They Look Through You

Whether it comes from years of looking inward, or years of not seeing clearly, I don’t know.  Their eyes take on a cloudiness that makes it look like they have a difficult time focusing on the rest of the world.

You will feel yourself fighting the urge to hold a magnifying glass between yourself and the Narcissist, but it won’t help.  If you aren’t careful, they’ll use the magnifying glass against you.  They’ll find your flaws and use them to illustrate the fact that they are superior to you.

They’ll point out that they cook eggs better than you, or sweep the floor better or dress better or laugh easier.


The Making of a Narcissist

Narcissists are made in one of two ways.  Either they were never seen when they were young. or they were the center of the Universe when they were young.

In the first case  –  the child who is never seen – there is a desperate need to stand out and be noticed.  Their feet hit the floor in the morning with a purpose.  They spend their day proving  that they matter.

Their eyes dart around while their brain frantically looks for opportunities to make each situation about them.

In the second case – the child who matures with the knowledge that everything is and always will be about him – the eyes are calm, in a “never have anything to worry about” way.  Their brains aren’t preoccupied with the desperate need to make everything about them.

They operate with a belief that everything is about them, so there’s no need to focus on anything else.

In either case, the conversations run the same.

You might be chatting with him and say something like, “Wow, that was so generous of Bob to give me a gift card,”  to which the Narcissist will say, “Yeah, well I got two gift cards, and a box of chocolates.”

You might say, “I’ve had a recurring pain in my neck,” and the Narcissist responds with, “Well I have a chronic sharp pain that runs from my neck to my sciatic nerve and I haven’t slept since I don’t know when.”

Or you might say nothing at all, and the Narcissist will come up with random crap about her secrets for her self-described flawless complexion; or the massive amounts of emails he receives in one day due to his popularity; or the way the light always shines favorably on him wherever he happens to be seated in a restaurant.


They Look Through You

They can’t help it.

They can’t see you.

You could try grabbing their face with both of your hands to train their eyes on you.

You could steal their spotlight and hold it up to your face.

You could say preposterous things or balance 16 books on your head and stand on one foot.

You might exhaust all measures in trying to get them to see you.

They can’t see you. 

*Yes, I am shouting.*


It’s okay to move on.

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  1. And you have … and I’m proud of you …

  2. My husband is really struggling with how his mother can’t see her grandchildren because her self-reflection eclipses them. I have no idea how he’s going to ultimately deal with the situation, but this is so dead on with what we deal with between her and the kids. Well, her and anyone really. I sent this to him hoping it would help.

  3. Jenn,

    It’s difficult when our own parents can’t see our amazing children for who they are.

    I hope the post helps.

  4. this was such a hard thing to learn…. but HUGELY important to understand.

  5. And you have two of the best kids in the world. Love them both along with their mother – that I have loved for many many years.

  6. Uncle D,

    Are you trying to make me cry?

    Love you right back. ;)

  7. The clarity of your writing and descriptions are soothing and stimulating at the same time. Your observations make we want to tell related stories, but then relieve me of the work because you’ve already explained it so well.
    Thank you.

  8. Elizabeth,

    Thanks a bunch, and you are welcome.

    But I gotta tell you… I don’t know how familiar you are with this blog, but I was in serious need of help when I started writing here. I’ve been at it over two years now and the healing my kids and I have experienced is tremendous.

    I so appreciate you reading and commenting, but I want to encourage you to write your own story.

    Writing my story changed my life.

  9. “You will feel yourself fighting the urge to hold a magnifying glass between yourself and the Narcissist…”

    Perhaps we could use a mirror instead, and when they become enamored of their reflection, we can escape behind it?

    Just a thought. :)

  10. Donna,

    Excellent thought. They’d have a death-grip on the mirror and be totally transfixed by their image.

    They’d never know we were gone.

    Kinda how it is in real life…

  11. Jesse, Thank you.
    I spent one whole afternoon reading through your thoughtful posts and I keep visiting. I believe we all have a story to tell, but how we tell it is so important…and you’ve told your story so beautifully.
    I believe you when you say you were “in serious need of help” at the start, sure, but yet you were still able to produce this! That’s amazing to me. During the initial stages of my divorce I was writing, but it was fragmented chunks of craziness(and sometimes just ugliness)…most of which I kept private or shared in an anonymous divorce support group online…I just kept writing because somehow I knew it was helping me work it all out.
    Anyhoo, I love reading your posts and maybe someday I’ll have my own blog to help heal and inspire and transform. Thanks again!

  12. Elizabeth.

    I am so touched by your words.

    I’ve been thinking about your comment all day, and waited to post until I could think of something eloquent to respond with.

    It must be the remnants of a life with a Narcissist, because I still find it hard to believe that I’m worth such praise. I guess that means I still have work to do. But then we all do, so there’s that.

    Please let us know if you do start a blog one day. There’s a lot to be said for having genuine, supportive, kind cheerleaders like you see in the comment section here. I’d love to return the favor. ;)

    All the best,


  13. Jesse,

    This is so spot on. I love your writing! It is clear and poignant.

    It actually helped me a lot when I first learned about NPD because I realized I was not crazy, and I finally had some kind of explanation for my ex’s bizarre and cruel behaviors. It has not actually made things easier but it has given me an ability to predict the unpredictable and expect the worst and be surprised if I get off any easier when I deal with him.

    Thank you for being here. Your voice is encouraging and soothing.

    All the best to you and yours!!!

  14. Thanks Lynn. ;)

    I felt the same way when I discovered NPD. It was like I’d been playing a game and I didn’t know the rules. Learning about NPD was like learning the rules for a wicked game. I’m looking forward to the day I can be done playing.

    All the best to you and your three.

  15. Jesse,

    I could not agree with you more about wishing to be done with the game. It is twisted and exhausting. I long for some kind of normal, where I can breathe and am not always trying to offset the cortisol that runs through my veins and has for years because of dealing with a N for so long.

    I look forward to a time in which I interact with everyone in my life and do not feel like I have to stay one step ahead of the next attack.

    Warm wishes for a peaceful day!

  16. Lynn,

    I love how you describe life with a N – “trying to offset the cortisol that runs through my veins…”

    I so wish that for you and your kids.

  17. I enjoyed reading your post and all the comments. I just have one vital quesiton. How do you teach your children (young ones) how to deal with their narcissistic father? And how do you make sure your children don’t copy such behaviour?

  18. Hi Sue,

    Thanks for reading and writing. You asked excellent questions!!

    I can only tell you what works – so far – in our little family.

    It was necessary for me to put distance between my ex and my kids when Jenn and Will were young – 3 and 7. (We were dealing with nervous tics, loss of appetite, irregular sleep patterns and upset tummies.) They were too young to discuss narcissism at that point. I surrounded them with extended family – grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins – and close friends. I made a cozy, safe home for them, where they could be appreciated for the sparkling individuals that they are.

    After visits with their dad, we talked about what they were feeling. I would tell them, “Daddy loves you the only way he knows how. I can understand why your feelings are hurt.”

    They would naturally make comparisons between the way they were treated by their dad, and the way they were treated by grandma, grandpa and myself. I would simply tell them, “He loves you in a different way. It’s hard to feel that he really loves you. He is doing his best.”

    When they got old enough to write, I encouraged them to write to him and tell them how they felt – not because I expected a change, but because I firmly believed (and still believe) that they need to express their feelings, and have those feelings acknowledged.

    As they got older and could understand (7 and 11) I brought up narcissism. They were also seeing a family counselor at the time.

    The biggest thing for us is communication. We talk about everything.

    I believe (and it’s too soon to know, but Jen and Will are immensely empathetic and sensitive) that when they see how they are hurt by the treatment from their dad, and they see how they are treated with genuine love by others in their lives, they will choose not to copy their dad’s behavior.

    I honestly don’t spend a lot of time worrying if my two will be narcissistic, because we openly discuss how sad and hurtful their dad’s behavior is.

    It’s not possible to replace the love that should be coming from their father. But, I can make damn sure that I surround them with people who love them for who they are, and then I pray that it will balance out in the end.

    Thanks again, Sue, for writing.

    All the best,

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