A Day in the Life of a Narcissist

He said he’d be here at 9:oo a.m.

Then he changed his mind.

He didn’t want to do what the kids wanted to do so he said, “I’m not coming at nine.  I don’t want to go where they want to go.”

The kids called and sent texts asking why he didn’t want to go where they wanted to go.

He avoided answering calls and texts.

I went to his house to ask him why he is manipulating the kids in this way.

He refused to answer the door.

Later, he blamed me for turning everything into an issue.

He relented and said he’d come at 9:30.  He showed up at 9:10 and huffed because the kids weren’t ready.

I asked if he had everything he needed for their outing.  He said he didn’t because they wouldn’t be having any fun anyway.

A 60 year-old man stood on the sidewalk in front of my house and pouted like a 6 year-old spoiled brat.


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33 comments

  1. Sorry you had to go through that, and that your KIDS have to go through that. My father was NPD and his public tantrums were quite embarrassing.

    However, eventually it will settle down, they will get into a (dysfunctional) routine, and his blowups SHOULD be less common.

  2. I feel sad that anyone would choose to live life in such an unhappy way.

    I feel happy that you have chosen not to.

  3. Amazing, isn’t it? They still can’t figure out that it’s not all about them! I sometimes wonder which planet they were dropped off from. The Land of the Lost?

  4. Hello Writing Goddess,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    I needed to hear that there may be a lessening to this. Some day.

    I have noticed that the kids take less time to lick their wounds. That’s a good thing.

    I guess.

  5. Susan,

    Your comment reminds me that our situation could be so much worse. We could be living with that every single day.

    Thank you. ;)

  6. Zaira,

    I wish they would all go back to that planet.

    As they board the rocket to get them there, the kids and I (and any other survivor/thrivers who want to join us) will be waving and shouting,
    “IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!!”

  7. Could you imagine the conversations that go on there?
    “I am the most successful, handsome, awesome person here.”
    “Well, I have a library named after me, dress better, and my future is brighter since I make more money, spend it like water, and drink champagne instead of kool-aid.”

    LOL! I made myself laugh. Hope your weekend was all you hoped for.

  8. Zaira,

    And you made me laugh. :o)

    Imagine how they are dressed. Imagine the walls lined with mirrors. Visualize them sitting around waiting for someone to source them.

    HA!

  9. I see a lot of bow ties, bright colored clothing, wing-tip shoes…at first they are mingling, until they realize there is no source. They then are sitting with their legs crossed, pouting at the competition, thinking about how they ARE more special than everyone else in the room, and wondering where/when they are going to find that person that agrees.

    I admit that I fed it…at the beginning, unknowingly, I fed that need of his to feel special. How could something like that be so harmful? Now, I hope I know better.

  10. Zaira,

    Oh, hell! I fed it, too. But isn’t that part of the fun and intimacy of being in a relationship – treating a partner as if he/she is special? Clearly, I was misdirected.

    I see them strutting in top-of-the-line outdoor gear, flexing muscles and dying their graying hair.

  11. OH the “top of the line” had me rolling!!! Yes, so true! Only the best will do! LOL!

    I think my mother’s advice of waking up every day and thinking, “what can I do for him today?” was unknowingly BAD advice. She did not deal with a narcissist, how would she know? I think that is actually good advice directed toward the right recipient. The balancing act is…is he asking himself the same question every morning also? Will he go out of his way for YOU? Does he surprise you because he is supposed to (it looks good) or because he thinks you deserve it? Does he jump at the opportunity to buy something that you have expressed an interest in or is it what he thinks you should have? All these questions are foremost in my mind these days…

  12. Jesse,

    It is so very tiresome. I am sorry! It never ceases to amaze me how selfish these individuals can be even toward their own children. It hurts.

    Humor helps a lot and good friends and to know you are not alone in this.

    I am sending you all kinds of wishes for brighter and easier days ahead for your kids and you.

  13. Zaira!

    Oh God!

    I’m writing down those questions. They will form the cheat sheet I carry with me. Especially the one about buying something I’ve expressed interest in versus what he thinks I should have.

    And YES, ladies, we DO deserve to have a someone who will go out of his way for each of us.

    We are deserving of consideration and excellent treatment.

  14. Lynn,

    Thank you for the kind wishes.

    I had someone tell me that the smartest thing I did was educate my kids in all of this.

    Time will tell.

  15. I also love Zaira’s last comment – EACH partner should be asking, “What can I do for him/her today?” The balance is crucial, and the questions are crucial too.

  16. Susan,

    I’m so glad you pointed that out. Excellent point. I was so jazzed about her questions, I missed the importance of the balance.

    Thanks! ;)

  17. A few more:
    Will he grab your hand when you extend it?
    Does his arm naturally drape your shoulders or rest on your leg when you are relaxing?
    Does he pull you close when you are upset or does he push you away?
    Will he wipe away your tears? (Or blame you for manipulating him?)
    Does he call you for no reason at all? (vs. the task list check up)
    Is the silence comfortable?

    Does it feel natural for you to return the affection? –Does he accept it as much as he gives it?

    Now, before you think I am smart, I have to reveal that I have a very good teacher and he doesn’t realize how much he has taught me about myself. His love, generosity, and kindness is completely genuine. Since I have the comparison, it makes it easy for me to see and appreciate the good things. Accepting all of this has been a process for sure! But even if it ends, I have learned something very valuable about/for myself. I deserve this and there is no going back.

  18. Zaira,

    And still more…

    When you tell him you are afraid, does he turn from you and go into himself, or does he warmly tell you that he’ll do what he can to alleviate your fears, and even express some of his own fears?

    When you are crying next to him in bed, does he roll over and turn his back to you, or does he embrace you and stay up to let you talk it out?

    When you muster up the courage to gently express what it is that you need out of a relationship, does he tell you that you are too needy, or does he share his needs in an effort to increase the intimacy and work toward a strong union?

    Z, you are blessed to have such a teacher. I hear a part of you that doubts it will last. Is that because our track records have shown that the goodness can’t/won’t last?

    I always believed it could be supportive – a mutual sharing and encouraging of growth. Only recently, I finally realized that I actually deserve that kind of relationship.

  19. I don’t know how you put up with it. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that. Well done you for continuing to be strong.

  20. Very good questions!

    You know, he is my best friend. I can call him for anything and he will drop it all to be there for me. He tells me all the time that he will always be here to support me and give me whatever I need. I believe him and I am so blessed.

    My doubt does partially come from the harsh lesson that things are not always as they seem or nothing lasts forever. (it is the latter in this case) I am a bit cynical by nature. It works for me. If I don’t believe it fully until it is obviously true, I have not sacrificed so much of myself. (we talked before about how this is a bit sad..or is it reality?)

    He has set some specific goals for his life, but they are not mutual as our life paths have been very different up until now. To be successful in his life plan, he has to give me up…so he struggles with relaxing his ideals and continuing in his current state of bliss or going back into the wilderness with no guarantees.

    For me, I am going with the flow of my life right now. Is that the chicken way out? I don’t think so. I stumbled onto this wonderful human being who has seen me through the worst part of my struggles and still wants to be a part of it. He has cheered me on, wiped my tears, given me strength, and shared my frustrations. I am not ready for more than I have with him right now and neither is he, really.

    My questions continue: If the time comes and I want more, will he be able to give it to me? Will I want that from him? How can we make it more? Is there more to be had? Relationships are like hiking. There are hills and valleys, bumpy terrain, beautiful scenery, fresh air, mud, sweat… Sometimes you start off and don’t have a specific destination, but you are willing to wander into the unknown and perhaps get a little bit on the way. You think: What the heck, I might find a waterfall and a rainbow at the end!

  21. Sarah,

    Thank you. I’m glad for you and your little ones. ;)

    one day at a time …

  22. Zaira,

    Oh my! I’m thankful you found us here.

    I read on @JustineMusk’s blog (Tribal Writer) this great quote from Howard Thurman. To poorly paraphrase, it goes something like, “First, discover where you want to go. Next, figure out who you want to go with.”

    I’ve never done that.

    I always orchestrate and plan around a partner.

    It’s time to figure out where I’m going, then I’ll see who I bump into along the way. Kinda like how you’re going with the flow of your life.

    p.s. I recall telling you that you could write. Need I say more?

  23. I always check out the links here. There is some interesting stuff out there! Thanks for sharing and facilitating some of my healing :)

    And thanks for the encouragement on writing. Somehow, I have to be as inspired and confident to write about research this week as I have an hour presentation to give in a few weeks. (Can you say jitters???)

    I, too, am good at arranging my life around their plans. I had this panic a while ago when we first started dating. I was trying to figure out how I could give him what he wanted. It involved HUGE sacrifices for me so imagine my relief when he told me that we both knew it wouldn’t work that way for us.

    That taught me a lot about myself, just like with you realizing that you need to figure out where you are going first. I am a pleaser, mediator. I will sacrifice my own needs for others and even though at times it is ok to do that, I really need to monitor it to make sure I do not compromise myself again. I learned that I need to stay on my path (wherever that was going) and if his intersects mine for a while or a lifetime, that would be splendid… as long as I don’t have to ditch mine and cross over to his. Right now, we are along side each other and that is perfect.

  24. Zaira,

    I like the sound of that – “we are along side each other…”

    I was at a particularly low point today, and a friend drove up to the house. Pleasant surprise. Her parting words were, “That’s his journey. You only need to worry about your journey.”

    I don’t know why I feel that this applies to your comment, but I felt a huge sense of relief in realizing that. Once again I remember I’m only accountable to me, and my journey. I can assist, help and support others along the way – especially my kids – but ultimately, I need to tend to my journey.

  25. It applies because you were given a message in a couple of different ways. You got it!

    I am sorry you were having a bad day. Today, I hope your path is happy and content. Take care of you.

  26. My dad gave me a framed quote once. He said it reminded him of my other half and me: “”Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” Albert Camus. This is what all of you are saying. Keep that thought stapled to your forehead!

  27. Pat,

    I remember that quote – always loved that one.

  28. There is so much wisdom in these comments. Jessie and Zaira, I wonder if had had those questions long ago, if I would have seen the light sooner. They are so revealing. I cannot tell you the number of times I have had him turn his back on me when I was crying. I cannot tell you how I had to muster up my courage to talk to him about what I needed in our relationship….simple things that most people would understand. I guess I don’t have to tell you, because you have been there.

    I am still trying to get this divorce finished so I can live in peace. The kids grew up and moved away. Then I realized, it would never get better, and I had to grow up and move away too.

  29. Joy,

    It takes courage to do that “growing up”, as you say, and make that necessary change. I admire your bravery. I hope you find the peace you’ve been looking for. I know I found it when I left my situation.

    All the best,

    Jesse

  30. Hi Joy. Nice to meet you. There was a HUGE boulder lifted off my shoulders when I left. Even though so much was still unknown and there was going to be big hurdles to face, I felt so much peace! I wish you much luck and peace in your life transformation. :)

  31. Holy wow. My mother-in-law has done this numerous times. She’s pretty high functioning for a narcissist, so there are times when I still question whether or not I’m just imagining things. But this….is just SO much of what she does. And if I try to talk to her about it (which almost never happens because it makes for family incidents) it somehow in her world becomes my fault.

    Hang in there. I really can’t say it will get any better because it seems to only get worse as she gets older. But just keep hanging in there & remind yourself there’s so much more to life than the narcissist who just happens to be in yours. (This is a mantra I use sometimes :)

  32. Jenn,

    What you talk of is the “crazy-making” aspect of having a narcissist in our lives. They deny, they project, they contradict, they speak in word salads. It gets to the point where we forget which side is up.

    Just knowing that helps tremendously.

    I like your mantra. ;)

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