Brilliance, Baloney or Bullshit?

BRILLIANCE, BALONEY OR BULLSHIT?

FR David once declared, “Words don’t come easy to me.”

He must not have belonged to Narc Club because we love words and using them. Why is that? They are so easy to use and so powerful. We use words to charm, to seduce, to astound, to amuse, to arouse, to hurt, to wound, to put down, to terrify, to lash out, to apologise, to correct, to mollify, to appease and to hoover.

We actually only use them for one thing.

To control.

Words are far more attractive than action. This is because words form on our lips in an instant, they tap into your empathic and narcissistic traits so readily to ensure we wrap our controlling tendrils about you. Words enable control. Words garner fuel. Words cost nothing. Words vanish into the ether. Words can be denied. Words can be twisted. Words can be fabricated. Words can be lost. Words can be found.

Words come very easy to us.

What comes from our mouths is a product of our narcissism, refined of course by our school. Face a Lesser Narcissist and you can expect direct comments, wild boasts, raged-filled tirades and mammoth exaggerations. Those words issued by the Lesser will not be winning any Booker Prizes, but they remain effective. They are effective because they cost the lazy lesser nothing to use and they enable him to achieve control.

Should the words come pouring from a Mid Range Narcissist, these range from Long Involved Explanations, grandiose prose feigning some Romantic poet, mealy-mouthed apologies, angst-ridden pity plays, sobbing symphonies seeking sympathy and pompous posturing by the fireplace of arrogance. Mid Rangers can be accomplished wordsmiths, doling out some delicious word salads, getting you on the merry go round of Circular Conversations and making frequent use of plausible deniability, with the “I did not quite say that,” or “you have not remembered what I said correct” or “I would explain again but it is quite clear you do not understand what I mean.”

When the Greater lets the serpent´s tongue emerge, instinct largely slips away and if you are the rare victim of the Greater you will find yourself on the receiving end of the calculated, probing, forensic comments where each word has been carefully considered to ensure maximum impact. Nothing is wasted, every word counts and the savage sentences see your throat ripped out as we still stand smiling at you and you slowly start to realise that you died five seconds ago but your brain is just catching up.

Of course all three schools use words in the context of the Narcissist´s Conditional Asterisk and all three schools will use words purely to control because not only are they so much less effort to use, they also provide a fantastic return for the minimum expenditure of effort and that ratio of effort as against return is central to our behaviours.

Sometimes we exhibit brilliance in our words. Often our kind demonstrate baloney although you may take some time to ascertain that this is what has just been spouted. Similarly often there is just pure bullshit spouted by the narcissist. Again, you may be slow to have realised this, your emotional thinking clouding your application of logic. Occasionally you know that this stinking pile of excrement is being dumped on you but you fail to get out of the way, you emotional thinking addled-mind struggling under the steaming load that has been deposited your way. Invariably, it is only afterwards, with the cleansing effect of Logical Thinking that you will clear away the dung and see the comment for what it was, leaving you incredulous, shaking your head and your gast flabbered.

Our kind come out with choice examples of utter bollocks, but of course, from the uttering narcissist it is deemed to be entirely apt for the purposes of asserting control and the clouding effect of emotional thinking ensures that the comment gets the narcissist over the finishing line of control.

On this occasion we are focusing on the bullshit and the floor is open to you to provide us with the golden turds that your narcissist said, wrote or carved into a tree near your house. Let’s have those one or two lines which contained a choice example and feel free to expand on how you felt and how you reacted to it.

The floor is yours, just watch where you tread……

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88 Comments

  1. HG, I was at a conference last week. It was fairly small. One of the speakers ive known for many years, a CEO whom I suspect to be an UMR and is very good, very, very good. Smart picks things up quickly, potential to be a greater but I don’t know him well enough so I’ll stick with UMR. He was speaking about a subject to a group of people who were an incredibly bright group who all know more than he does on the subject he was talking about. He would be aware of this I’m sure. He did very well and held his own.

    What was interesting to obserce was the interaction between he and a cerebral MMR who always asks wankerish questions to prove how much he knows about the subject and largely dominates any given situation.

    I observed the UMR rub his hands or hold them tight when the MMR was building up to pose a question. As he answered or buffed them away with ease, his hands relaxed again. I also notice the MMR constantly looking at his wedding ring when he felt he was not being listened to. This happens a lot because he goes on and on and is incredibly dull and boastful.

    Previously I would have thought these people were anxious. Now I’m wondering if this is just them displaying a perceived lack of control and not having any other outlet for it in such a public place. Would my assumption be correct that these signs indicate a threat to their control (in a smallish way) and would a greater ever display such signs?

      1. Oh my god! You’ve literally made me so happy I want to cry HG! and I very rarely cry. You have no idea how much it means to me. Thank you xxx

        1. Guess I will have to go and upset a child somewhere to even things up now. Now, whose snowman can I kick in? Hey, you boy, watch this!

          1. Agh no don’t do that! Just be horrible to me instead. Hmmmm well if it’s an N child that’s okay

        2. Alexis2016
          It was a really excellent observance on your part and one we can all learn from thanks to you sharing. Thank you.

  2. Caity, what really annoyed me was the way she had problems she had with me, and took them out on my student.

    I am not entirely innocent here. When I saw what comments Umbridge had made, and my student asked me to explain them, I wondered how in the hell I was going to explain comments somebody else had made on a grade rubric I didn’t write. Umbridge had said, “See the attached Week 7 assignment Ms. __ submitted. You will note I use track-changes. The Roman numerals and letters were added by me.” I had never done that kind of feedback for a student: I put marginal notes of what was wrong and how to fix it on the first few errors of each kind, and told students, “Look for other places in the paper that need similar revision.” This was supposed to be teaching, not copy-editing; how would students learn if we fixed everything for them, instead of helping them learn how to fix it themselves? Were the conventions different for the professional doctorate?

    My student said, “I had thought that the page in the text was a suggestion, not a requirement. As I was eager to begin outlining the information in each section, I decided to start formatting the literature review as the final version will be and included APA heading levels rather than a bullet point list. I hope this is okay.” Since I couldn’t answer my student, “I have no idea what Umbridge is babbling about but I’ll ask, which I’m reluctant to do because she’ll just blast me again,” I tried to sound respectful of Umbridge’s methods:

    Me to Miranda:
    As I emailed the class, because I got backlogged in grading, the Course Director, Dr. Umbridge, took over grading for some assignments, including this one.

    Her standards are more rigorous than mine. I understand the logic of wanting to get the assignment in the form it’s going to be sooner rather than later, but Dr. Umbridge encourages people to stick to procedure at each phase. She has been doing this a lot longer than I have, so go with whatever she says.

    I apologize for any confusion this has caused. I’m sure you’ll be able to pick up the points at the next phase.

    PS Don’t forget: you can resubmit for the average of the two scores.

    Umbridge saw my email on a reply all, and was just intelligent enough to pick up on the fact that I thought this was busywork and my student should be allowed to skip these pointless steps and just write the damn paper. That was when she opened her next email with “I think my feedback was pretty clear.” As if Miranda and I must be stupid if we didn’t find it clear at all. I felt horrible at that point, because I had to admit my inability to hide my snideness had put my student in her sights. We had challenged Umbridge by the very implication that her feedback was not, in fact, pretty clear. Even what praise she spared for my student was so jargon-laden I was tempted to use GoogleTranslate: “Excellent work contextualizing the topic! You are defining the problem context in a way that establishes the relevance of the topic and impacted stakeholders.” She never made ANY comments to students that were specific to their topics; she had stock phrases, and applied them indiscriminately.

    I’ll never teach that course again at this school, or possibly any other course, unless enough instructors die suddenly or crack and have to be treated in a residential facility to return me to the food chain. It’s just been announced that Umbridge is now the Dean of the downtown campus.

    I’m still proud of my (imperfect) involvement in my students’ projects. As I emailed them when we were preparing for PowerPoint presentations at the end of term:

    For those who are nervous, fear not: you’ve been doing your research, and that’s the essential basis for your presentation. You want to help people who aren’t getting good health care, have financial difficulties, who seek education to advance their careers or just broaden their horizons. You are telling us, a friendly and interested audience, what you want to achieve and how researching a particular aspect will help the situation, by demonstrating what works and what doesn’t.

    I do not expect everyone to be Steve Jobs, who could work an audience like a magician. Practice with 3×5 cards or sticky notes and a timer. Guilt-trip your significant other or the puppy into being your practice audience. Practice facing a blank wall, if necessary.

    If it’s any comfort, I’ve done theatre for around 30 years, but I’d be less nervous about doing a five-act Shakespeare performance than presenting my own words. I’m well aware he’s a better writer.

    It sickens me that some of these people have worked professionally in health care or the financial sector for years, and now that that they’re returning for a higher degree, whether it’s to advance their careers or just for personal satisfaction, this woman gets to treat them like they’re 10-year-olds.

    What really embarrasses me is how poor my radar is. I thought she was nice when I first met her. My only red flag was the way she showed me the color-coding and the Synthesis Matrix, without even explaining to me, the instructor, what the purpose of these assignments was. Nothing on the order of “they will learn that the article they need may show up on page 15 of one search tool and page 1 of another, so they don’t waste time scrolling down just 1 search tool.” Nothing like “The topics are on this axis, the articles are on this one; the intersections tell them where they can link sources.” I felt a bit overloaded, and thought I could figure it out when I reviewed them at home. I was already afraid to ask her to explain, which should have been a red flag in itself. I figured maybe this was something people with professional doctorates all knew, and we Lit majors hadn’t got the memo (which is exactly what I was meant to think). She actually sounded somewhat mollified when I mentioned in a phone call with her how some of the students had picked up on the way different search tools put articles in different order, because it meant her methods worked. If the student wasn’t a visual thinker, however, and the color-coding had to be explained, either by me or by her, that meant her methods didn’t work. If I had to ask her “what are students expected to learn from this assignment?” it meant her methods didn’t work.

    You know, I just figured out that this woman was what HG calls a Holy Narcissist. Her methods were a kind of religion, If they didn’t work, we weren’t stupid or even lazy: we were heretics.

    1. Violetta, brilliant! Every. Single.Word.
      I think you may not have noticed clearly what Umbridge was only because they tend to sneak up on you, rather than blast you (unless they’re Lesser’s, and I doubt you’d find many of them in a scholastic environment); their method *is* madness because they try the same with everyone, expecting the same result they have got with others. Usually it works, to a degree that either satisfies them or infuriates them and in the latter case, as you’ve so brilliantly shown (wow, to her thesaurus addled comment!) they will often lose it. Word salad to the rescue!

      Thank you for your reply. Made me grin in a way the Cheshire would have envied.

      1. Thank you for validating my reality, because when I was going through it, the gaslighting got a foothold, even if logic told me that’s not how things are done in any of those industries. When I talked to people I knew in NYC about what this woman was doing, they were like “WTF? You do that kind of thing in a financial institution/medical clinic/grant office here, people will laugh in your face.”

        I think I didn’t notice because it was before I started reading HG regularly. I knew there was a certain type of person with whom I had run-ins again and again, but because they varied in educational level, intelligence, and approach, I didn’t see the common thread. I figured I was the common thread, and if only I could learn tact and diplomacy, I wouldn’t be having these problems.

        1. Violetta, completely agree, yet again. I also recognised when I was dealing with people like this, how awkward I felt, bewildered and also either tried to avoid them or castigated myself for not being diplomatic enough; admired those who seemed to smoothly move through every dilemma I found so frustrating, as if they had a playbook and I’d not, as yet, been granted access. Of course, after reading HG, I’ve come to the conclusion that those who managed unfaltingly what I struggled to simply understand were doubtless a higher level of narcissist, and had no need of said ‘play book’ when dealing with their own kind, particularly if they were, as example, an UMR vs a MMR or either vs any cadre of Greater.

          Since reading HG, I still avoid when I can, but what I have and hoard in *my* toolkit is a quicker recognition of what is being done, why it’s being done, and most importantly, how. And I use it to the best of my ability during interactions with those I’m made to deal with; whether that means providing positive fuel when necessary, or none at all, or tweaking a request, for example, in such a way as not to challenge said narc, yet achieve as much as possible in the context of the given situation.

          Does that make me a better diplomat? Immune to the twisted realities and machinations of the narcissist? No, but with HG’s brilliant insight and teachings, I don’t bung it up as often. And that suits just fine, compared to how I reacted previously. If that’s the best I can get, I’ll take it. With bells on.

          1. Me too. Among the many reasons I’m looking for a better job is being able to afford some consults. This is the only place I’ve found where we learn about our place in the dynamic, not in the victim-shaming, “there must have been something you did, why is it always you, everybody else” blah blah way, not even in terms of “you are susceptible to this because of childhood trauma” (yeah, I know, but since I can’t exactly change history, what do I do now?), but rather in terms of “this kind of empath is preferred by that kind of narcissist; this is the script your narc will follow; here’s how you don’t play the part written for you in it.” If anyone else is taking that approach, I haven’t found it (trust me, I looked), or else it’s the fact that I understand scripts, so this way of looking at it works for me.

  3. HG,

    “Long Involved Explanations, mealy-mouthed apologies, angst-ridden pity plays…”

    Sigh. You’ve made it clear many times that narcissists can’t change schools; they are what they are. I’m kinda….I’m irritated that you could be right. But you might also not be, so…here’s to trying. Lol.

  4. Narcs definitely use words as a key part of their toolkit, not only to directly manipulate people but to construct their universe and hide in it. I also agree that many are lazy to do anything truly rigorous and prefer word salad. For example, I’ve seen numerous people that definitely came across narcissistic online, especially in anonymous forums and in online dating. I think those forums draw in at least two kinds of people very effectively: introverts and narcissists (of course one can be both). HG says that written communication does not give such effective fuel to a narc but is it true for all of them? I had the impression several times that highly insecure narcs love online because they can gather a lot of attention, adoration and also manipulate more easily in the absence of reality checks. They are not able to pull off the same directly in person because they just don’t have the confidence and charisma for it, but much easier to do from behind a screen.

    I like online forums, too, because they can be great for topic-focused discussion in an unstructured way and one can see and express so many different views. They can also be an interesting microcosm of social roles and interactions to emerge and observe. I’ve seen obvious narcs dominating such places for a while quite a few times and they can be very successful at drawing a lot of attention, admiration and empathy towards themselves that way, especially if they are talented writers and reasonably sophisticated/educated. I was interacting with at least two in the past in a way that I first engaged with them on the public forum and developed one-on-one conversations on the same platform. There can be a stark contrast between their public and private personas, including that they reveal their true colors sooner or later in private, especially if their seduction maneuvers fail or just the other person figures it out and challenges them. I’ve found them losing the original effectiveness of their words in the latter situations as well, as though they stopped putting the same effort into it relative to when they are in a group or otherwise speak publicly.

    Perhaps one of the most interesting (and eventually annoying) experience I had was with someone on a peer support forum. He quite quickly emerged in that group as someone with outstanding knowledge and intelligence, he was also very good at occasionally throwing a pity party and drawing sympathy. Usually engaged in long philosophical monologues and psychobabble. I appreciate discussions like that so felt naturally drawn to him and approached him in private. Interestingly, he told me in private that he was diagnosed with NPD and how his narcissism caused him to be both destructive in his relationships and also repeatedly destroyed his efforts to succeed. He seemed self-aware to a certain extent (had education in psychology and philosophy, I guess that helped) but nothing enough to succeed on the levels he fantasies about, so he created these personas from his wishes and projected it into whatever social domain he was in at a time. We interacted anonymously but I found out about his true identity and it was easy to see all the lies then. Now if I think back, even his public writings on that forum that drew a lot of attention were not great at all, not much originality and new perspective, but he was definitely a wizard of words and that substituted substance… for a while. Development and evolution was largely lacking though – this became apparent after following his posts and interacting for a couple years. I also saw other people losing interest in him, likely for the same reason: he had considerable talent with words but didn’t really update and develop his views and tools over time. I think he preferred to just use the same strategy and find new targets over and over again. Was interesting for a while but then it’s like you have seen it all, it becomes very predictable. This is something I’ve also experienced with the narcs I’ve met via work – they can be very ambitious and productive, good at strategy, not that creative after all but some still achieve the highest level of success and influence in a conventional sense. They become masters of baloney and target the masses with it. I think often the brilliance is in the strategy of using bullshit and baloney and finding appropriate targets that buy it and become blind followers.

    1. Dorion, I very much enjoyed and agreed with your comment. My MMR was (and is still, I’m fairly certain) extremely shy, introverted in interpersonal relationships. His claim, of course but in observation I found it it to be quite true. It aided his pity plays I have no doubt, but it was real nonetheless, and the only thing authentic about him. The caveat was, that in a work-type necessity he was more ‘normal’, for lack of a better word, not outgoing but average. Like he put away the ‘sad sack hat’ of inability to talk to people he wanted to hoover and put on ‘average-Joe-just-wants-to-take-care-of-business’ face instead.

      I met him online, in 2002, and he was witty, smart, self-assured (in his opinions), sarcastic; generally all the things I like in a conversation. *in print*, he was quite outgoing. In reality, almost 12 years later when we began to Skype and later when we met, it became obvious the huge lack of self-assurededness he actually had, and he remained much better in print than in life. I guess what I mean to say, was his facade fell apart when he was forced to act ‘normal’ when going ‘live’. All the inconsistency and attending bullshit then, became shockingly obvious. And only then, did I begin to really look at his written words, the words and things he’d said in text and realised I’d been falling in love with a hallmark greeting card, that all the times I’d given him credit for trying were completely phony, but it was in a text based forum I believe he gained the most fuel because it was under that structure he felt the most comfortable and had the most control. I’m sure he still pursues women online, and trots out the same tired platitudes he used with me, but I truly believe he gets his greatest fuel from that venue. In real life he’s just another cow pat in a pasture of cow pats; online, and in text he believes he is the steaming pile extraordinaire. And for a time, is able to convince his victims of it as well.

      He used to tell me, “people just don’t understand me or what I’m trying to say, like you do when I talk to them”, but hidden within the pity play was a kernel of truth (as it usually is with narcissists): people he *talked* to, very quickly began questioning and eventually rejected him. People he *texted*, took far longer to figure that out. Thus, text based fuel gathering was born and cultivated by him for as long as he could and can manage it; I believe ‘live’ fuel was far less satisfying, because it was so difficult to gather and the control was minimized by an easily cracked facade.

      1. Wow kit-Cait, I think another piece just fell into place reading your comment. One of the reasons I believed he was as ‘in love’ with me as he claimed was the sheer amount of time we spent talking or texting. I used to think when I saw red flags, ‘but why would he bother texting me all night or talking for hours on end, why wouldn’t he just go out and talk and flirt with someone face to face?’ I would tell him ‘I love talking shite with you’ and he would often say stuff like, ‘other people don’t get me like you do’ or ‘other people can’t wait for me to shut up’. Maybe it was just easier as face to face was harder work for him. Thank you for sharing x

        1. Thank you, Notme. But honestly, the credit, as it should be, goes to HG. Sure, I did eventually realise something was terribly off, when the one-on-one bore nearly no resemblance to our text based relationship, but that only added to my certainty it had to be the fault of mine for being naive and seeing only what I wanted, needed to see. In a way, that still holds, but without HG, I never would have pieced together all the bits that made up my experience with an MMR. And all the others prior, as well.

          It’s not finished, of course. I still find ‘ah ha’ moments when I read HG’s posts, and read (and reread) his books. I’m still learning and the puzzle isn’t fully complete regarding all the narcs that peppered my life. But now the answers are not as painful to see and I believe with each piece I fit, I’m taking back a little more control. That’s a huge win.

          That’s HG’s doing.

    2. I’m not so sure we can totally blame the narc with regard to the written/texted word.

      The textual facade that they create is also assisted or propped up by us. We like the words, we believe the words, because we are creating our own fantasy around them. We read into the words what we want to read.

      If and when we meet them in person, or if we learn of who they *really* are, then !POOF! our fantasy is blown up because they do not and cannot measure up to who we created them to be.

      This is the reason that I could never chat with anyone online for more than a week before meeting them, and the same reason I would never do online dating, and the same reason I kept texts between Narcx and I to a minimum. If I could not meet them in person, then I knew for sure I was not meeting the whole person.

      Of course, with Narcx I wasn’t meeting the whole person *in real life* either. He was very good with the spoken word as well.

  5. My narc wrote me some of the most bizarre love letters. One of them quite recently, a four page letter . Of course I told him how lovely it was, but what I was really thinking was that it was a big fat load of bullshit . All the fancy flowery words, etc. Exactly like HG said !
    I have been so tempted to send copies of all those letters to his DLS. The ones he wrote to me are so much better than the ones he writes to her .
    The ones he writes to me certainly do fly in the face of all the lies he’s been telling her about me.

    1. Both Stendhal’s Scarlet and Black and Merry Wives of Windsor involve all-purpose, recycled “love” letters.
      Some narcs are just so damn lazy.

    2. Lamb. I am interested in how you know what is in the letter he wrote to his DLS. If you don’t want to answer I understand

      1. Kim e,

        His DLS has a big mouth and tells multiple people about my narc. Unbeknownst to her we share a mutual friend through a third party. I have been getting regular updates. I know it to be truth because repeated back to me are private conversations I’ve had with my narc. I’ve been told things no one could have known otherwise.
        his DLS is huge attention Whore, she really sunk herself, the town crier telling all these people about my narc. A lot of people are appalled with her behavior , considering he’s married, and she’s flaunting it. ( as told to me through the 3rd party)
        It’s upsetting getting this information, but better than being completely blindsided.

    3. Lamb
      Thank you for sharing. It is hard to admit to you as the IPPS that I have been a DLS in most of my relationships. Still looking for what I am missing in my life to make this be. But I am sorry for the heartache this experience has and continues to cause you. We are all broken in some fashion

      1. Kim,

        You’re welcome.
        The only thing that broke me is my narc. Not knowing what narcissism was, he sold me a completely false persona . I trusted him, and he broke my heart, repeatedly. If I had any inkling of what he really was, I wouldn’t have dated him, never mind marry him!
        I admit I will never understand why any woman would give a married man a second look. Married to me means “off-limits“. When married men flirt with me, I let them know I’m disgusted by it.
        You deserve a relationship that is exclusive with the person you are having it with, just as when we marry we expect that the relationship with our spouse is exclusive.
        DLS’s don’t just destroy marriages, much like substance abuse, they destroy entire families. I think people forget that when they engage in affairs. Affairs also have long lasting effects on the children well into adulthood. It in turn can affect their future relationships , cause them to have trust issues, etc-
        I am not laying all the blame on the DLS’s , the married affair partner is equally culpable.
        I hope you will be able to figure out why you keep repeating the same destructive patterns . You deserve A loving partner, someone who is faithful and devoted to only you.

        1. Hi Lamb, I’d bet that a high percentage of DLS either don’t know that the person is married or has believed the lies that the marriage is over all bar the shouting. Of course there will be exceptions. I don’t think the N and the DLS are equally culpable, at least not usually. If the N is married it is he or she who breaks up the marriage and damages the children in many cases. Maybe not yours, if you know what the DLS has been told for instance

          1. Notme,

            That’s seriously flawed thinking. Of course BOTH parties are equally culpable. I’ve heard that argument before, the 0W thinking that because they weren’t the ones that took the vows, it releases them from any guilt associated with the destruction of the marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth .
            I give an automatic pass to the DLS or 0W that doesn’t initially know the person is married, but when they find out they should break it off immediately, and not continue to be a participant in the lies and betrayals. I give no such pass to the OW that is being lied to about how the marriage is allegedly over. The right thing to do is to tell the married man to give them a call when the divorce is over!
            Why would a OW want to stay after finding out they have been lied to by the married man in such a disgusting fashion? If it happened to me I would warn the wife, if not directly then through a third-party.
            In all likelihood the wife is sitting home completely clueless about what is happening behind her back. The wife has the right to know what is being hidden from her in her own marriage so that she can then choose . Not knowing takes away that choice from the wife. You can read here on this blog, and on other blogs how many stories about wives were given STDs because the husband was screwing around and they didn’t know.
            Surely you must agree that the wife has the right to protect her health.
            Back in the 80s and 90s it was not uncommon for entire families ( wife infected, subsequent born children infected ) to succumb to aids because the husband was out screwing around.
            Do you think that is fair, or moral?
            Do you have any idea how humiliating it is as a wife to have to be tested for STDs?
            Forgive me if I seem a little angry in my response to you , but imho your way of thinking is selfish.
            When I make a decision, any decision, I always think about how my decision might affect others BEFORE I make it.

          2. Hi Lorelei
            Your post made me smile.

            I’m so glad you escaped your own personal hell and are feeling better for it, with a little help from a lovely DLS angel.

            I’ve kept an eye on this thread because it wasn’t my intention to rile Lamb or detract in anyway from what she is going through. I was disinclined to explain myself earlier, but maybe I should.

            I realise that what I’ve written suggests that I was a DLSMB but in fact:

            – HG informed me that I was a shelf IPSS after I had escaped. I have no actual evidence that he is married or living with someone, other than the fact that as he’s a narcisisst, it’s unlikely that I was his primary source according to HG and his work.

            – When I first met this individual in my early 20’s, he was married, he told me they were divorcing and he lived with me 5 days a week, going back most weekends (to sort out the house etc.) – and yes, knowing what I know now, this was clearly bollocks, but I still don’t think I had the same responsibility as he did. I was an idiot, granted, but selfish, immoral, culpable? after a year or so, he said he was going to give it another try with his wife and I exited.

            – 25 years later I was hoovered and conducted what to me was an intimate, comitted and exclusive relationship with him.

            The complicating factor is that technically I’M still married. I haven’t seen or spoken to my husband in more than 2 years, so was I being unfaithful, comitting an infidelity by re-entering a relationship with a narcissist. Technically, yes. I told the narcissist I was still married but getting divorced just as he had done and this was the absolute truth. I didn’t know that he wasn’t like me, or that he lies like he breathes.

            Is it selfish and wrong to assert that not all people classed as OW are heartless, willing home wreckers?

          3. Thanks Notme—I understand Lamb’s view absolutely. It’s a very painful arena scenario. Personally, I can handle an open relationship—I’m not religious so don’t care about vows anyway. The issue is that people that are loose on this end tend to be narcissists and I don’t want that close. Not “my person” close.
            I’m 100 shades of messed up on this issue.

        2. Not to say that infidelity doesn’t cause problems, but infidelity is only one way that families are destroyed when you are married to a narcissist. Staying and enduring their other abuses (as there are many) can be just as damaging to children and destroy families as any infidelity. Even if they couldn’t find a woman to take up with them there will still be abuse, and it doesn’t mean that things are otherwise fine in a marriage with a mirage (and that’s what narcissists are) just because those other abuses are tolerated more than infidelity. The problem is being married to a narcissist. Period. If there is to be blame – lay it there.

          1. NA,
            Aside from the infidelities, I have dealt with his substance abuse. They seem to both go hand-in-hand.
            Those were my two biggest complaints.
            I never really minded him “controlling“ the money. I trusted him. He never questioned me about purchases I made , as he knew they were either for our home , gifts , the children. I seldom spent on myself. All of a sudden that’s changed now, he’s watching every penny.
            I’m fairly strong willed, and I speak my mind with him. I never let him intimidate me. I was always a buffer between him and my children. Throughout the marriage if I had ever seen anything affect my children I would have thrown his ass out a long time ago.
            I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around this whole narcissism thing . I feel more upset that narcissism is the underlying reason for all of his behaviors then I would have if he was just somebody with a substance-abuse problem that cheated on his wife .
            I know it wouldn’t matter who I was, he would do the same things no matter who he was with .BUT, I still can’t come to terms with the fact that he never loved me , that because of narcissism he isn’t genuinely capable of loving anyone, not even his own children.
            I realise that most of the people here are OW ( I think) . Whether or not my husband was a narc I still feel same way about 0W and the role that they play in the destruction of a marriage .
            For OW Reading what I write here, if you are still young, I implore you to dump your narcs and never look back.
            I wish I had the insight available on this blog like all of you do 30 years ago, when it would’ve been so much easier to rebuild my life.
            Let what’s happening to me be a lesson to you, get out while you still have your youth .

          2. Lamb, regarding what you say in your comment to NA here

            “I realise that most of the people here are OW ( I think)”.

            This is likely an example of Emotional Thinking, invoked by your particular current circumstances, as there is obviously no ‘rational’ reason why you should assume/think this. I will say that I, as one of hundreds? – I am not sure – of readers am not an OW. There are probably many readers ‘here’ (at Narcsite) who do not comment, as well as those who do.

          3. Lamb

            I’ve read a little more of your situation.

            Ok. I have every sympathy with your situation. Every and I wish you healing. But take it from this very battered narcsite regular, your thinking is flawed on many fronts. Im going to straight talk now. Please do not confuse this with lack of care, empathy or concern. But lovely, you need to give your head a huge wobble.

            Starting with the children.

            Its simplistic to assume that you have protected your children from the narc. Narcs dont JUST operate on the physical. The obvious. Your children will have been picking up on the subliminal. This isn’t your fault.

            Stop, right now, blaming the OW. There are many reasons for this. The first is, you are wrong. It isnt her fault. She made no vow to you but the narc did. The blame lies entirely on his shoulders. End of.

            Secondly, you are wrong in that most of us on here are DLS’s. Some are but the majority aren’t in my view. It takes a lot of courage to post on here, labelling yourself as a DLS. I admire and respect those women. Because they are owning a huge part of their actions and are seeking education.

            Thirdly, when you blame the OW, you are misdirecting your energy and are therefore LETTING THE NARC WIN.

            I’m sure this isnt what you want.

            Now a question if I may?

            Please explain why you havnt done a GOSO and a NC? Why are you staying with this man?

          4. NA—I just read the interaction between Lamb and NotMe—a potential weakness to WP is not being able to reply to more than one person but assume they are on this thread still.. I don’t think the DLS always destroys—I think wherever the narcissism is that it destroys families and marriages, etc. The affairs are a symptom of the narcissism and can free someone from the abuse they may be living with (if the partner is the narcissist in the triangle) and prevent further abuse if it causes a severing of ties. I’m eternally grateful for my ex’s former affair. I couldn’t have maintained where I was much longer. My health was deplorable and I slept constantly as if I were medicated on and off for several years but constantly the final year, I gained a lot of weight mainly in the final year (and the gym is my recreation and I was too obliterated to go), could hardly shower, couldn’t clean my house, barely functional at work and only went to work because of his financial shit show, never saw my friends & family, couldn’t parent my children, was sneaking skinny little menthol cigarettes that I find disgusting (I hate smoking) but it was for some brand of relief, couldn’t prepare food (had to order pizza for the kids or food delivery crap which I never eat like that now), shall I go on?! That DLS that motivated him into leaving was my own personal angel. She was a former recycled girlfriend/fiancée probably charmed by him. Thank goodness. (She canned him right after he left!)
            I don’t sleep all the time now, I’m back to being impossibly high maintenance, my house is spotless, I lost nearly all the weight but may keep 10lbs that I don’t hate after all, I can walk up my stairs to the shower, the kids don’t eat shit food daily, not only do I work but I have the energy to make 30% more money than before (to compensate for being a single income parent) and have the energy to do so, I’m going back to school for a doctoral degree this spring, I see friends & family.. I also have enough energy & perceptually wiley ways to be branded a dangerous narcissist on a narcissism blog. So it’s a win/win. Thank goodness for my marriage being destroyed. It needed destroyed because it was not a marriage but a platform for slaughter. I was simply incapable of leaving on my own—I had to be discarded and it was an absolute gift. My mother told me 9 years ago to stay and make it work when he nearly bankrupted us. Why? She put up with my dads financial bullshit and abuse. She was as non-functional as I was for years in many ways. I used to think she didn’t want anything to do with me because I just needed to be prettier. If only I were different she would pay attention to me right? The truth is she was functioning with no energy and in survival mode. Oh but my dad who was slaughtering her paid plenty of attention to me—to makes sexual overtures constantly. What a sick way to grow up.
            The joke is on my abusive father now too. He can’t waste any more money either because he died. He could have had a great time squandering her last nickels. (And his own)
            I have had affairs—yes. We all have narcissistic traits. I would not want a partner having affair or wish to take someone’s partner as my “person.” I just think there are different angles to interpret infidelities.

          5. Lorelei
            I agree. The DLS is not responsible for destroying the marriage to a narcissist. Infidelity is just symptomatic as you point out. I have always found it interesting that this is often the focus of the IPPS. Some will endure physical abuse, substance abuse, verbal, sexual, financial control and ruin, and even excuse suspected or previous dalliances, while convincing themselves that the children remain completely untouched and unaware (which is impossible) in order to hang on to the relationship. But for some reason, the breaking of a spoken vow (that the narcissist had no intention or even ability to honour) with a person that can now be identified as DLS, is the line in the sand that will not be tolerated and allow the reasoning that had the DLS not come along and “gone after their man”, (which is not usually the case as several others have pointed out) that all would be fine. The marriage was over long before the DLS arrived on scene and she was likely a victim too. So although not many would thank the DLS as you have, hopefully time to process the hurt and anger and the continuing clarity provided here might allow those IPPS’s to see the situation through a different lens and to what was really the problem – that despite their every effort, there is no happy marriage for an empath with a narcissist.

            Glad you arrived here to receive the answers and support you needed to begin regaining your strength and a new path. That is a much better focus than assigning blame to anyone other than the narcissist.

          6. Thanks NA. Yes, I thank her tremendously and she doesn’t know this. Nor will she. She is still in his web despite canning him and I don’t like her for things she said to me based on what he told her. Thanking her isn’t liking her—she is a bitch. The children suffer terribly. My oldest daughter for instance and the younger children in different ways.

        3. Dear Lamb,
          My comment was not meant to make you angry but to offer the view that situations are not always as black and white as they appear, particularly where narcissists are concerned. I don’t think that trying to convince you of this would be helpful and I certainly don’t want to add to your stress or anger. Your remarks about my thinking and implied judgements about my morals are your opinion and you are entitled to them. I will pose one question though, not because I need an answer, just something to consider. Are you 100 per cent certain that when you met your husband, he wasn’t involved with anyone else?
          Best wishes x

          1. Lamb, what you’ve been through must have been awful for you and I do understand why you would feel this way about the OW. I once held strong views like this too and I would never have imagined that I would cheat with someone, not ever.

            I spent six months listening to mine go on and on about how terrible his marriage was what an awful life he had. I tried tirelessly to support him and encourage him to make things work out with his wife. Never in a million years did I think he would succeed in attempting to seduce me. It took him six solid months of constant daily barrage from him.

            The fact of the matter is, we had a different world view. Mine was to help him and make his life better I some way. His was only to seduce me and if not me someone else and someone else again. To them it matters not who it is, just someone.

            The deal clincher and what ultimately led to my temporary entrapment after being lovebombed and unknowingly mind controlled for six months was when he said the words to me, “But I’ve got cancer and you make me feel better’. Yes I was foolish, inconsiderate and much more and I do accept a significant proportion of responsibility. You cannot even begin to imagine the guilt that I felt, it’s like a noose around your neck.

            I’m not perfect. Nobody is, was I a victim or volunteer. I believe a victim. I didnt go out seeking him or anyone else. He and they purposely target us and our kind. And as HG regularly reminds us we have an inherent addiction to them.

            I am very sorry for what you’re going through but as NA points out infidelity is just one aspect of a torrent of abuse and torment. It may feel like it overrides everything else because of how society perceives it. It therefore becomes a focal point. But it truly is but just a piece of the jigsaw of who they (the Ns) truly are.

          2. Renarde, thanks for that :) loving your straight talking too sister!

            Lamb, it is never too late to rebuild your life. x

          3. I agree with Alexis, it’s never too late to take back control. Come back to the thread Lamb, there’s a lot of support for you here to gather your strength, make your preparations and GOSO

        4. Lamb,

          I was a volunteer DLS twice. I became an Open Secret to both narcs when they left their wives.

          I did not go after either narc. They went after me. Because they were *honest* about their marriages and the hell they supposedly were going through, I sort of believed them, but not completely. I believed what I wanted to believe.

          Either way, I certainly did not care about their wives or their children. I had known people whose parents stayed together forever and were disasters, so if I was a party to breaking up a lie on that end, I was fine with it. I was also fine with the truth at the time with regard to the wife: “He doesn’t want you. He wants me.”

          Ha Ha! on me when the first married narc didn’t want me and found something(s) better.

          With the second married narc, well, I got out when I realized that maybe he really was telling the truth way back when that she would no longer sleep with him-—I could see she had good reasons not to!

    4. Lamb
      Mine sent a handwritten letter for my birthday, and it was the same thing. Plodding platitudes of pontificating piffle. In other words, bullshit. I told him it was wonderful. Obviously, at the time I was still buying his crap. The most gag inducing was the last part of the letter where he hand copied an entire song by Avril…word for word. Yeahhhhh. Well, at least it was better written than the rest of his tripe, and I’m sure, for him much easier than trying to be original. It didn’t take very long after that to become more and more fed up, and less and less accommodating.

      Of course, months later, when I’d had enough of the verbal and emotional abuse, the gaslighting, the controlling and wanted him to go home, he then triangulated, by telling me he had sent his ex a 6 page letter to explain (re: beg) how sorry he was etc, because he ‘realised he really loved her after all’. All I could think, was…hmmmm I wonder which song he copied for her.

      1. Good God Caity. The essence of middle ranger swam so strongly into view that I’m am all of a kerfuffle!

        HG, do you have the balcony ready?

          1. I’m not good at lifting, but I have strong legs, thanks to gymnastics, ballet, and tae kwon do.

            If HG can get them on the railing, I can kick them over.

          2. We can team up, Violetta. My legs are great and everything but it’s my upper body strength that never fails to impress. Also, my time volunteering as a paramedic has given me a firm grip. So I say forget the railing. I’ll drag ’em up the stairs, you kick ’em from the roof. We’ll have Renarde time the fall to make sure the body crushes douchebags on the way out.

          3. This was now the second time in two days I wrote about throwing a person off a tall building. Perhaps I should talk to someone about this.

          4. Haha I actually dont think it is Narc related but if you also give advice on how to deal with murder fantasies I could clearly use it

        1. Where did the Narcsite balcony originate?

          Chief O’Hara, go up to the roof and flash the Narchivist signal.

          1. Violetta

            I dont exactly know when balcony became a thing. But it made me laugh like a drain.

      2. Hahhaa Caity! PPPP quote of the day for sure! I’m definitely going to pass this off as my own some time.

        I’ll be like the Ns I hate where they desperately try and include the latest buzzword in any sentence going, even though it clearly doesn’t make sense. such is their desperation to use the word coupled with their total lack of understanding for it.

  6. Most of what my ex-narc said was 100% bullshit. However, he has said to me, more than once, that my perception does not match his reality. Needless to say, I was shocked when he said this because for once he was actually telling the truth. What I don’t understand is why would he risk letting the mask slip and say that to me?

      1. Wow! I never would’ve thought that. Thank you for enlightening me! Its so true that my perception does not match the narc’s reality.

      2. HG

        Arrgghhh! I’m getting both points here. Yup, get you. He was taking an offshoot point to gain fuel. Cover tracks etc.

        But equally Leigh’s point is valid in so much that her interpretation of events bourne out eventually. Both of their Worldviews were not in alignment.

        I understand this is how we percieve. But surely Leigh wins here on her interpretation because she is aware and he never can be made aware.

        Welcome your thinky thoughts.

        1. Your worldview does not align with ours, that is what I have repeatedly explained.

          By Leigh realising that the narcissist has a different world view to her own, that is a fundamental part of achieving freedom.

          1. HG

            I suspect we are in great danger of going down the Mandelbrott with this.

            I percieve we are both saying the same thing but approaching from differential angles.

            I utterly agree that Leigh has grasped something fundemental here. Interpretations will differ on the minutiae.

            You are indeed a fascinating man, HG.

          2. Thank you Mr. Tudor! Its your books and blog that have given me the education to obtain freedom. I can’t thank you enough!

        2. Renarde, it is my understanding that while I was incorrect in thinking my ex-narc let his mask slip, I still get a thumbs up for recognizing our worldviews are different.

          Its that recognition that stops me from engaging with the narc because engaging would be futile.

          I do love this blog and your books, Mr. Tudor. Without them, I might still be in the emotional sea.

          1. Leigh, HG

            Yup agreed. Many times Leigh, I have wondered if I’ve seen a slippage. Perhaps sometimes I have otherwise why would we not see the red flags?

    1. Gaslighting too, he was saying your perception was wrong. I used to get this too from MMRN along with ‘I understand that your stress is causing you to have these negative perceptions of me’.

      1. After trying to get him to hear that I am upset that he didn’t answer my calls and being given word salad for an hour, denial and deflection:

        Me – oh forget it!

        Him – we don’t say that to each other

        Me – oh?

        Him – no, it is casual and discourteous and said from frustration and a position of power. If suggests that an idea or suggestion is impractical or uninspirational. As you know, that kind of approach doesn’t work for us.

        Me thinking – Are you having a giraffe? Me? A position of fecking power?

        1. They are so damn condescending. It would infuriate me when my ex-narc would do that.

          He discarded me 8 months ago and I beyond thankful I don’t have to deal with the manipulations any longer!

          1. Don’t do that Lisk, he’ll probably like it! Possibly even pays for that shit already hahah

        1. ‘You need to think about how you manage your stress darling. I am trying to be sensitive to it, but I am on a precarious path. I am not responsible for your stress although I accept you think I am. I have learned that your feelings are not reality.’

          1. Mine would say things like that to me all the time. He would tell me I’m too sensitive and overreacting. They are such bastards! We all deserve better!

  7. Good article. I’m not sure I see a big difference between Baloney and bullshit. I have gotten plenty of both. It’s one of the reasons negotiating in anyway w the Narc is pointless. Just a bunch of lies and evasion tactics.
    Your description of what the mid ranger says is so dead on, it continues to confirm what I’m dealing with.
    Although I thought my situation was “ managed”, he dropped a steaming load on me this week that finally got to me. He got his fuel from it. Too long to write the full version.
    After that HG, the Narc knows one of his competitors from his city will be in my area next week, working with me one of the days. I mentioned it after he dropped the Steaming load (Of triangulation) on me this week. He is really upset by this situation next week.

    Why does he care?
    He devalued and discarded me
    He has a harem
    He’s always on the hunt, grass greener
    Why would he care if his single competitor becomes interested in me? Not that I’m saying that would happen. I do not see why he’s worried about this. He spends next to 0 time with me anymore.

    1. Cogra002
      Here’s my understanding:
      Remember – he still owns you (the narcissist mindset about his appliances) but It is offensive to him that either you or this interloper (again, his mindset) can think or act otherwise. He cares about neither of you, but how dare you attempt to threaten his control. He decides if and when you are available to him regardless his activities with others.

      1. Thanks NarcAngel. The real thing he needs to know is I’m single and fully in play, if I want to be, for the right situation. He doesn’t really want me, but if a nice gentleman does, I deserve that. I deserve better than what he offers. They really can’t see that??? Or is that the real thing he’s worried about??

        1. Cogra
          Of course you deserve better than what he offers, but even if he could see that, it doesn’t concern him. You are reasoning out the behaviour with an empath brain, but remember – he is disordered and thinks differently. He thinks of himself and how his needs should be met. He is not concerned with your happiness or what you deserve. He is only concerned with having control over you and having you available when, and for whatever period he deems necessary to obtain the fuel, character traits, and residual benefits you provide during that period. He is disordered and that will not change.

          The only thing you need to focus on is what you’ve already stated:
          That you deserve better than he can ever offer.

          Damn right you do. Now believe it and do better for yourself.

  8. Umbrage with Prof. Umbridge.
    This will involve academic word salad.

    (HG, I know this is almost long as Finnegan’s Wake and possibly more incoherent, so feel free to edit as necessary. I’m too tired and bitter to do it myself.)

    I got backlogged in grading a grad course I had never taught before. It was supposed to be an initial writing and research course for people who sought professional doctorates in Health Care, Education, Business Administration, etc. Since I had professionally copyedited work in every one of those topics, I was at first enthusiastic about getting the section.

    Major assignments involved 1) color-coding results of different search engines for usefulness and 2) setting up a chart with topics on one branch and articles on the other, then putting dots where they intersected.

    In other words, the kind of crap you have elementary school students do. (Never did anything of the kind of for either my MA or my PhD.)

    I’m primarily verbal, obviously, but I’m just visual enough to understand that the color-coding was supposed to demonstrate how switching search tools was just as important as switching search terms, because the article that shows up on page 20 of one could show up 3rd from the top on another.

    They spent three weeks on the color-coding assignment. Because I guess just TELLING THEM what would happen if they didn’t vary search tools wasn’t time-consuming enough.

    Some of them didn’t get it anyway, until I told them, because they’re not visual at all. Fine with me: I don’t care if my students use outlines, Venn diagrams, random notes coalescing through the miracle of cut-and-paste: whatever works. I’ve known STEM majors who do their best research while mowing the lawn.

    They had to submit the chart, which was called a “Synthesis Matrix,” along with their long paper at the end. (Again, finding thematic overlaps had to be done visually, even though some students don’t work out the connections until they write the transition from one paragraph to the next or figure out who’s refuting whom in a debate.)

    I felt intimidated, but concentrated on giving students the kind of feedback they’d need to get an article published or a grant approved, both of which I knew something about. “Your health plan is implemented differently in Puerto Rico from how it is in India? Explain why. OK, most people have internet access and familiarity in PR, but poor transportation, so on-line consultations work best, followed by office visits only when needed. In India, however, poverty and limited tech mean that visits by a Nurse Practitioner are the best preliminary step, with referral to doctors only when necessary. Great, now put all that in your paper.” Same routine for FinTech: “here are likely counter-arguments from banks or potential customers; now refute them in the next draft.”

    One of my students was a library science major whom I shall call Miranda. K reminds me of her: she knew way more than I did about tracking down sources, which made her invaluable in peer review. She wanted to use RefWorks; I told her she could use it for herself, but the department would still expect her to submit the Synthesis Matrix (Dr. Umbridge had been VERY particular about that: “We use the Synthesis Matrix here, rather than RefWorks” she said proudly, when she was briefing me on the course. I tried not to look completely bewildered, but probably did, which I now realize was exactly what she wanted. She later made a comment that another first-time GradWriting instructor also had a “literature background” like mine, so I guess one of the joys of her Professional Doctorate in Business Education was intimidating Arts and Sciences people).

    The rubrics Dr. Umbridge had created had only a tiny percentage of editorial focus. She sent recommended feedback to be used regardless of topic: She cautioned against “imbalanced attention to variables of the research, focusing on one or more, but failing to address one or others to the same degree.” Wouldn’t that vary with the topic of study, I thought?

    We were to chide students whose academic prose didn’t benefit from the chart-making: “Note that your Synthesis Matrix was assigned in part to help you understand how to use multiple studies to make your points!”

    More recommended chiding: “Remember your extensive annotated bibliography? That was practice for summation and analysis to apply here. Use the rich sources you worked so hard to review and organize to make each argument.”

    Bewildered at how I was to apply her feedback and grade rubrics to what my students were actually researching, I fell behind on grading, and she took over grading for some assignments. In one of them, she eviscerated my Archivist, Miranda. I don’t have Umbridge’s comments anymore, because Miranda was able to resubmit for a better grade, but they were meaningless and critical in equal strength.

    Miranda to me:
    I’m a little confused as to why I had so many points taken off for the synthesis matrix and topical outline. To me, I did follow the synthesis matrix as shown in the textbook and I do not see how I can make changes to be more similar for the final. Also, I did not find that it stated that the bullet point format was required and I still provided a topical outline that showed the primary and secondary topics that were in APA format in a way that the final literature review will show. Can you assist in helping me understand these areas?

    Can you take a look at my synthesis matrix and let me know how I can improve this? I am still unclear regarding how this needs to be improved as compared to the book.

    ________________________________________

    Me to Umbridge:
    Miranda S. asked for help with improving her Synthesis Matrix. I reviewed your feedback and the relevant section in Roberts’ book, and I’m not sure where the Matrix is lacking. She seems to have found significant overlaps between topics and subtopics in a number of articles, which would indicate that the info is relevant as well as abundant.

    Please give me some examples of where she has either left out something or added something unnecessary, or how she can refine her focus, if that is the problem.

    Thanks,
    Umbridge to me:
    I think my feedback was pretty clear and to restate it, she did not follow directions for the Synthesis Matrix and map topics to studies, she had X and Y axis topics. See the Excel sheet I shared with my students that is an example of using the textbook structure in Excel.

    Miranda also failed to use standard outline format. See the attached Week 7 assignment Ms. __ submitted. You will note I use track-changes. The Roman numerals and letters were added by me.

    See my comments from the grade book on the synthesis matrix pasted below:
    Please follow directions and revise your Synthesis Matrix which is not formatted correctly. It is actually very confusing as it looks like two sets of threads vs. mapping the studies to specific threads. The updated matrix must be appended to the Week 10 Literature Review.

    If Miranda fixed the outline and matrix that would improve her grade. The matrix must be corrected anyway for submission as an updated Appendix in Week 10.

    Regards,

    Me to Umbridge:
    Thank you for getting back to me so quickly.

    I have checked her chart against her Word bibliography, and unless I am misreading it, her X-axis is made up of the article titles, while Y is topics. Does she need to label this in some other way, i.e., list articles by authors, or should she use numbers and assign numbers to her sources elsewhere?

    The outline edits are clear enough; she did not assign numerical and alphabetical headings or sub-headings to each section.

    Thanks again for your assistance.

    Course director to me:
    Yes, as shown in the text, she needs to assign numbers rather than use and authors. The reference list then is numbered with corresponding numbers.

    What she submitted round 1 was not authors. Please see attached what this student submitted.

    Best,

    I have not changed anything in her last reply. Her syntax is visibly deteriorating.
    Umbridge had ripped into my student—who was doing phenomenal research on improving VA facilities, in my opinion—because Umbridge hadn’t looked at the source page, which would have made it clear that the one axis was indeed article titles, not a second set of topics. She needed the student to use numbers, or she couldn’t read her own fucking required chart.
    Granted, I was supposed to back her up for a course which had unusually high enrollment so she wouldn’t have to do all that grading, but then, why was so much emphasis being placed on a particular way of presenting the information, rather than on the information itself? They wouldn’t be using either the color coding or the Synthesis Matrix in their dissertations.
    Umbridge had ripped into my student because her outline didn’t have Umbridge’s preferred hierarchy of capital letters, numerals, small letters, Roman numerals in exactly the order Umbridge wanted them.
    Again, this has nothing to do with the dissertation. One undergrad assignment involves outlining, and students are encouraged to notice different approaches their classmates take: bullet-points, headings and subheadings, etc.
    Umbridge had mostly ripped into my student because she knew way more than Umbridge did about tracking down sources, and unlike me, Umbridge felt threatened by that.
    I tried to translate all this to the student in words that would not appear to criticize Umbridge, as I’d attempted to do all along:
    I have discussed the assignment with Dr. Umbridge. The Word document needs standard outline numerical and alphabetical headings and sub-headings, as she put in mark-up comments. This should be easy to fix.

    On the Excel chart, while your Y-axis contains your topics, your X-axis has article titles that could be misinterpreted as more topics. Change them to numbers, as in her example, and put the key to which articles have which numbers assigned to them elsewhere.

    Re-submit to Dr. Umbridge, and cc: me.

    From that time on, I focused on the grad course and let my other courses fall behind, lest Umbridge take over again. I was damned if I was going to let Umbridge destroy my student. My feedback in the margins looked like the Book of Kells:

    Content: Be aware that neither government agencies nor facilities in the private sector are eager to criticize themselves. Most of the criticism will come from whistle-blowers. Each side will have its agenda.
    You could address this in part by noting that if a facility acknowledges its failings openly, things must be really bad!

    Don’t forget to consider the counter-argument that VAs need not just MORE staff, but more ETHICAL staff, who will be less tempted to fudge the records to hide inefficiencies.

    Tech:
    Even though…. OR but….. not both. One has to be the main clause
    If no cite parenth immediately following close quote, commas and periods go BEFORE close quote mark
    For more than three authors in-text: use last name of first author plus et al.
    example:
    (Jones et al, 2011).
    All names and initials on source page [no ampersand]:
    Jones, T., Baker, J., and Taylor, B.

    Miranda eventually got an A in the course. Prof. Umbridge urged rewarding her and all the other successes with the message, “Overall, this paper represents an important step forward in your dissertation journey. I wish you continued growth and success!”

    Meanwhile, the adjuncts the new admin brought in kept up with deadlines by copying and pasting the jargon-jambalaya, or better yet, putting a whopping 3 comments on an entire paper—2 of the 3 being “not APA format,” without telling them what was wrong or how to fix it. They became the university’s Golden Children, while the people who had hired me and mentored me were edged out.

    1. Violetta,

      That was quite good (I know and have known instructors like that; the scholastic world is not the only one riddled with them, I admit with annoyance). But the description of your experience, especially when you added the unvarnished disruption of Umbridge’s syntax made me smile. In the world of words, I’ve found the narc (at least mine) eventually shows when they feel challenged and they start losing it. Literally; pun intended. At first I made excuses for it, batting away the flapping flag in my face but after a time, I recognised it was one of his ‘tells’, and depending on where I was in the fuel matrix, I responded accordingly.

      Once I’d dumped him, it provided the only satisfaction I had. Knowing when I’d hit a nerve.

Vent Your Spleen!

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