The Narcissist and Grief

 

THE NARCISSISTAND GRIEF 

Grief. You may think that this is an alien concept to our kind. It is and it is not. On the one hand we do not feel grief but we do understand what it is and what it engenders in other people especially those who are empathic in nature and who have been entangled with us. We have watched with an almost child-like curiosity when you have received news about the passing away of a relative. If this happened during the golden period, you at least received some false empathy in the shape of some fabricated support and understanding to make it look as if we at least cared in some way. If your pet died during the devaluation, a long-loved pet, then we will have watched your display of sadness, longing and grief with contempt and jealousy. We would not have supported you but instead said something to provoke you such as,

“I don’t know why you are so upset, it’s just a dog.”

So that you focused on us again rather than wallow in your own grief. We have witnessed grief in others, observed and learnt how it is displayed. We have listened (when it served a purpose for us) during the golden period as to how it makes you feel and stored all of this information away. We do not feel grief. We may exhibit is for the sake of appearances if this will garner fuel for us and to preserve the façade, but it is never felt. You however experience grief in an intense fashion, given your capacity to feel and to empathise. We have seen your grief over a deceased relative, a friend taken suddenly and violently in a car crash, the celebrity who you adored who has passed away after a long battle against illness. We know just how capable you are of grief and we know that not only does it have the potential to be a potent source of fuel but we recognise its paralytic effect on you. Grief takes a hold and has the capacity to prevent you from functioning effectively. Not only that, its paralysis is such that it can prevent you from escaping this state of grief, keeping you locked-in a grieving mode, unable to move forward. Grief is an intense emotion. We have seen this. From the wailing cries of a parent being told that their child’s body has been found after they have disappeared to the dignified grief of a war veteran stood in silence with a single tear trickling down his or her cheek as they pay tribute to their fallen comrades. Whether noise or silence accompanies this grief it remains a powerful emotion and naturally one that our kind is keen to draw on for the purposes of extracting fuel. We see grief as serving two functions. Keeping you in a state of paralysis and therefore it follows that you will keep pumping out potent negative fuel for us to extract.

Now, I am not suggesting that I will embark on some kind of killing spree slaughtering your pets, taking down your favourite celebrities and murdering your friends and family, in order to create this repeated state of grief. Whilst one might see certain attractions in doing so, the effort involved and moreover the considerable downsides to such a course of action mean that it is not one that we would embark on. No, instead there is an alternative way of looking to create an enduring state of grief on your part. We want you to grieve for us.

This does not involve us taking our own lives. We rarely commit such an act. We will threaten it, certainly, as part of a hoover, but we regard the world as needing us and therefore we will extremely rarely commit suicide. We will however cause you to grieve for us and we do this when we eventually disengage you after a harsh devaluation. When this disengagement takes place we will leave you with three losses over which you will grieve. Your grief will be prolonged because there are three losses and thus this maximises not only the prospect of paralysis but also a longer period of the provision of potent fuel.

The first loss is the loss of who you thought we were. You were seduced and swept off your feet by this charming individual who mirrored everything you liked and disliked. We ticked all the boxes, we professed to be your soulmate, we gave you a perfect love, made every day special and had you excited to see us and hear from us. We created such a wonderful start to the relationship, unlike anything that you had experienced before. We understood you, we cared, we showed you such passion, we listened and engaged in those things which you always wanted to share with someone else. We wrapped ourselves around you, permeated your very core and entwined our lives so that you were never happier and you could never comprehend a time when such delicious rapture would end. But it did and how.

The loss of something so brilliant and splendid hurts you and feels like you have suffered a bereavement so intense and painful is the experience. Even though you hear the words that it was an illusion, that none of it was real and that you need to let go, it is still so hard to accept all of that and you miss us. Oh how you miss us. You miss that wonderful person we were at the beginning and you want that person back. No matter how many times you are told that he or she was just a creation, that it was an illusion designed to fool you and that we never loved you and never meant or felt anything we said to you, it is still incredibly hard to accept. Just like someone who cannot accept that someone who has died will not walk through the door at any minute, you cannot accept for a considerable time that the person you thought we were has gone. We know what you will be thinking (because we have caused you to think and feel this way) and although we may not always see your grief-ridden response to our absence we know what you will be thinking and feeling and this fuels us. Even greater is the fuel from your messages telling us you miss us, that you want the “old me” back and begging for another chance. Your grief for loss of the person that you thought we were, is both huge and prolonged.

The second loss that you sustain and grieve for is the loss of the potential that we showed to you. There was no doubting that we were brilliant at our job. You saw the plaudits and you felt the benefit, for a time, of the accompanying pay cheque. You saw the trophies amassed for our various achievements in different fields and you heard other people speak so highly of our accomplishments. The compassion, kindness and love that we showed to you and to others (although false) still causes you to think that somewhere we are truly capable of this goodness, if only we would harness it and let it be free. You have witnessed two things. The reality of our drive to be the best and the accompanying good that such drive and ambition brings – a surgeon saving lives, a scientist inventing cures, an entrepreneur creating wealth and jobs, a policeman making the neighbourhood safer, a teacher educating so many people to a high degree – means that our rampant desire to be the best has the considerable potential to actually do good for others. You also saw something in terms of the way that we treated you and as an empathic individual you still believe that this goodness can be freed and used to both our benefits so that we are both happy together. You came to regard us as a wounded and hurt person and in conjunction with your innate desire to heal and fix, you felt that if you could heal us then the mutual benefits would be amazing. There was so much potential waiting to be unlocked and utilised and now with our departure and your discard, that potential has been lost. You grieve this loss of opportunity and how things might have turned out oh so different. You want to turn back the clock, do things differently and the inability to do so causes you considerable grief and pain.

The third area of grief which you sustain from coupling with us is not grieving over us, but it stems from being with us and that is grieving the loss of your identity. Before we came along you were happy, independent, strong, bright, well-liked by family, friends and colleagues. You had many interests and you enjoyed life. Yes, there were flaws and vulnerabilities but you handled them as best you could as you forged a path through life knowing who you were. Then we came along.

We subsumed you into us. We eradicated your characteristics as we either stole them for our own construct to show the world or we eroded them through the steady application of our vicious manipulations. Your confidence evaporated, your self-esteem disappeared and your self-worth plummeted. You became steadily isolated, losing friends, neglecting your interests and even become distant with family. You allowed yourself to be fully consumed by us. It was entirely understandable how this happened because we wanted it to happen and we acted in a manner to cause it to happen, but nevertheless your loss of identity was a steady and insidious consequence of the grip we held over you. Now, as you sit alone, ruminating on what once was, grieving the loss of who you thought we were, the loss of the potential, you are also hit by the loss of who you were. You no longer recognise that face which stares emptily at you in the mirror each morning. The world is grey and drab, music sounds harsh and grating, conversations irritate and make you fearful, even your favourite foods taste like ash in your mouth. You have lost yourself and the sense of foolishness from allowing this to happen and the grief arising from such a loss is substantial.

This triumvirate of grief arising from entangling with us provides us with substantial fuel and we know that burdened by not just one or two, but three forms of grief, it will take you a long time, if ever, to escape the effects.

Advertisements

41 thoughts on “The Narcissist and Grief”

  1. I’m so in awe of how right on this article is on everything I went through and experienced through the whole ordeal with the greater narc…,from beinginning to end. There’s just no way this cannot be right. This is correct information bottom line. I wish I would have read this 3 years ago. I would have understood a lot faster.

  2. “We want you to grieve for us”
    Yes, your kind wants that. The dramatic response, the emotional attention, all the fuel for your kind.

    There are only two logical mistakes in your thoughts. First, we do not grieve for you, the real existing person! We grieve about something that never existed. Your own statement.

    Second, it is not about you. It is about us. The grief is about us (loss of identity).

    All your fuel is a self-made artificial illusion in the end for you. The trap of your own illusion.

    Sorry, but we do not grieve for you. That is an error.

  3. I don’t feel the second and third so much, but the first is crippling. Like someone is standing over me, twisting my bones until they snap. Like that flood of immense relief you feel after waking up from a horrific nightmare, but then you realize that the incomprehensible nightmare is real and you have to accept it. Horror and panic floods through you with nowhere to turn for relief. Like a 10 ton weight is sitting on your chest and you can’t push it off because your arms are broken.

    Well, that’s a little dramatic, but it’s real. It hurts so much, I can’t comprehend it and can’t even feel it most of the time. Like a bloody, mangled corpse covered with a semi-translucent plastic sheet. I have to pull the sheet back to take a clear look, so I can process it, but then I cover it back up again so I can function.

    I also grieve for the child my narcissist was. I grieve for the soul that was crushed and obliterated, destined to create a soulless, heartless, cruel and abusive monster. Who would he have been? What happened to him? How can such an abomination of humanity even be possible?

    I’ve been abused by narcissism my entire life, and somehow I learned to develop an adequate identity alongside it, but now I have to go it alone. I have to build a whole, healthy, self-trusting identity from scratch without the crutch of false love and acceptance that I’ve always had on hand. I have to build myself the right way, and next to grief and loneliness.

    This really sucks. But at this point, I can honestly say it’s better than being controlled, demeaned, ignored, afraid and yelled at for stupid reasons. I’ve fucking had enough. But some days it seems like it only gets harder. I can never give up, though. I’ve fucking had enough.

    No contact!

    1. Purpleinnature
      So sorry for your pain. It is possible to get away and build your own life. For me it required moving to another county and establishing my own home. I never did no contact, but it was too far for them to be willing to drive and there was no cell service here back then, so they couldn’t call.

      I focused on my career and setting up my oasis of peace and tranquility. It still took years, but my comfortable independence allowed me to interact with my family narcs from a position of strength. If they did/do anything hurtful or obnoxious, I just walk away now. I don’t need them. I enjoy their company and humor at times, but I don’t NEED them.

      For me I think that was the key. To see and understand that I could walk away from a situation that was harmful to me. Too often we come to cling to our narcs as if they are our lifeline. I realized that I am not a vine needing support. I am a tree and what I needed was my own safe space to grow and branch out.

      I heard a great Winnie the Pooh quote this past weekend,
      “I’ve always found that to get where I am going, I must walk away from where I am.”
      I wonder how much heartache and sorrow we could spare ourselves if we followed this bit of wisdom.
      Good luck on your journey. I’ll be thinking about you. ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️

      1. Love that quote, Windstorm, and also your own line about the vine and the tree.

      2. Thank you windstorm. That means a lot. I had a bit of an epiphany the other night during one of my meltdowns. I was trying to get to the root of the pain, and I sort of reverted to my inner child begging my parents to “look at me”. I kept saying “why won’t you look at me? I’m right here. Why can’t you see me?” I realized that all my pain with my latest break up really goes back to the hope that I had that someone would finally “look at me”. Not just anyone… but someone like my parents. When I start spiraling, reminding myself of that has seemed to ground me. So… still moving forward. Learning to let go of the hope that someone that can’t see me will finally look at me. I hope that makes sense. This is a little rambly… thanks again.

      3. Purpleinnature
        I understand, although my inner child is the opposite. She’s always hiding out, afraid of other’s judgements.

        One way I’ve dealt with this is thru my children. I’ve always been open, honest and my real self with them. And they have reciprocated by accepting me – warts and all. There were many years where their acceptance and support kept me sane enough to function. Now they’re all in their 30’s and have become more judgmental – or maybe I’m just more crazy. 😜

        You’re right, though. It’s not the acceptance and love of others that will heal us. It’s our acceptance and love for ourselves.

    2. I was thinking of my narcissist’s crushed child and soullessness today. Wondering if that is reachable? Fixable?
      From all I have researched about this, it is not and the void is endless.

      One thing that crossed my mind though is that deep grief, when we feel it for a loved one, is actually like a deep hole inside. A massive teardrop and on the inside that’s all we are for a while. We need comfort but there really isn’t anything to take the pain other than time. In my experience , I’ve curled up alone like a child and then put on my own mask, my brave face. (Family event not narcissist)
      It functions. Grief fades to acceptance and we truly function once more. But we used that mask for a while to get us through. To get on with life.
      The worst thing is when people are kind. Some silly thing goes wrong when we’ve dealt with a thousand far more challenging problems.
      The dam bursts and we are suddenly and unexpectedly, completely, overwhelmed. By grief, by anger, by frustration. THAT is grief, a massive scribble which we deal with inside, as far as possible and protected by the outward ‘I’m fine’ kind of mask.

      I’m beginning to doubt I understand a thing about other human beings but, supposing I do, surely anyone who has been bereaved/ suffered a catastrophe happen to someone they love dearly, will get through behind a mask. You cannot function in the everyday world without it. You put it on because not to would leave you incapable of functioning at all.
      You know how you feel and it’s nothing like how you look, or how you come across. It’s an act. You do it so that you don’t distress people with your own distress. You do it to bring yourself back together when you have been shattered. You maintain the shape and form of the real you and you do get back in there.
      I’d check in with my children when our particular catastrophe happened. Are they ok? Are they happy? The mirror to see if my mask was working?

      Is this how it works with a narcissist ?
      The empty feeling of grief? The acceptability of the mask at a time when the child was too young to realise that was what it was and the two grew up together?

      Just thinking. Sorry for the essay.

      1. Sanna
        I’m not sure I follow you about the grief mask. I don’t know how to do that. When I’m bereaved I go numb – zero emotion – in order to still function. I can’t pretend to feel ok when I am not. Often I can’t even speak and have to text to communicate, even with people next to me. But I imagine I’m a disfunctional aberration. 😄

        But your comment reminded me of an event this morning. My little 6 year old grandson has shown narc signs from birth. This morning outside of McDonalds he walked into the side mirror of my car. It was a hard blow and left a big red mark. I went to fuss over him, but he didn’t cry or want consoling like his siblings would have. He kept a straight, tearless face and pretended it didn’t hurt and nothing was wrong. He was wearing that mask you talked about.

        I still hugged him, kissed his bruise and prayed for God to heal his boo-boo (something my daughter does with them all), but he just stood quietly off to the side for a few minutes before he acted normal again.

        I know he didn’t act that way because he doesn’t have people who love and care for him. There were 3 of us right there! My theory is that he doesn’t believe people really care because he has no empathy. HE doesn’t care if someone else gets a hard blow to the face, so why should we care when it happens to him? Sure we say we care, but he knows that he can say he cares and he won’t really, so why should he believe us?

        I’m not dissing on all the narcs who had terrible and abusive childhoods, but many narcs have good childhoods filled with love and kindness. They became narcs because they never had empathy. There is no little unloved child in them that someone could reach and change.

      2. Windstorm
        I have to ask………

        Was he staring into the mirror when he walked into it?

      3. NarcAngel

        No. He was watching his 4 yr old brother who’d gotten ahead of him. 😊

      4. Very interesting, Windstorm. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a child act that way – especially one so young. But I don’t think anyone knows how people become narcissists. I read somewhere that it’s possible some children are born that way and are only able to function, and not become serial killers, because they have decent parenting (and grandparenting). Keep hugging and kissing that boy!

      5. SMH
        I will!! Plus both his parents are working hard to teach him cognitive empathy. He gets a lot of love!

        He asks 20,000,000 questions about all interactions – real-life, tv, movies. Things like, “Is that girl crying because she fell? He’s sad that his toy broke, isn’t he? They don’t want the puppy to die, do they?” It’s like he’s trying to figure out emotions that he sees. Things that his little brother and sister instinctively understand. It can be both sad and disturbing.

        My oldest son was the same way. He’s turned out to be a pretty good man and father. I really believe it makes a big difference if you work from when theyre tiny teaching them cognitive empathy and consequences for inappropriate behavior.

      6. Glad your son turned out well. I am sure your grandson will too, with parents and grandparents who notice and care so much.

      7. I understand the mask you speak of, I’ve worn it all my life. And have “felt” other people to check if it was working as well. In my family of origin, it wasn’t ok to be not ok. If asked, ” Are you ok? ” the answer had to be, “I’m fine.” Anything else was considered weakness and weakness was not tolerated and was punished. I’ve never been fine. I dont know what fine is. I only know the lie I’ve been forced to live. So I get it. But I dont know how to tell you to take it off, I’m sorry.

  4. And some of us never were allowed to develope an identity, confidence, self esteem or self worth, other than daughter, tool, food source. And we have no idea how to now.

    1. The mask is a way of functioning. It’s temporary and necessary. I think it’s a human characteristic. It doesn’t mean you don’t feel just that you have to get through and others are depending on you to do so.
      My mask looked just like me. Kind of happy and optimistic and that IS me….or was til I met the narcissist.
      When my Dad died suddenly, my lovely Mum would say “I’m fine, just don’t be nice to me”. Not because any of us would have taken grief as a sign of weakness at all but because, at that moment, the dam is very fragile and she wanted to get back to being ok.
      Not sure if this is making any sense.
      It certainly doesn’t explain why a narcissist would want to control, manipulate and hurt another person.
      I have no way of understanding that. It just doesn’t compute.

    2. Hello IdaNoe,
      When I read your comments ,I feel that this post really reached to you.
      ” And some of us never were allowed to develope an identity, confidence, self esteem or self worth, other than daughter, tool, food source. And we have no idea how to now.”

      I understand what you mean. It is very brave of you to admit it. Most of us do not have the courage to admit it to ourselves going through life living just a lie.

      And I believe that the fact that you found this site is telling that your curiosity has been awakened to finding answers about yourself.

      That awakened curiosity is the start of sowing the first seeds for change.

      Have you thought about the possibility that the mask consists mainly of learned behaviours that can be adapted and modified ?
      Have you thought that it is a good start being able to detect and being curious in finding out and understanding the why ,how and when these learned responses started ( as a cope defensive mechanism)?
      I do not know about your life but of what you wrote:
      “Anything else was considered weakness and weakness was not tolerated and was punished”
      “My father used to have a saying, ” Got a friend good and true – screw your friend before your friend screws you.” Sad that he believed that.”
      You were taught that expressing your feelings (i.ex. of not feeling fine ) was a weakness instead of validating your true feelings.
      You were taught not to trust anyone.

      That is abuse by neglecting your own identity. Abuse comes in many forms.

      Your curiosity in itself reflects the beginning of a deep change.

      I believe that if there is awareness and knowledge and most of all the firm will of doing it, you will find out the why and the how.
      Sometimes the small changes are the ones that have a big impact in you life.
      Don’t give up.

      1. Thank you, I won’t give up! It frightens me how much of me, isn’t me at all. Its defenses against abuse. The rest seems as holey as swiss cheese with everything they’ve taken away. It really scares me. Thank you for your words, they help. Feel like I’m picking through the rubble after an explosion for anything still useful!

      2. Idanoe
        Things that survive an explosion have proven their strength. Rebuild youself with the best of them, leave the rest, and carry on.

      3. You are welcome IdaNoe. I am happy you find my words helpful.

        ”Feel like I’m picking through the rubble after an explosion for anything still useful!”
        You will raise up. I am sure you will. You will find many valuable things through the rubble about you: yourself!

  5. Pingback: The Narcissist and Grief by Narcissist H.G. Tudor – Signs of a Gay Husband by Debra Sutton
  6. Mr HG, You state, “You allowed yourself to be fully consumed by us.” then you go on a bit as if you are the one at fault, but it is these little jabs at the victims that ‘re-victimize, these are the words that plant a seed, that seed of their narcissist, it’s all their fault, they have heard it before, it ‘re-registers. But, you are what you are. Let`s be candid, shall we? The “soul” that you seek is your own soul, the validation of self that you were deprived of as a child, when you were treated as more of an object than a child. Unconditional love you did not receive, so now you demand it from your victims. An object who performs, that’s what you were, an appliance. The thing is about all that, all those emotions, “fuel,” that you claim to consume does nothing for you, no, not one iota. Goes in the bottomless void, right thru, like a bottomless glass, good going in but does nothing to fill you and never will. Why not? Because you cannot see anyone, you are looking for your “self,” everyone you see you only see yourself looking back, and that will never satisfy you, because your child self has no validation, has been declared unworthy, shamed, unloved, a mere object by the person who was supposed to have unconditional love and security, and must be destroyed. You destroy yourself over and over again, and by transferring also destroying your abuser by becoming the monster, your abuser, the abuser. You cannot eat souls, you are a little child, with a child`s logic, with an adult intelligence and adult body. You cannot be cured: 1. You cannot face the fear of the pain of the actual child self 2. The false/true self identity divide of narcissistic-sociopathic mental illness that you have will never allow the breach to take place due to self deception of the illusion that you created for yourself. 3. You cannot perceive reality because in your illusionary world you would equate reality with your certain death. 4. A therapist/doctor would be merely someone to manipulate, control. It`s what you do, you must control your environment, everyone in it. Here, on this blog, you get plenty of praise, yes, and make an income besides, and also interacting with victims via differing avenues, good then. Just as long as we all understand that being a narcissistic sociopath makes you extremely manipulative and an outrageously dangerous person to everyone, to society. You are as you are, and those jabs, those twistings you toss into your writings often, as I notice how things are worded, it`s what I do, I notice, they have an influence on the traumatized, sometimes without realization by the victim because that’s the nature of narcissistic abuse, isn’t it.

    1. Speaker One….
      Candid you have been and excellently written and described. If I could like your comment a thousand times I would. This is one of the best comments I’ve seen in this blog. Well done!

  7. That third one definitely happened to me. It also made me angrier than the other two. It’s like someone snatching your soul.

  8. Dear HG,

    YOU have a fantastic talent for writing!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Y’know what? (This is one of those, “wake up at 3A.M. epiphanies:) YOUR TALENT IS FROM YOUR REAL SELF NOT YOUR FALSE SELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you!

    Sincerely yours and my regards to your sister,

    Pamb

  9. Hg, do you ever wonder how much grief you see is people just acting because they feel they are supposed to? My exhusband knows that the really empathic are sincere in their grief, but he is very skeptical of most people. I’ve noticed the midrangers I know seem to think all grief is just an act. They pretend to grieve when they feel it is expected, but I get the feeling they think it is all just an act and we are all pretending. Thank you and only answer if you have time.

      1. Thank you, HG. My default setting is to assume everyone is as honest as I am in their grief, but my exhusband’s skepticism has made me wonder. I value truth above all, so part of me is glad to realize the dishonesty. But I can’t help being saddened that there is so much deception in the world. I can’t help feeling that people are more honest than you all believe. Hopefully the truth is somewhere in the middle. Hope springs eternal!

    1. Mine was the third kind mostly. Innocence lost cannot be regained – you cannot un-know things about yourself, other people, the world… It is what it is. Identity is fluid anyway.

    2. The ‘mid-rangers’ can also not know they lack empathy. They have emotions based on self-interest and think they are morally upstanding, but then get angry with you when you ask them to be accountable and empathise.

    3. Windstorm – I would hear similar things. I used to wonder why my narcissists were so cynical. I remember my Greater used to always say “Everyone has an angle”. I couldn’t understand how he could make such a blanket, absolute statement about EVERYONE. Mostly because I knew that I didn’t have an angle, so who was this “everyone” he was talking about? And what was the angle? I think narcissists tend to project their conscience onto everyone the same way we do. We assume we are loved and cared for because we love and care. My Greater assumed everyone had an angle because HE always had an angle. My Mid-ranger assumed everyone was looking to screw him over because HE was always looking to screw everyone over. This also helps (especially the mid-ranger) them justify their underhanded dishonesty and betrayal. They’re just defending themselves! If they don’t screw everyone over first, then all those horrible, deceitful, treacherous villains in the world will have the upper hand! The mid-ranger never realizes that he’s just holding a mirror up in front of a bunch of reasonable, honest people.

      1. Purpleinnature
        Wow! I totally agree with you. You could have been describing my narc family only my greater had a slightly different statement. He said that everyone had their own “personal agenda”. And I argued with him for years that “everyone” did not, because I knew that I didn’t. (He has finally acknowledged my point and amended it to “everyone with any sense.” 😄)

        But I completely agree that we all(empaths and narcs) tend to project our thoughts and motivations onto others. That’s why we’re all here on this blog – coming to terms with how we have been mistakenly viewing those around us. My personal opinion is that wisdom is understanding this and applying it to life.

        Thank you for sharing about your narcs!

      2. My father used to have a saying, ” Got a friend good and true – screw your friend before your friend screws you.” Sad that he believed that.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.