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Living with a narcissist
by TeenHelp December 4th 2015, 05:45 PM

Living with a narcissist
By Anonymous

Narcissistic abuse is when someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) uses the traits of their disorder to cause psychological trauma to their victims. Narcissism runs in my family, but I was fortunate enough to not pick up any traits from other people. However, I did endure narcissistic abuse from several people, including one of my parents.

My father has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and has had it for as long as I can remember. I only recently discovered the name of the disorder that correlates to his behavior. Life circumstances during his childhood stunted his emotional growth and he also had a narcissistic parent, whom he learned behaviors from. He never learned how to parent because his own parents were unstable, so he hasn’t always treated me like a parent should treat their child.

Narcissists have great difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships, especially within their families. As a result of this, I have a rocky relationship with my father. Whenever things have been tolerable for a while, he will subconsciously do something damaging to drive me away from him so he doesn’t have a good relationship.

My father has always thought that he is automatically superior to me because he is older than I am. It is much like the line from the movie Matilda, “I'm smart, you're dumb; I'm big, you're little; I'm right, you're wrong, and there's nothing you can do about it.” It was as if he thought he was too good for me. I can remember telling him about things I was interested in as a kid and he’d sarcastically say that he was so worried about my thoughts and ask if I really thought he cared. He would later tell me that if my school-aged problems were all I experienced in life, that meant my life was easy and I had no idea what it was like to suffer. I used to try to tell him about things I learned at school and he’d throw his hands up in the air and say, “That’s right, I forgot you knew everything. You’re a know-it-all.”

He has always preached about his life experiences and talked about how much he has suffered. He will downplay my experiences but exaggerate about his own. We both have very similar past experiences but mine was a little more severe than his was. He has told me to get over my experiences but he is allowed to suffer with his for as long as he wants to. He also uses our experiences to say that he understands me and to say that he has made it through. We both were affected so differently and he does not understand.

He has a way of taking anything about someone else and making it into something about him. He has a victim mentality and he always makes it seem like you have done something to him when you have not. He found out about my self-harm when I was in my early teens and he made that about himself. He asked me to cut his arm so that I would understand how my self-harm was affecting him. He went on to lecture me for a few hours, calling me a “sick embarrassment” to him. He never acknowledged the pain I was feeling in the first place to hurt myself. He only talked about how my mental illness made him feel because he has a lack of awareness of other people. He later claimed that my self-harm disgusted him enough to not want to celebrate a holiday and he blamed me for the family not being allowed to celebrate, when he was the one who made the decision himself.

I later confronted him about his behavior. I told him I felt as though he didn’t care when he only acknowledged how he felt and refused to see how I felt. He then lectured me some more and he told me that he did care and he was insulted by what I told him. After that, he told me he would show me what it was like to have a father who didn’t care and he used the silent treatment tactic to avoid talking to me for months. He wanted me to find him and apologize, but I didn’t give him the satisfaction. I let it go on until he finally had enough of it.

As many narcissists do, he focused on one tiny detail instead of the entire picture. The whole picture was that I deserved more support with my self-harm, but he only focused on the fact that I felt as though he didn’t care. The silent treatment and the many more fake apologies to come is a common way narcissists guilt trip their victims into feeling sorry for them. I’ve heard apologies from “I’m sorry you caused this” to “I’m sorry I’m just dumb” in which he was looking for my sympathy.

A few years later, he decided to take me out to a recreational place. He had gotten it in his head that that’s where we were going to spend the day. When we got there, however, the place was closed. He offered other options for places to go. I was having a rough day. I hadn’t slept the night before so I was exhausted and I didn’t make a decision fast enough for him. He drove home and talked to himself as though he was talking to someone else. I listened to him talk about how “some people in this world are just incredibly ungrateful and unpleasant to be around.”

Narcissists also project their own negative feelings onto their victims. My dad was unhappy with his appearance and I watched as he took it out on other people. I heard him tell someone that they were incredibly overweight and they would get a lot of weight related illnesses if they continued to eat the way they did. He told this person to not ask for help when their weight makes them sick because their weight was their own fault.

Other narcissists in my life have made strikingly similar remarks. I watched someone ask another person, “How did you get so fat? I don’t see you eat that much.” They continued to make remarks about that person's weight and compared it to mine. Narcissists like to isolate you so your accusations aren’t as credible later on. The same person got me alone in a room of the house to tell me that I needed to become super skinny and grow larger breasts. I was ironically already developing an eating disorder by that point. These people refuse to take responsibility for my past even though they play a huge role in it. They have “forgotten” the role that they’ve played. One of them went as far as telling me that they’ve never done anything I would need counseling for.

Narcissists tend to think very highly of themselves. They will brag about the smallest achievements or interactions for weeks on end. Sometimes those achievements are valid, sometimes those achievements are actually just the narcissist’s false perception of them. Because they think so highly of themselves, they do not understand or are unwilling to understand that the way they treat others is wrong and abusive. They don’t know or admit that they have a problem so most of them do not receive help as a result.

The narcissistic abuse is a big part of my current mental illnesses. It is part of the trauma I am reminded of with each day that passes. Other things have caused my illnesses, but the narcissistic abuse is partly to blame. It has done damage to my nonexistent self-esteem and it has left me feeling guilty for thinking lowly of these people.

I used to give in to the narcissists in my life. I used to let them guilt trip me and manipulate me. I have become a different person now, one that isn’t tolerant of other people’s abuse. I spend the least amount of time as possible around the narcissists in my life. I do not talk unless spoken to when they are around, and I have cut all contact with the people I am able to do this with. Narcissists thrive when they have people to target. Try to make yourself less of a target whenever you’re able to by not being available to them as much. I don’t give them the power anymore, and you don’t have to either.
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