer in silence
You are never to speak of what goes on between you and I to anyone else. Should you ever do so you are committing an act of heinous betrayal and your punishment for such a transgression will be malicious and fierce. You are not to betray me and speak of what you are subjected to. You are to endure it so that you become a better person, one who is compliant and obedient. Do you understand? I also know that you fear the repercussions of speaking out and this enforces my curfew. I also know that you feel compelled to remain loyal because of the golden period and how you feel duty bound to remain and try to resolve matters, work this difficult period through and fix what has become somehow broken. Your indefatigable spirit teeters on the brink of misplaced pride at not telling tales and instead knuckling down, irrespective of what is thrown at you, in order to bring about a resolution to our problems. You cannot succeed but you do not know that yet. For now you must suffer in silence.
6. I speak, you stay silent
Never interrupt me, never talk over me, never steal my thunder. When I speak everybody listens because what I have to say is brilliant, great and of tremendous import. You would do well to listen to improve yourself, please me and avoid angering me. You are my sounding board, Horatio to my Hamlet, a listener and in my presence you only speak when it is required to honour my achievements and laud my greatness. You are to be seen but only heard when I deem it necessary. Who wants to listen to what you have to say anyway? You only get invited to events because of me. They are only friends with you because they are friends of mine. Nobody is interested in you. Nobody. So stay quiet and listen.