The following is a report published on the BBC and written by Naomi Pallas. It is an important piece for two reasons :
1. A clear example of a narcissist manipulating other people for the purposes of asserting control and gaining fuel , and
2. The complete failure of the victims, the reporter, law enforcement and other interested parties to recognise what they are actually dealing with.
My observations and comment are in bold and italics.
When US couples want to adopt a baby they often post ads online and search social media for women pregnant with an unwanted child. Sometimes it works – but there are dangers. One young scammer has tricked countless couples, just for fun, by stealing the identity of a pregnant woman.
It’s early February 2019, half way through one of the coldest Michigan winters in recent history. The grey sky threatens snow.
Thirty-three-year-old Samantha Stewart is in her pyjamas at home in Wixom, just outside Detroit, doing Sunday morning chores. There’s a full washing basket, a house to be cleaned and dogs to walk. It’s just after 11:00 when she receives a direct message request on Instagram from @ashleymamabear2019.
It’s not anyone she knows – but she accepts the message and starts reading.
“Are you looking to adopt still?” are the opening words. (Red flag – very direct approach from a complete stranger. You may think well, they are trying to find a solution and using Instagram to achieve this, therefore they are going to receive responses from strangers. However, caution should have been exercised by approaching such a sensitive matter (see below) through the internet and its known hazards. A parallel to this is internet dating and I have made the position clear about this in the article Why You Should Not Use Online Dating .Note the absence of striking up conversation, framing the subject of adoption in a more acceptable manner, but instead the question is the opening remark, direct and demonstrates entitlement and a lack of boundary recognition.)
It’s six years since Sam had a hysterectomy. Throughout her 20s she underwent a series of operations in an attempt to control her endometriosis, a condition that causes the womb lining to grow in other parts of the body and can lead to crippling pain. They didn’t work. By the time she was 27 it had become clear she would have to lose her womb – and the chance of carrying a child.
It took time for Sam to recover from the stress and the heartache. Though she longed for a family, it was only at the end of last year that she and her husband, Dave, felt ready to contact an adoption agency and begin the laborious process of adopting a child. They passed their home study, an assessment of their suitability to be parents, and underwent training. Then they set up an Instagram account, @findingbabystewart, posting requests for birth parents to contact them, illustrated by an empty cot in a freshly painted nursery. (The victims exhibit empathy by wanting to adopt a child but are also walking into a hunting ground, namely the internet and specifically social media. The victims are vulnerable having experienced considerable stress and heartache and therefore a desire to combat these feelings means that vigilance and more importantly logic will be low).
Sam examines @ashleymamabear2019’s Instagram feed. Ashley is 16, from a small town outside Atlanta, Georgia.
She posts mirror photos, love notes to her boyfriend Chris, and selfies with Snapchat filters. Her hair is straight and honey-blonde and a backwards cap usually covers his. But there is one thing that sets them apart from thousands of other American teen couples – the occasional shots of Ashley’s figure, her face beaming as Chris places his hand against her swollen, round belly. This is the baby Ashley is making plans to give away. (There appears to plenty of evidence to support the fact that this is someone who is pregnant, but it comes from one source without independent corroboration. This is akin to accepting everything a narcissist tells you when you are speaking to a narcissist without checking elsewhere if these ´facts´are accurate. Of course, this is a common vulnerability for victims, the high level of trust exhibited as consequence of the empathic trait of Decency and how we corrupt the trait to ensnare.)
The women begin messaging, but not before Sam has called her husband, Dave, her parents and Dave’s parents in excitement. She doesn’t spend much time wondering why they look so happy about the pregnancy, bearing in mind that it is unwanted. They’re young, she thinks. (Note the corrupting emotional thinking which has caused a discrepancy and red flag to be missed in the clamour to alert others to this apparent happy and encouraging development).
“Are you guys talking to any other adoptive families?” ventures Sam. “I’m just scared of being hurt. I want to be a mom so badly.” (The empathic trait of Honesty appears and signals the victims vulnerability, the type of comment which our kind instinctively pick up on.)
“Nope,” comes the reply. (Likely to be a lie – the narcissist will be doing this to others.)
Minutes later, Sam shoots back: “I’m crying.” (The victim is metaphorically showing her throat to the narcissist and has walked into the Virtual Fuel Matrix of the Narcissist as a Non Intimate Secondary Source.)
Ashley’s life had been harrowing. Her parents were abusive, her mother killed herself. She was raped by her brother at the age of 14, resulting in a premature baby, a little girl who was given up for adoption. The adoptive parents shut Ashley out, preventing her from seeing her child. It would be hard to write a bleaker story. (All of this of course appeals to the empathic traits of Compassion, Strong Moral Compass and Decency which the emotional thinking will be hijacking and causing the victims to dispense with the application of logic.)
The contact is constant. (Akin to love-bombing. The narcissist has scented blood and the desire to exact control and gain fuel results in this repeated contact.)
Sometimes Chris takes over texting because Ashley is feeling sick. (Chris will not exist – this is the narcissist pretending to be the boyfriend).When they talk on the phone, Sam finds Ashley’s conversation immature, makes her excuses and hangs up after half an hour. They text about adoption plans late into the evening.
The temperature has now dropped to -5C, and a light snow is falling. Sam is exhausted from messaging. She explains that she’s heading out for dinner, and so won’t be on her phone for a few hours. She passes on her adoption agency’s details. (Sam is inadvertently asserting control through this act of passing on her adoption agency’s details. This wounds the narcissist.)
But then, suddenly, Ashley becomes abusive. (The narcissist must assert control and therefore applies a Corrective Devaluation through Provocation : Insult) She tells Sam she would be a bad parent. (No emotional empathy exhibited in making such a statement.) Shocked and hurt, Sam stops replying. The adrenaline that has kept her going all day suddenly drains away, and she crashes on to the sofa.
“It’s just – it’s devastating. There’s no other way to describe it,” she says later, remembering this moment.
Sam assumes she will never hear from Ashley again. She and Dave consider deleting their Instagram posts appealing for pregnant women to contact them. Sam begins to feel that adopting a baby will take a long, long time. (The withdrawal from the interaction has reduced emotional thinking to a degree which means that logic starts to apply and Sam and Dave apply logic, through potential no contact and consider (but fail to do it) deleting the Instagram posts.
Then, exactly a month later, as icy patches of ground are beginning to thaw, a message arrives. Ashley tells Sam the baby has been born early, at 31 weeks. (Electronic hoover – there was a Hoover Trigger and the Hoover Execution Critieria are met (mainly because the electronic conduit is open) so the narcissist hoovers. Exasperated, Sam tells Ashley to contact her adoption agency, or leave her family alone: “Have a nice life and don’t contact me.” (Logic is prevailing, there is an attempt to apply no contact but it is weak because the victim is trying to control the narcissist (which will not work) by saying contact the agency or leave me alone.
It only takes 14 messages, though, for Ashley to persuade Sam that there really is a premature baby waiting for adoption. (The attempt at no contact was weak and failed. The electronic conduit remained open, the hoovers continued because Sam will have kept replying thus providing fuel and signalling the could be controlled, thus the narcissist kept hoovering. This repeated involvement invoked The Devil´s Pitchfork and one spike of course is emotional thinking rising. Rise it did and therefore logic receded and Sam ends up persuaded that there is actually a baby. Again, nothing is done to verify this outside of what the narcissist is saying because Sam is being governed by emotional thinking).She names the medical centre where she gave birth and Sam and Dave get ready to fly there. Ashley sends a photograph of her cuddling a premature baby, wrapped in a white towel, wires trailing from the small body. It’s captioned, “She’s yours.”
“Omg I’m literally losing it. I can’t wait to meet her,” Sam replies. “I can’t wait to spoil that pretty little baby!”(Fuel)
There are three days of non-stop talking. Then Ashley blocks Sam on Instagram. When Sam calls, Ashley doesn’t pick up. (Lots of fuel and the narcissist has control. The narcissist also perceives that control will be lost when Sam and Dave fly to the medical centre as they will realise there is no baby, thus having achieved control and instinctively needing to maintain it, the narcissist seals the issue of control by blocking Sam.
There is no explanation, just silence.
Distressed, frantic, but already sensing that Ashley has been getting a thrill out of tormenting her, Sam posts a drawing of a broken heart on Instagram.
“They don’t ask for money, they don’t ask for material things like a lot of scams do. They want your time, emotional investment and quite frankly someone to talk to while promising you what you are desperate to find: your future child,” she writes in the caption.
“We need to talk about this.” (The narcissist will have seen this and gained fuel from this post. Sam is continuing to engage and thus her Emotional Thinking continues to be fed. If logic prevailed she would have not made this post at this time.)
The comments start coming in. Sam is not the only one whom Ashley has tricked.
In many countries, social media would be the last place anyone would look for a baby to adopt. In the US, though, most states allow something called private adoption, where couples hoping to adopt and birth mothers find each other independently. The arrangement is then formalised by an attorney or an adoption agency.
When Sam and Dave first signed up at their adoption agency, they were number 21 on the list of prospective adoptive parents. The agency warned them to expect a long wait and said they might get quicker results advertising themselves on the internet. (No good advice – well intentioned advice but placing vulnerable individuals into a hunting ground. The internet could be used but is a far safer manner and certainly not on social media.)
Pregnant women who don’t want to keep their child have the same choice – to approach adoption agencies, or search for adoptive parents online. Apparently, many feel that by making contact with parents directly they have more control.
At the time of writing, #hopingtoadopt is hashtagged 44,892 times on Instagram; #waitingtoadopt is mentioned 18,844 times and #hopefuladoptiveparents 10,758. Images of letter boards jostle for the attention of birth mothers: No Bump, Still Pumped, We’re Adopting; Share This Photo and Help Our Family Grow; We are Officially a Waiting Family. (A veritable hunting ground indeed of empathic victims.)
There aren’t enough babies to go round, though, so many of these thousands of hopeful parents will be disappointed. The problem has got worse since countries that once provided large numbers of babies for adoption, such as Russia, China and Guatemala, clamped down.
“Most countries have ceased to allow the adoption of their children internationally, so the raw numbers have plummeted over the last 10 to 15 years by huge margins,” says Adam Pertman, president of the National Centre on Adoption and Permanency.
Unplanned pregnancies have also become less common in the US – and the reduced stigma around single parenthood means that, when they do occur, the mothers are less likely to give the child away. The National Council for Adoption’s last survey estimates that less than 0.5% of babies are put up for adoption.
Couples hoping to adopt may already have spent years trying to conceive, and even if they haven’t, the long wait for a baby to become available for adoption can be frustrating and lead to impatience.
“Urgency creates desperation, and desperation creates sometimes decisions not being made with enough thought,” says adoption specialist Dawn Smith Pleiner. (Indeed.)
“Even though in the back of your head you know that it’s probably not real, there’s that glimmer, that feeling that there’s a 1% chance it could be,” says Sam. “And you go with it anyway.” (Such is the power of Emotional Thinking. If there is only a 1% chance of you achieving something would you do it applying logic. No you would not, but this comment encapsulates how logic flies out of the window and Emotional Thinking takes over).
The comments stack up under Sam’s broken-heart Instagram post. In Utah, Kristen and Michael Johnson have also been contacted by Ashley and Chris, though this time the teenagers from Georgia have used a different account. In Kentucky, Ashley Middleton and her husband Brian have received messages from this second account. Another woman says she has been contacted by both Instagram accounts. (It is most often women who are approached – two couples say that Ashley refused to speak to their male partner.) The photos all feature the same pregnant blonde-haired young woman from Georgia, offering up her child. (The ability of the internet to allow the narcissist to gain fuel and control from a multiplicity of NISS appliances with the fuel matrix with minimal effort but causing a maximum of distress and torment).
Kristen starts getting messages from Ashley on 14 March, the day after – unbeknown to her – Ashley has ghosted Sam. (The narcissist seamlessly moves on to the next victim, leaving hurt behind but of course with no sense of remorse, guilt or conscience, only the never-ending need for control and fuel, the narcissist marches on).
Over rambling, intense phone-calls, Ashley urges Kristen to visit her 31-week-old prematurely born baby. “One time, I talked to her for four hours. It’s a long time. I don’t even talk to my own mother for that long, ever,” says Kristen. (Red flag – monopolisation of time as the narcissist exerts control and gains fuel, but red flag is missed.)
Ashley hits the Johnsons at a particularly vulnerable moment.
They’ve been waiting two-and-a-half years to adopt one more child. “We were so tired and sick of trying to adopt, and wanting it to be done,” Kristen says. “We got highly emotional about it instead of thinking more rationally.”
Kristen books flights to Atlanta for $500. In the frantic scrum to find a babysitter, she realises that Ashley hasn’t sent any documents from the hospital. She rings to double check. It’s a brief phone call: the charge nurse tells her there is no 15-year-old called Ashley, no father called Chris – and no baby.
“My stomach just dropped and I was literally sick. We cried a lot. My husband cried,” she says.
“We couldn’t believe, after everything we had been through, that we still fell for it.” (Those of you reading this and having experienced narcissists will know precisely why they fell for it.)
There was a Facebook group where couples shared stories like this – the internet has made it easier to carry out a scam, but also harder to sustain one. The names used by many scammers all over the country are shared and circulated quickly. (The issue of sustainability is a red herring all that matters is the number of available targets and there are hundreds of thousands which means that the relevant narcissists will move from NISS to NISS to NISS. It does not matter how short the interaction is, all that matters is that fuel is provided and the narcissist can move to another NISS victim within the blink of an eye, which of course is what happened when the narcissist moved on from Sam to Kristen.)
Ashley, it turns out, uses a number of names and accounts: Alyssa and Josh, Ciara and Daniel, Mackenzie and Matt. Each couple’s story has familiar elements, either the same abusive parents, the mum lost to suicide or the connection to Georgia. Usually, it’s all three. Messages are incessant, phone calls come at strange times, and conversations drag out over hours. Sometimes the ruse lasts for a day, sometimes a few. It typically ends in tears. (The narcissist uses economy of effort because the manipulation always works, so why change it?)
Sam thinks the scammer’s real name is Melissa, because a couple of the fake Instagram accounts have tagged someone with this name. Melissa has square-framed glasses, tangled red hair, and looks as though she’s in her late 20s.
Kristen isn’t convinced. She has a hunch the scammer is a spiteful middle-aged woman. Both agree, though, that the perpetrator is probably based somewhere not far from Atlanta, because she knows the area so well.
Other victims have different theories. Some wonder if the scammer is in fact a group of people, because of the amount of time it must take to send so many messages – perhaps a group of anti-adoption activists, whose aim is to keep hopeful parents busy, to demoralise them and to hinder their search for real birth mothers.
(Their theorising misses the critical issue – they are dealing with a narcissist or narcissists.)
Juli Wisotsky, an adoption attorney based in Athens, Georgia, says she too has had her time wasted.
In March, an adoption agency from another state asked her to talk to a pregnant girl who had matched with one of their couples. Although Juli was about to go on a platinum wedding anniversary trip with her husband, she delayed it to talk. She and the 15-year-old exchanged messages through the night, as the girl claimed she was being admitted to hospital.
Despite her 23 years’ experience in the job, it took Juli nearly 24 hours to realise she was being conned. The final giveaway was an ultrasound image, stripped of all identifying details. (Again see the power of emotional thinking – an intelligent attorney whose field of specialism is adoption is similarly manipulated.)
“It’s partly my fault as I’m a very nurturing person. So I’m trying to nurture her and help her,” Juli says. (The self-flagellation of the empath, blaming oneself for being manipulated.)
And the same scammer has remained active.
Since March, Juli says, she and her colleagues have been called by families from Georgia, Colorado, Texas, Alaska, New York, Minnesota, Alabama, Illinois and Utah. All of the families were approached on Instagram by a young woman from Georgia. (The internet allows an extensive reach for this narcissist).
“The emotional scams took me – when I was younger – completely off-guard,” says Dawn Smith Pleiner, who has run the Vermont-based Friends in Adoption agency for nearly four decades.
Long before the arrival of the internet, women would call for “hour-long-talking-with-your-best-friend conversations”, she says, and it was “never ever to do with money – never.”
“Then you realise that the due date is long gone, and you’re still talking.” (A useful example of how a narcissist would obtain fuel in the pre-internet age.)
“There are so many lonely people out in this world today that just want some attention.” (Wrong. You are dealing with narcissists who seek fuel. This type of well-intentioned comment from someone in a position of authority exemplifies the problem and how hard it is to detect.)
It’s a scam that’s hard to prosecute. Most states still don’t have the legal tools. (Coupled with the fact that they have not actually identified what they are facing.)
Since September 2018 there have been laws in place in Georgia to stop financial adoption fraud, but not the emotional kind. “It’s very frustrating,” says Juli Wisotsky.
One option could be to raise a civil case for intentional infliction of emotional distress. “But, does somebody want to get involved in a lawsuit for that?” she asks. “Or do they just want to let it go and try to heal and grieve what is a loss to them? Even though there was no baby there, they thought there was a baby. It’s a grief.”
Traumatised couples regularly report this scam to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre. In a statement, the FBI told the BBC that although they were aware of emotional adoption scams, these were still uncommon. None of the parents have received a follow-up call. (Emotional adoption scams may be uncommon but what is not uncommon is that this is narcissists manipulating people but the FBI do not see that this is what happening and therefore they see it as an uncommon aspect and therefore do not apply any resource to it.)
But it’s not only the potential parents who have been hurt. There’s another person too. Because Ashley isn’t just a fake Instagram profile, cobbled together from some images and an active imagination. Ashley is a real 22-year-old, who lives in Georgia. Her name is Ashley King – and her identity has been stolen.
Sam, playing detective, finds Ashley’s profile easily – the pictures are all public. She messages her to warn her that her photographs are being used to trick people. And she points out that whoever runs the fake Instagram accounts knows intimate details about her life, her husband and her baby.
Ashley’s voice lowers as she describes the shock of seeing photos of her newborn child on another person’s Instagram account.
“The woman had loads of people thinking that they were going to adopt my daughter,” she says. “It’s a really scary thought. Why would someone do that?” (A narcissist who acquires character traits and has no emotional empathy).
She immediately files a report with Gwinnett County Police. What the scammer says about Ashley’s childhood is completely false, she explains, but when it comes to her daughter the impostor even knows what hospital she was born in.
“King stated the only information that was incorrect on her daughter was that she was listed as being born premature at 2lb 8oz when in reality she was born at 2lb 12oz,” reads the police report.
“All other information was correct.”
Sam thinks it’s likely that the fake Ashley knows the real one. (This is a possibility or more likely her information is very easy to obtain and her emotional thinking makes her think that it is someone who knows her when it is not, they have just done a good job of the gathering of intelligence for the purposes of the manipulation.)
“I don’t live in a very big town but if you picked a random woman out of my town and expected me to know her life story, I wouldn’t know it,” she says. “You would only know those details if you actually knew someone.”
But Ashley has no idea who it might be, and this makes her nervous.
“Now I have to look over my shoulder making sure this woman isn’t watching my kid, because she knows about where I lived,” she says. “It’s really scary.” (Ashley and her family have since moved house.) (The narcissist may think on this and gain Thought Fuel or indeed knows Ashley and gained Proximate Fuel from this, Ashley may well have told the narcissist about the narcissist and not even realise she has done so.)
Georgia has a law on identity theft, but it’s debatable whether it is applicable in this case. A few states have already passed legislation to tackle online impersonation, but prosecutions may not succeed if no money has changed hands. Who can put a value on a broken heart?
Gwinnett County Police say they are not currently investigating.
It must be hard for the scammer to remember exactly what she has said to different couples. When Sam is first contacted it’s by someone pretending to be 16 years old. But a month later, Ashley says she will get her dad to call the adoption attorney “since I am only 15”. (Most narcissists are not the puppeteering masterminds that people think and will make such errors, but it does not matter because often the victims do not talk to one another and even if they do, various factors, some of which have been touched on above, mean that nothing is done).
The scammer tells another couple that her middle name is Lorraine. Later, they suggest Olivia Lorraine as a potential name for the baby. She then replies, “Olivia is my middle name! Sounds perfect to us!”
But these are not her biggest mistakes.
To call or text hopeful parents, the scammer uses non-fixed Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone numbers, the technical name for calls that go over the internet, created through companies such as Google or Skype. These numbers require very little information on sign-up, making them difficult to trace.
But just occasionally she gets careless. One of the numbers used to contact Juli and Kristen isn’t an internet number. It’s a real mobile number, from Georgia, and registered to someone called Harry.
Type the number into Google and it immediately pops up – on a very pink website selling homemade slime. Thick, gluey and intensely squishable, slime was the toy of 2017 (the same year the site was last updated). The shop sells slime for $5, shipping is the same again. It also, inexplicably, sells six cupcakes for $18. And there is an email address with a name – Gabby.
When I call the number, it doesn’t go well. After my first question Gabby goes silent. Then she hangs up. (The narcissist instinctively recognises that control is being threatened and the reporter is issuing Challenge Fuel and therefore asserts control by hanging up and ending the call.)
Jessica Simmons, a mother of two adopted children, both of whom she found on Facebook, knows the name Gabby, and that telephone number, all too well.
In August 2016, a young woman contacted her on Facebook, saying she was pregnant. She began to fill in forms with Jessica’s adoption agency, giving her name and address: a small town outside Atlanta. Her age: 23.
“After about a month of talking to her every day, I reached out to one of her family members by private message,” says Jessica. The family member told her this was not the first time Gabby had pretended to be pregnant, and not to trust her. There was “nothing anybody could do to stop her” Jessica was told. (Note here that this victim has sought independent verification of what she is being told and learns at an early juncture that Gabby is manipulating. Logic prevails. Note however that nobody recognises what it is and the family adopt the position of there not being anything that can be done.
Three years later, a pregnant 16-year-old from Georgia called a Google Voice number on a Minnesotan couple’s adoption page. As they talked with her for hours, they inadvertently recorded part of a conversation.
Listening back to the recording, the young woman’s nasal voice still gets to the wife, making her anxious. “She spoke very low and quiet,” she remembers. “She was very needy and demanding and it made me very uncomfortable.”
As well as the fake Instagram accounts, Gabby also has a personal one. Photos of a curly-haired girl with glasses sit alongside slime-making videos, in which her voice can be heard. It’s the same as in the recording, and it’s the one I heard on the telephone.
Nothing has been posted on this Instagram account since June 2018. There is no mention of babies, adoption or pregnancy. The list of people she is following is revealing, however – it includes Ashley King.
By the time I speak to Ashley a second time, she herself has come to suspect Gabby may be the woman impersonating her, after stumbling across a bizarre series of messages from her on Facebook, most of which she doesn’t remember having received.
The first message congratulates Ashley on the birth of her daughter. Then they keep coming, asking for baby pictures and updates on the child’s health, month after month. At one point Gabby says:
“Can you send me a video of yourself saying, ‘Hey’? Then I’ll leave you alone.
“Or ‘Hey I’m Ashley.’”
Although that request goes unanswered, Ashley does occasionally send short, polite replies. And once or twice she even responds to Gabby’s strange demands – for example by sending a photo of her post-baby stomach. A photo which, of course, ends up on Instagram. (The narcissist is compiling the information from the real Ashley who does not realise that she is being manipulated even though some of the requests are obviously odd -once again this shows how the red flags are flying high but the power of emotional thinking means they are ignored):
At the time, Ashley points out, she had a newly born premature baby and passed much of her time in a sleep-deprived haze. It was only later that she realised just how many messages she’d received from this random Facebook friend, whom her husband had known vaguely when they were younger. (More red flags and the power of ET ascribing the missing of the red flags to being sleep deprived and thus missing what was actually impacting on the victim).
“When I was going through them, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, I should’ve seen this a long time ago, when it first started happening,’” says Ashley. “I was very angry at myself. How I could not have caught it before?” (How many of you are nodding are you read this. Finally logic, long after the event, makes an appearance because ET has been reduced through no engagement with the narcissist.)
Juli Wisotsky can’t quite believe it when she ends up on the phone with Gabby again on 31 July, four months after their first conversation. From her law office, she takes a call from a 15-year-old named Mackenzie on behalf of a couple in New York, with a story she feels like she’s heard before. After one minute 20 seconds the girl hangs up and blocks her number.
This call comes more than two weeks after I started messaging Gabby and asking questions about her conversations with couples hoping to adopt.
A number of fake accounts Gabby used were reported to Instagram by her victims, but they remained online for months, until the BBC started asking Instagram why. Then they were deleted. An Instagram spokesman said: “Keeping people safe on Instagram is one of our biggest priorities. We’re aware of this issue and will disable any further accounts in violation of our policies. We encourage anyone to report content they think is against our guidelines using our in-app tools.”
“It is breaking people’s hearts,” says Juli. “It’s just wrong and it’s evil. And that’s a strong word to use. But I believe it is.”
“The more I think about her and who she probably is – she probably has a very sad existence,” says Sam. “Part of me thinks that she might not even realise what she’s doing is wrong.”
Sam just wishes she would stop.
(But narcissists will not. That is why you have to control the only thing you can control -yourself and apply no contact and ensure other people are warned about the behaviour of narcissists before emotional thinking takes hold.)