Narcissists Say the Darndest Things: Great Quotes by Narcissists

Posted in writing on November 25th, 2009 by Merrill Markoe
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This is a page on which I hope you, the person who knows an annoying narcissist, will contribute a little something. I am seeking a collection of great memorable quotes by the narcissist in your life. I want the quote that makes your head spin and your mouth hang open with its egomaniacal cluelessness; The quote that you fish out to tell your uncomprehending friends at dinner parties in order to better describe the problem you have had with this person.newyorker-cartoon

To get the ball rolling I will give a few examples. The first is from my own mother whose comment, after reading the first professional piece of writing that I finished, was “Well, I don’t happen to care for it but I pray I’m wrong.” A close second goes to her follow up reply, after a request that she withhold any more criticism if she wanted me to show her anything else; “No more criticism? If I can’t criticize you, what am I supposed to talk about? The weather?”

Another good example comes from a mother of someone I know who commented, after being told that her daughter was molested, “Oh my God! Do you think I was?”

Okay: Your turn.

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667 Responses to “Narcissists Say the Darndest Things: Great Quotes by Narcissists”

  1. Lorelei says:

    My ex N boyfriend would shamelessly and consistently promote himself. Didn’t matter if it was something to brag about or not. Last time I spoke to him he boasted in a really obnoxious, I’m-special tone of voice “I buy Dr. Oetker’s frozen pizza whether it’s on sale or not..it just tastes better” Wow! Wish I could do that… really is an incredible guy.

  2. Jellybean says:

    My mother, when I was a teenager and singing her one of my songs and playing guitar : ‘why do you sound so nasally?”

    And when I sang her another song to her once, she nearly had a fit about the words and what she thought it was about … the song was about star-signs and how I see them in everyday life, so I don’t know what her problem was with it, but she threw a total tantrum. My sister and I tried to explain to her that it was just a song …. um … trying to explain myself is an after-effect of having grown up with a narcissistic mother.

    When I was a child I once was playing outside in the garden and nearly choked on a sweet – her best friend who was also our neighbour came to save me – when I told my mom when she got home from work that I nearly choked to death she looked at me hatefully and said: so ?

    She would throw temper tantrums every Christmas, even though it was just our little family together – just like every evening really, and it would invariably end up with her running off to the bedroom and throwing the door shut and we were left to eat Christmas dinner without her – just the other day I posted a quote about how having children makes you realise how wars can get started and she writes back to me saying: once you have children you realise the need for peacekeeping.
    ??? HUH ? Did I miss something ?

    • jake says:

      carole of Glassboro does the same things, very narcissistic mom, had 5 , 3 like her she treated ok, me and cas got the evil, whats wrong with you, why cant you be like other kids, you make me sooooooooooooo ill, i kill you , ill break your legs, your no good, your rotten, etc, one day I pulled the evil mom of cas, carole was punching her screaming cry you bitch, cry you little whore, its weird how the good sister is a nurse, the other is a coc/drunk narcissist, but mom likes her, they are truly sick.

  3. Carolina Philippina says:

    I´ve studied law and became a judge. During the formation one of the scariest days is the day on which you have to hold your first ever final speech of the prosecution. I had to do in front of a grade of school and it went ok. When I told my parents about it my mother retorted: ” I hope, you didn´t look like an anxious rabbit!” Thanx, mom.

  4. Amazed & Confused says:

    My soon-to-be ex-wife decided to wait all of four days after I said I wanted a divorce to start seeing other men. The first torrid affair was an online romance. Within roughly five or six days of meeting each other online, he, a science professor from the midwest and my wife, a behavioral psychologist, decided they wanted to get married. After an exchange of explicit photographs and videos, the science prof apparently came to his senses and ended the affair/relationship/shitstorm of pure crazy. After a couple of emails demanding an answer from him as to why he was breaking things off, the science prof in so many words told her to back off and leave him alone. My wife’s reply was “I wish you many years of therapy.”

    If any of you at home decide to try this, remember to log out of all sessions of Facebook and Gmail on shared computers when you’re done for the day.

    • That story is astonishing for so many different layers of reasons. But one that occurred to me immediately was given her own tendency toward extremely unbalanced behavior…what has she done to the poor people who were her patients and who have been taking her advice for years? Especially given that reply…since she can’t think of anything worse to wish someone than therapy.

      • Amazed & Confused says:

        Fortunately for the remainder of the world she’s not a clinical psychologist, and works in another discipline as a professor and instructor. Ironically, one of her areas of research is psychopaths and narcissists in the workplace.

        The “I wish you many years of therapy” is her standard dismissal of those who call her out on her behavior.

  5. AnneM says:

    DON’T CONFRONT THE NARCISSIST WITH HIS LIES

    My partner’s son of 13 years old told everybody that he got employed by Microsoft to help them develop and design the new X box. Furthermore his son would have given Microsoft about 15 brilliant ideas for future developments. Because Microsoft was so happy with him, they invited him to the US campus for a meeting with a first class ticket and got a contract with huge salary. He offered his father to buy back the house his father lost because he couldn’t pay the mortgage anymore.

    To back up his story, he showed a frequent flyer platinum card (or something like it) from Lufthansa. Looking closer – it was an expired card from the father of one of his friends. He also showed a Microsoft card – orange – which was actually a X-box live card, you can buy everywhere. The contract was sent by Microsoft to the father of his friend since the son doesn’t trust his mother. The money earned was on the bank account of the friends father too and he requested his father (my partner) to open a bank account for him so the money could be transferred. It would be over 1 million euro.

    My partner had contact with the father of his friend about a play date with sleep over. I asked him if he received the contract and since there is so much money on his bank account if they should not make some kind of arrangements. My partner told me to back off, this is not my business. His son invited my children to join him on his trip to the US – all expenses paid by Microsoft.

    Needless to say that there was no follow up at all and eventually when confronted with more questions, his son told us that he resigned because Microsoft is stupid and will fail with the new X box. Haven’t we heard the news?!

    This story telling worried me. Was this just a kid’s fantasy or a sign that not only the father, but also his son have NPD? Does he think we would not love him just for who he is? Why is he doing this? We have to talk to him and tell him that his friends accept him for who he is and will like him better when he is not lying to them. I’ve tried to discuss this with my partner, who agreed to discuss it at some point with his son. He never did. Actually, when I would ask him if he already touched this topic, he would go into rage, blaming me for never liking his son and alway be negative, neglected the fact that his storytelling will eventually damage his son and friendships. My partner said that there is some truth to his story – and that is all. I assume he didn’t want to find out the truth or confront his son.

    My son (just turned 10) is very gullible, they are friends and he told me that the boy is giving things aways that don’t belong to him to bribe others. I’ve seen him taking lego’s from my youngest son (our mutual child). When I speak to him about this, he claims it was his, was only playing with it and would have returned it, or he took it by accident. Telling his father, will only result in trouble for me.

    Catching a N lying seems to be worse than lying. Don’t interfere with their imagined success. His son will never be confronted with his lies. As soon as someone confronts him, he starts to rage, walks out crying, screaming like he is being murdered, and will never admit or tell the truth – keeps denying everything – and doesn’t want to talk to you anymore or deal with you anymore. He will not calm down or be reasonable. This can take days – or weeks – and his posture will be very aggressive. The only thing you can do is just forget about it and never talk about it again. His father will attack everybody who will say something “against” his son – even when it is meant well or simply the truth. He reacts the same as his son who is like him, better than everybody, more beautiful, smarter and more successful. Unfortunately this is only in their imagination.

  6. AnneM says:

    QUOTES FROM MY N PARTNER

    “I have so many problems with you and because of you, what are you going to do about that?”

    “The only way to stop me from getting angry with you, is if you stop making me angry”.

    “My exes all said the same stupid things about me. Do you all think that I will put up with your crap?”

    We started a business together. We agreed on 50 – 50 work & investment – in a contract. After one year he didn’t work for our business and I was working 60 – 80 hours per week. I asked him why he wouldn’t work for our business as agreed and he said: “I’ve given you money, and you wouldn’t ask a bank to work 40 hours per week, would you?”

    On a romantic evening, while being pregnant for our child, he asked me if I would like to marry him. He proposed. After I said yes, he said that I was only with him for his money and he would not marry me.

    “My brothers and my father are all think only about themselves while they should should also think about me. I will not do anything for them.”

    “Because I was such a good mentor he is getting this promotion.”

    “I was a blessing for my ex wife. I picked her up from the gutter, gave her a total makeover with good teeth and introduced her to a luxury lifestyle with high society friends. When we divorced she was so ungrateful”.

    He: “Do you know what people see when they look at us?” Me: “No”. He:”Don’t you see that all women look at you with envy?” ……..I am so lucky to have a guy like him.

    “I hate myself for loving you”.

    “Without me, you are nothing”.

  7. cheyh says:

    “I’m sorry sweetie but I can not validate your feelings”

    Me: “hi mom! I had my breast enlarged and I love them”
    Mom: “What?!? How could you do that? You knew I wanted mine done years ago. Im suppose to get them done first.”
    (Few weeks later)
    Mom: “look here (as shes holding them) mine are bigger than yours”

  8. FreeAtLast! says:

    I worked with someone that was off their rocker, I have many many quotes but MY FAVORITE! is..
    “I should not even have to ASK for what I need, it should already be there!!!!!!! I tried to tell them that I was not capable of predicting the future and my comeback did not go over very well…

  9. Cassie says:

    I am a man of many hats, a Social Chameleon, I can manipulate anyone to do whatever I want.
    I really just hate almost all people.
    I just don’t care about ANYTHING.
    I think it is a waste to keep old people alive, & poor people are just lazy and don’t deserve any help.
    My only weakness is losing, but I am very rarely ever wrong.
    I don’t know how I do it, I am like a machine.
    I never get sick. If I do, which is rarely, it is for like a day and I’m fine again.
    I take these specific vitamins that are the best.
    (Oh me too)
    Well if you don’t get the expensive ones they aren’t any good. You probably NEED all of those vitamins you take.

    I help people with their problems all the time. I’m so good at that because their problems are so meaningless and petty, and I don’t care about them so I am able to be unemotional about it and solve it for them.
    I just want to help to make people better. It’s not criticism.
    I don’t understand why you even wear anything to sleep. You are the only person I know who isn’t naked all the time in their own house.
    I believe my family the most awesome family ever.
    I don’t think anyone else my age would be able to be in the position I am in my job and be as successful as I am.
    I used to get in fights all the time, but that was the old me. You wouldn’t have wanted to know me back then.
    Did you miss me?
    Oh so you meant what you said? I thought it was just one of those things people say.
    How do I compare to other men you have slept with?
    I am not even THAT good looking.

    KEEPING SCORE:
    Actually it has been 3 weeks, not 2 weeks since we haven’t spoken to each other.
    VENGEANCE:
    I know the way to make a woman mad is just to ignore her.

    My ex girl friend is crazy, I mean REALLY crazy, but I made her that way, she wasn’t like that when we met.

    I’m not gay, but my philosophy is: ‘Whatever keeps the party going.’
    I am a hedonist. I am a sexual Trailblazer.
    Just admit you like me, you know you do.
    You know I was the best boss you ever had, don’t you?
    You probably know me better than anyone else does.
    You don’t know anything about me.

    I don’t have a journal.
    (You told me you did)
    Oh I must have been lying.

    I love you.
    (No response)
    You know I mean I love you as a friend right.
    You know all that stuff I said earlier about moving in together…I was just high when I said it.

    I love you.
    (No you don’t, you don’t even know what that means)
    I know.

    I tried to love you.

    I really have to tell you something. I love you…
    (Do you want me to say anything back?)
    No. I just needed you to know….
    Damn maybe I shouldn’t have said that…..
    I really shouldn’t have said that.
    (Well only if you didn’t mean it)
    No I meant it.

    You are real ass good looking, beautiful, gorgeous, smoking hot etc…..
    Why can’t you accept a compliment….
    That is the ugliest outfit I have ever seen. I cannot believe you would think that it would be okay to wear.
    You’re so mean & rude.
    You don’t have any female friends. Quick name 5.

    You don’t work out. I just know you.
    I didn’t know you were so athletic.

    I think you are crazy. The type of secret crazy who gets depressed and tries to commit suicide.
    One of the things that is wrong with you is that you are so insecure. Why are you like that?
    No man will ever be able to please you. I feel sorry for them.
    Stop analyzing me. You have been doing that all day and I’m sick of it.
    Why should I apologize? I was drunk.
    Why did we always used to fight?

    If it weren’t for me…
    You owe me.

    ABOVE THE LAW:
    In court I apologized to the Jury for how ridiculous this whole trial was and what a waste of time it was.
    I don’t know how I get so lucky. I just get out of everything.

    CLASSIC:
    You’re overreacting. You are remembering things differently. I am done talking about this. That didn’t happen. You didn’t say that. I didn’t say that. You are saying things you cannot take back.

    Can I come over? It is ok if you don’t want me to come over, tell me not to come over.

  10. brit says:

    “I’m not just a sex machine that can do it whenever you want”
    “I can’t believe you’re pregnant. I was going to try to get back with my ex but obviously that’s not going to happen”
    “I have never cheated. It’s like I am HER boyfriend but she is not MY girlfriend.”
    “I am protecting her by lying to her”
    “None of my friend will play board games with me because I HATE to lose”

    “I am outside your house, where are you?”
    ME: I’m not home
    “Open the door”
    ME: I won’t be home tonight
    “I’ll wait for you, or you can come here unlock it and then leave again if you have to”
    ME: I can’t do that
    ——–Next Day:
    ME: Are you safe?
    “Yes I drove home last night”
    ME: That was dumb, so did you try to sneak in my house again?
    “No, I didn’t even go over there. I was just testing you to see if you were lying about being at home.”

    “I always like to have the best everything for anything I do”

    ME: Give me my phone back, how are you even using it right now?
    “I guess I just guessed the password.”

    “You’re not a human being. You’re a WOMAN”

    “Did you get the same deoderant as me? Are you trying to copy me? Oh wait the scent I have is better than that one”

  11. CB says:

    Reading through these and it always amazes me that this particular mold of people hasn’t broken yet!!

    I have lots as well. Today’s isn’t a quote but an action (or lack there of). We had gone out to lunch. As usual he does most of the talking. He has been catching up with old friends lately. When I did get a break in I added I messaged someone we both knew and haven’t seen for years. Mentioned she has 7 kids now. “Huh. Seven? So anyway…..” His story continued until we were leaving. As we were in the parking lot I tripped over the curb… and he continued talking. No asking if I was ok being I was wearing sandals and having caught myself on the truck mirror. But first things first you know. Has to be all about how he helped this friend do this or he got this friend to do that and he was the “leader” of the pack.

    NEVER has opened the door for me. Which reminds me of when our kids were stroller age (they are now 16, 11 & 9). Here we were going to the mall. I of course had to make sure we had everything. Get to the entrance and he opens the door for another mom, cuts in front of me and some other guy behind me holds the door because I am struggling. I have brought this up before and have yet to see an improvement. Well, I shouldn’t say never. He will when I mention for him to do so but then he’ll say something that acknowledges that he did and make it into a grand gesture that needs to stand out of the ordinary. He does this with any other task that should be done on one’s own good will too.

    My cousin recently applied to be fine arts coordinator at a college about a month ago. She had applied a week before our week long vacation. A few days after we had been home he asked if she got the job. I replied I didn’t know but had texted just yesterday asking. “80% chance she didn’t get it.” What? “Yeah, 80% chance. It’s been two weeks now and if she hadn’t heard from them yet she didn’t get it. It’s well known that larger companies including colleges would have let applicants know within the first week.” I get A LOT of supposed statistics like this that everyone should know. It’s common knowledge. “Don’t you know?” (BTW… she DID get the job)

    July of this year we had the pleasure of going to my (sigh) 20 year HS reunion. It was awesome seeing past friends. One of them stuck out in my N-hubby’s mind. “Out of all of your friends {she} was the prettiest. When we moved to another table did you notice how quickly she followed to be by me? She really likes me.” You don’t think it’s because she’s MY friend? “I suppose that’s part of it.” Hmmm… really? Not the ONLY part?

    He’ll talks to our oldest quite often in third person. It’s because he doesn’t feed the supply any more so his dad doesn’t put forth an effort. Sad… Our middle son is a people pleaser so he tries very hard to please his dad only to get mixed messages virtually all the time. Our daughter, youngest, has a temper but then who wouldn’t be if you were told (supposedly jokingly…) “what is wrong with her? why doesn’t she listen?” when she doesn’t comply with something. Is asked to give ‘kissies’ when given something only to have it taken from her when she doesn’t follow thru.

    We’ve heard the defining, judgmental, overly opinionated, underlying sarcastic statements time again as well. After 17 yrs. it’s about time I’ve had enough. However, when I presented him with divorce papers (just this Weds.) and I flat out told him that I do not have any desire or attraction to him any more I was told “You will though! Give me time! I’ll change! I haven’t done anything wrong to deserve this! I don’t deserve this punishment!” If chatting with various women online throughout our marriage (most recently 2010 where he told her he loved her forever), getting caught red-handed asking a girl to lift up her shirt online, watching porn, name calling, not being able to acknowledge any wrong-doing properly, not being to give a sincere apology for anything, going to counseling for 6 months and being asked at the end of the 6 months what is it he needs to work on and not having any idea isn’t ‘wrong’ then I don’t know what is. Maybe it’s because he is “human like everybody else.” Whatever it is it’s getting older and older by the minute and I’m too young to wait another how many years to see the slightest of changes just to have it revert back to the same behavior yet again.

  12. CB says:

    I did forget to mention one of my favorite sayings of my N-hubby… at our very first counseling session towards the end the counselor stated that it sounded like I was depressed.
    N-hubby: No! I’m more depressed than she is!

    Other classics include –
    With wearable gifts he has given me: You look nice. I sure have good taste in clothes. You should let me be your fashion consultant.

    Food he cooks: Isn’t this the best food ever! I bet you’ve never tasted anything so good before. I should sell it and make a fortune. (should one of us not like said awesome food: What are you talking about?! You have no idea how good this is. You don’t have any taste.)

  13. My last job was assistant director of a community music school, which the director – a woman with a narcissist personality disorder that can be seen from the moon – called a conservatory. Every year the high school seniors are encouraged to put together senior recitals. It’s a moment of anxiety, triumph, and a rite of passage these teens.

    I was coaching two high school seniors through their final rehearsal a few hours before the performance when my boss stuck her head in the room. She apologized that they “only” had me to walk them through the rehearsal, saying she had a number of errands to run which included changing her clothes for their recital. Her final comment “Just you wait until you see what I’m wearing to your recital!”

  14. Liz Cabelli says:

    Narcissistic parents can pass on their disorder. Right after the death of my narcissistic mother, for whom I was the primary caretaker during her last nine weeks as well as one of her scapegoats all my life, one of my sisters, seemingly in loyalty to her dead mother, decided to keep the scapegoating alive. Feeling guilty that she couldn’t be present the whole time during our mother’s dying, and feeling guilty that she had verbally abused Mom *while she was dying,* she accused me of not taking good care of our dying mother. (I was there so that Mom’s wish to die at home could come true, and it did). I stood in silent shock as she began to scream at me–and it seemed at times that she was going to physically strike out at me. What could I say when she screamed, among other things, that my presence was never about Mom–that it was only about me? How does one respond to an accusation like that? I had taken very good care of Mom in a highly challenging situation, but the only other witness to that, besides the hospice people, was another sister who had been Mom’s “lesser” scapegoat, and though she stood up for me, no one believed her. Like me, she has no credibility in the family. So when the screaming finally stopped, I didn’t know what to say or do, so I just stood there looking at her and feeling a deep sense of disbelief, hurt, and rejection–all-too-familiar emotions because of the way my mother had treated me over the years. Then she said, practically spitting the words out in a scornful voice, with her jaw jutting out self-righteously: “And QUIT being the VICTIM!!” I can laugh about this weirdness now. But I am no longer in contact with her. Who needs a relationship with yet another narcissist after being raised by two of them, never being able to please them or to do anything right? Unfortunately, the parental legacy here is a severely broken family.

    • Wowee. Thats an amazing contribution to this pantheon of testimonials. Very interesting and well observed . Human beings certainly go the distance in being overly complicated about everything. But you’re correct: the legacy of a narcisstic upbringing is almost always a series of troubled relationships with other family members. The only way out of the maze is to sit and study it and contemplate it for years. Not too many people are interested enough to bother. But…you’re right. And I think you did the sensible thing.

      • Paddy says:

        Dear Merill,

        After reading your story I have to tell you how much I feel your pain and frustration, hurt and betrayal. I too have been dealing with a narcissistic mother as well as a sister who also suffers with Borderline Personality Disorder. These two have made the rest of the family suffer over and over all my life. Being the youngest allowed me to avoid the worst of it as a youngster and young adult, wife and mother but now that I’ve become the primary caregiver for my mother the shit is right at my door step. The BPD sister is violent, cruel, unpredictable and irrational, I won’t try to restate here the awful things she has said and done, I will say that after a terrible court battle the family was able to eradicate her from the family, that has brought me an immeasurable amount of peace to my life, unknown before.
        so now on to dealing with mother. She loves to make the whole world about her. She can be pleasant for a time, make me believe she’s “normal” then, wham, the rug is jerked out from under me. These episodes leave me feeling stunned, hurt. She’s 82 now and so the feelings of guilt often arise when I try to pull back, pull away from her, but after this last time I got myself into therapy (again), called my brother, he agreed to take her on, and am doing everything in my power to be done with her. Some of the behaviors include : turning the phone off then claiming she didn’t know she did it, letting her hearing aids go dead then acting like no one called her, hurting herself just enough to need an ER visit but then finding no injury, claiming stroke-like symptoms but having all the tests turn up negative. All of these thing sound somewhat plausible to the people around her that don’t know her, but she spent 30 years as an RN so knows her medical stuff. When I buy her special items she tells me they aren’t the brand she likes; forgetting her hearings aids and glasses and wanting me to bring them to her in the hospital…three times! Then neglects to tell me shes been discharged. I find that out when I get to the hospital and she’s gone home. When I was younger she liked to ask me what that “rash on my face was,” well, that would be my freckles. Thanks, mom.

        I’m older know and thought I would have learned enough to protect myself better. I’m still learning.
        I want to tell you to stay strong, do what you know is best for you, listen to your heart, head, and intuition. And please excuse my rambling writing style! And I don’t mean to sound preachy! Just supportive!

  15. pam says:

    finally at the end of a 29 year marriage to a narcissist. the past two years have been sheer hell as my spouse went from controlling to super freak. in all those years he never once said he was
    sorry for anything that happened, even when he kicked me in the chest on purpose, practiced emotional abuse, financial abuse, and generally made me believe I was the crazy one, while he screamed, became enraged, threw out his daughter, lied to a judge, and in a fit of anger had me removed from the home because “I was trying to buy a gun and kill him” which was a complete lie. (I don’t like guns and I have absolutely no income to buy one) in all those years I never reported anything to the police because he would leave me. he pulled a fast one and got me kicked out of my own home with only the clothes on my back, no money or income ( lost job through no fault of my own), and then said he was filling criminal charges against me. I was homeless for two weeks, borrowed money from my 18 year old daughter so I could get an apartment. he told all of our friends that I am the crazy one, as well as his family, and everyone left with him. so now I know they were all fake friends, and they completely buy into his game. he started having an affair with a woman who said to me repeatedly “I wish I had a great guy like this”. Well she has him now, more power to her. she can have him. this was a man with a chronic weight problem, two years ago he weighed 450 pounds but it was my fault that our sex life sucked, I guess at 150 pounds I shouldn’t be complaining about 450# on top of me. everything was my fault, I was constantly criticised for how I did things,I was stupid, lazy, and ugly. God works in mysterious ways. I didn’t have the courage to leave and God knew that. so it was a blessing when my husband finally had me removed by the police. since then(4 mos. ago) I now realize that his angry temper that day was the end of it all. now he tries to control me via text, email, phone calls, and nasty messages brought from him by my kids.best and only thing to do is nothing. refuse to engage. refuse to pay their game.
    I am doing better now than I have in 5 years but it had been an emotional upheaval.
    the most important thing I learned was his behavior was NOT my fault, regardless of his assertation that it was. I’m just sorry I didn’t have the fortitude to do it sooner, it would have been better for my children.

    • You might give Alanon a try. Its free. And the kind of personality disorder you detail in your husband is identical to someone who is a substance abuser. That you stayed with a person like this as long as you did and accepted his rules means you need some support learning how to live on your own terms in a better way. I have a lot of friends who have benefited from the 12 step stuff. It might ring a bell with you. Its mainly very sensible and useful. And its not just for spouses of alcoholics. Under the surface of every alcoholic is a narcissist. If you google Alanon and your area, you’ll find tons of meetings. It will give you the support you need finding your way to a more normal life on your own.

  16. Cathy says:

    I was very tall as a child and endlessly ridiculed by my family as ugly. (“Lord of the Flies” comes to mind). I stumbled into modeling as a teen, which my family found unbelievable, but at the very least seemed proof I was not as hideous as I had been led to believe.

    After I graduated from a very good university with honors my father said” Gee kid, it was a good thing you were such an unattractive child, because it forced you to rely on your intelligence and now you have it all, looks, brains and personality – I’m very proud”. Thanks Dad.

    And yes, therapy has been helpful. :-) btw – your essay on narcissism was wonderful, thank you.

  17. TheTruthTheyHide says:

    Cyberstalkers are textbook Narcissists. I had one of these people following me around the internet for 3 years, watching everything I did and as much as I tried to block them they kept finding a “hole” in the privacy systems. We had to start monitoring the person for my safety. She was constantly boasting about being an author (she’s not published and far from being an author) and was using a fake name/profile to stalk. Once she posted on Twitter (under her real name – oopsie!), “There is the truth, that no matter how many copied my thoughts, style or writes… I was always leagues ahead.” Quite a bold statement for someone without a book or any publication!

    A site called Bragging Jackass saw her post – and decided it was worthy of sharing with their readers. I didn’t have do a thing. It’s permanently posted on the internet – and she disappeared shortly thereafter. :D

  18. Olivia says:

    I miscarried at 5 weeks. I was devastated. My boyfriend (narcissist of almost 33 currently working on his issues) said, word for word: “God, woman, stop crying about it. I think it’s a good thing. When you told me you were pregnant I was really happy at first, but then I thought, wait, I’m going to have to look for a lasting job, and then I thought, I couldn’t give a toss about working, I’d rather write my novel and have my mother (the narcissist who gave birth to my boyfriend, also happens to be loaded with money) pay my rent”.

    Needless to say, I’m done.

  19. LadyshipNull says:

    My ex-N husband was always blaming me for all sorts of supposed discomforts/annoyances/etc could be very hurtful. One time he said to me, “The more weight you lose, the harder my d**k will get.”

    I once asked him if he would go to therapy with me. He replied, “Sure. If he has problems, I’m sure I can help him out.”

  20. Margaret says:

    When I was 10, my mother walked into our bedroom while my 14 year old brother was raping me. She gasped and left the room (without telling him to stop). After he was finished raping me and I was finished with my out of body experience, I tracked her down in the living room. Her only comment: “You must never tell your father about this. He’ll kill me.” She then proceeded to get drunk. (She was a raging alcoholic.) I went out and bought her flowers and apologized to her for being raped. She accepted my apology.

  21. Beenaom says:

    once my 6 foot tall,heavy,20 years old son, was very angry with his father,for father had beaten him with a ruler that broke and then asked me to apologize to our son,for his behavior. When I said,’ I don’t want to come in between’, he went to see our son in college. He wasn’t there. My husband became very concerned when my son said he wished he was dead Then to make peace with our son, he bought him a whole wardrobe of clothes. Our son was very excited happy. But then suddenly son became angry with me for no reason, just like that he gave me two hard slaps pushed me away. His father adopted son,30 years old saw it said “so what? he was angry.” All three took it as a joke.Our son started to taunt tease me,Like being angry abusive is his birth right.just like his father behaves toward me. One day his father hit me,I said ‘I’ll call the police,’ He told our son laughingly and same evening our son hit me.
    I see the Truth, Now.
    Yet, I’ve not found the cure yet.I overcome my codependency when I’m away, but as soon as I’m home.I feel trapped. One day at a Time GOD BLESS ME TODAY.
    At least I see I am not the problem,but true,It’s upto me if it is to be.I am my own responsibility I must detach myself emotionally mentally if need be physically.For I’ve become addicted to this abuse loosing faith in myself,at times, It’s very scary,

    • Yours is a very messed up situation with a lot of complicated layers. It sounds pretty awful. Have you heard of the twelve step program called Alanon? It started out as an organization for the families of alcoholics but now has expanded to include families whose behavior is erratic and out of control. Toward the end of your letter it sounds like you may have found something like that. If you haven’t, Google the word Alanon and the name of your area and attend a meeting. Meetings are free and there are lots of them. I think you might really benefit from talking all of this over with other people who are coping with similar kinds of problems. Some will have problems not exactly like yours but all will be there to talk about facing the future as an individual in a situation where the behavior of other people is difficult and irrational and very problematic. You need some support. Best of luck. See if you can get help of some kind.

  22. Elsie says:

    I wrote a couple of months back, about my sister who, after verbally abusing me so viciously that I thought she would also hit me, then screamed “And QUIT being the VICTIM! I commented that narcissim can be passed on from parents to children, but what I didn’t say is that all of us adult children in my family struggle with narcissism to one degree or another. Whether it’s “nature or nurture” or both is difficult to say–as you point out, it is indeed a complicated, complex maze that takes years to figure out.

    If narcissism as a personality disorder is on a continuum, then it’s fair to say that some of us with this disorder are more purely narcissistic than others. Some of us, as we grow older, are capable of recognizing our disorder and its effects upon others in our lives, and thus capable of changing to at least some degree. Some of us remain stuck because it hurts too much to look inside–we fear our self-judgment most of all, the voice that says we can never measure up, that we are indeed terrible people. It’s so much easier and feels so much better to lash out at others, to blame others, to judge others, to point out others’ failures–to actively hurt others–we make ourselves feel better at the expense of others. That’s what scapegoating is all about, and it takes place not only in families but also in societies and cultures throughout human history.

    That, I think, is at the heart of what it is to be narcissistic–to build oneself up at another’s expense–to turn another human being into an object. That is also the essence of evil. Yet it is also essential to recognize that every human being does this very thing at one time or another as long as we are alive, insecure as each of us is.

    The difference between what is normally narcissistic and what is pathologically so is, I think, found in a personality that is fixed and rigid as well as paranoid and fearful. Narcissism is self-absorbed without being self-aware. Even while many narcissists know they are being nasty, mean, and abusive, they are not aware of where it comes from inside themselves, and they are not aware of how they are hurting other human beings. All they know is that they gain temporary relief from their fear–it feels good to be mean, to put someone else down, to have power over another person–because then they don’t feel small or insignificant or powerless. They don’t then need to face themselves or the various human dilemmas, including our imperfections and fear of loss. To face oneself honestly is a fearful thing when one sees human beings as horrible creatures who need to be punished and judged. A narcissist on the purer side of the spectrum cannot bear to look within, to nurture self-understanding and acceptance of the horrible creature he or she fears is within.

    My mother was a emotionally and verbally abusive narcissist when her children were growing up, and she reveled in being mean and belittling to me especially–and she was well aware that she was being mean. With therapy, I came to I understand why she singled me out, which I won’t go into here. She was a very unhappy woman, and Lord knows she had plenty of outward cause for it. And yet she had a sense of duty towards her children. She met our physical needs even though she was not often present for us as an emotionally nurturing mother. Her duty towards us went a long way–I am grateful for so much that she did! She taught me what duty to my own children was all about. And what’s more, in her later years, she began to look at herself more honestly. Several years before she died, she and I talked about the hurt we caused one another and apologized and asked forgiveness for a few things. It wasn’t as deep as I wanted it to go, but when she said she couldn’t go further, I respected her wish and didn’t bring it up again. My mother and I loved each other very much. She was a good person. Even though at the end of her life the old dynamic of my being the “scapegoat” came again to the forefront, I understood it even as I felt rejected and wounded all over again. Understanding it helped a bit.

    It is that wounding dynamic that others in our family cannot seem to honestly look at.

    Narcissism has affected all of us–my father is one as well, with sociopathic tendencies, though he also has improved with age and now has some real self awareness (my parents divorced when I, the oldest, was 18 or so, and the youngest among the kids was 7). As for me, for much of my life, I was a vain narcissist who, just over a decade ago (with the onset of menopause), began to look at my life all over again and at the trail I had left behind of wounded people. I strove to understand the hurt inside that caused me to hurt others. Some narcissists are incapable of loving others honestly or generously or truly, but my mother was not one of them. I do not think that I am one, either. I wish, whenever possible, to make amends for hurts I have inflicted, and to avoid repeating them. It hurts me a lot when I think of how I have wounded other people. I am determined to do better, which means finding healing and becoming friends with myself.

    I do not say that my mother was a narcissist out of some desire to get back at her or to punish her or to ruin her good name or to make myself feel better. For me, it is a statement of fact that explains both my experiences growing up and the explosive aftermath of family dysfunction after her death. I am trying to come to terms with what has happened to me, to name it, to understand it, and to understand my own part in it. It is not expressive of a moral judgment of my mother. Nevertheless, during the years I grew up and lived at home, my mother had a public face (sweet, nice, and agreeable) and a private face (vindictive, angry, verbally abusive, and spitefully critical of the people she had just been sweet to). She had trouble with me because I saw through her and rebelled. In my search for healing, as well as in how one sister took it upon herself to take over my mother’s scapegoating of me, the family myth has been blown wide open, and I don’t think my offended siblings will forgive me for that. It’s terrible, but some of the people–both friends and relatives– who think my mother was just the sweetest person have no idea about the ugly things she said about them in private. And I’m not telling anyone.

    At the same time, now that she is gone, I refuse to play my part as the family scapegoat. I have been asked by certain family members to apologize for things I did not do, but I will not apologize to a lie–and the lies just keep mounting and adding up in number–it’s monstrous how the spin to demonize me just keeps growing. One of my sisters thinks I’m a *terrible* person for writing what I did on this site (she googled my name and found this). She thinks I’m hopelessly “lost.” Nothing new there. My highly narcissistic sister said that about me years ago, when I switched my religion (she says she can’t have a relationship with me because of it).

    Well, okay. If anything, I’ve learned that I can’t use my full name on blogs like this.

    The sister who read my blog here thinks that I should apologize for calling my mother and the other sister narcissists–that I should, in fact, take it back altogether, to deny that they are narcissists. She insists that I don’t even know the definition of narcissism. Of course, even taking it back would not be enough for her because she’s been talking to other relatives behind my back over the last year, telling them how evil I am. (Gee, if it weren’t for me, the family would be a loving family, right?)

    But what is so insidious about her view is that to apologize on her terms would be to deny my experiences and the things that have shaped me, to deny the truth of what has harmed me and wounded me, to deny the ways in which I am trying to find healing. It’s like what another person wrote in a previous post on this site about apologizing for being raped–and how that apology was accepted! That is *exactly* how I felt when I was told that the only apology that will be accepted is the one in which I must both deny my truth and accept her denial of it as well.

    Never mind that no one has apologized to me for hurting me–and I haven’t demanded that from them, either. It strikes me as peculiarly arrogant of Person A to demand an apology from Person B when Person A takes it upon herself to define Person B’s transgression, imputing to Person B the worst possible motives, and then dictates the acceptable terms of the apology. I suppose there could be, on some planet or another, an occasion for such a structured “apology,” but in my opinion, this is not one of them.

    There’s an aspect of paranoia with narcissistic thinking that “makes up” how bad another person is, that “makes up” or imagines and then imputes evil motive to another without “believing” what that person says in self-defense. The narcissistic family relational dynamic produces (mis)judgments of scapegoated family members that are total and absolute, with no room for compassion, understanding, granting of the benefit of the doubt, etc. It hurts, and it hurts badly, and there’s no room for healing–just lots of room *actively* made for more wounding. Trust is gone, respect is gone, good names are ruined, and sacred human dignity cannot survive, let alone exist. We don’t feel safe with one another, and that is because we are not.

    I wish my family members could feel safe with me, but I’m still learning to feel safe with myself. They aren’t safe with me, even as I am not safe with them. And it’s better that I’m not in touch with most of them because the emotional aftermath of their rejection and scapegoating has not gone away–and it hasn’t helped that they are keeping it alive. If I were in direct contact with them, I would likely lash out unthinkingly and angrily. I did that when everything “all came down” after Mom’s death, and I no longer want to do that. I don’t *want* to hurt them back. I wish that this awful family dynamic could stop with me, but I am responsible only for stopping my part in it, as I understand it. They have to recognize their roles in the mess and work on their parts in it as well. To be honest, I have no hope of that happening, no hope of family healing. I do have hope for healing for myself, however, and that is something to feel good about.

  23. Mr Robinson says:

    My mother in law is an alcoholic narcissist, which is twice the fun. Before she goes to bed every night she makes sure she insults her 3 daughters. “You’re all worthless scum. You think you’re so intelligent. You haven’t lived your lives yet, so you don’t know jack shit. You make me sick”. She also likes to cry every night, making every effort possible to gain everyones sympathy. I’ve managed to open everyone up and convinced them to ignore her when she’s seeking attention.

  24. Tina R. says:

    Hi, Merrill:

    It was a revelation – both relieving and depressing – when I figured out that my mom’s on the narcissism spectrum somewhere. That explained why I always felt the clock running on any personal anecdote I’d try to relay to her; I knew instinctively I had about ten seconds to get my story in before her attention/gaze would start to wander or she’d jump in and change the subject.

    When I got married, she paid for our wedding. My wedding dress cost a few hundred dollars, and she made it clear after the fact that she resented it. There was no compliment about me in the dress at any point – not even on my wedding day. Nothin’. (She also bought herself a very flashy dress and put lots of effort into sewing an elaborate wrap for herself, and asked constantly on the day how *she* looked, when she wasn’t sulking or picking a fight.) Whenever I tried on the dress she’d just give a big sigh and a “Well, I hope you’re happy,” and reiterate the cost.

    Some while later I expressed my sadness that she’d never gotten excited about my wedding dress, that we never had that mom/daughter “Oh, honey, you’re beautiful” thing. I pointed out that she gets excited about plenty of things – for example, if she sees a robin in her birdbath, she goes out of her mind with enthusiasm – and that it seemed sad that some of that couldn’t have come my way when I was getting married. And she said, “Well, of course. Robins are part of nature. That was just a dress.”

    That’s the quote I always return to when I feel like being amazed. Anyway, thank you for writing about this. I feel 67% less crazy when I read about other people’s experiences with narcissism, and you’re my favorite writer on the topic.

  25. Rita says:

    I have no doubt my mother is a narcissist: she talks incessantly about herself, has absolutely no sensitivity to others’ boredom, finds herself fascinating for no apparent reason, etc. She and I went on a cruise when she was 50ish and morbidly obese. She couldn’t walk without becoming instantly breathless, but was not physically impaired in any other way. We had signed up for a shore excursion so I arranged for a young man from the ship to push her in a wheelchair off the ship up the disembarking ramp which was lengthy and uphill. As she weighed more than 250 pounds, the young, fit, polite, and gracious man was breathing heavily as we reached the end of the ramp. Her priceless comment to me, uttered under her breath thank God, was “Well, he’s not in very good shape, is he?”

    • That’s a great one. If I was giving prizes, you definitely would have just won a microwave or at least a high end juicer or something. That would be such a great little scene in a movie. I love that.

  26. “Can I take you out to dinner tonight, it will be good for my Ego.”

  27. Sal says:

    Had a good giggle at the story of the Xmas presents… so familiar! Here are my quotes:

    N Grandmother: “You have been brainwashed by the British”. This is after a discussion about different races and how I think white people are NOT superior to other races. I cited some examples of super people I know of different races, and examples of awful whites, to which she had no response but the above.

    N Grandmother: “Jack the Ripper lived in that house over there”. When I told her he must have died many many years ago as he lived in the early 1800s (in ENGLAND), she said “Oh, you think you know everything!”

    N Grandmother (about my husband’s parents): “They are both alcoholics, be careful of them” (thats after they each had two glasses of wine at my wedding. She didn’t like that they didn’t make a fuss of her and that she could not dominate the proceedings. So she took on her ‘frail, grandmotherly’ look and went to bed early.)

    N Grandmother (when she is proven wrong and is cornered): “Oh you are such the expert, arent you”.

    N Grandmother: “I will NOT apologize – I did nothing wrong!” (This is after she admitted that she mistook my friend for someone else, and basically chased her out the house.)

    Racist N Mother: “You have pushed me into a corner now. But its YOUR baby now.” (This was her response when I called her to share the happy news that we adopted a mixed race little girl after many years of infertility. She eventually came around when it turned out our little girl looks caucasian.)

    N Mother: “You haven’t tried hard enough”. (When I told her we have decided to go the adoption route after years of heartbreaking infertility”.)

    Me (sad voice): “It hurts me when you talk like that”. NM:”Oh you are so ungrateful. I just try to help, and what do I get. Nothing is ever good enough for you!”

    NM: “You have always been such a difficult child”. Me (couldn’t help it! lol! ): “Well, the way I see it, I have many friends and people who truly care for me. I have stable relationships and I can keep a job. I think you are the difficult one.” NM: abuse/rage/violence

    Then there is all the regular abusive talk but I wouldn’t call them great quotes :)

  28. Karen says:

    Hurricane Opal shifted gears and appeared to be headed straight for Pensacola. We made the decision to get out of Dodge. I called Mom and said, “Listen, I don’t want you to worry. The phone lines will be out but we’re leaving town and we’ll be fine.”

    Mom’s response (mit da Zherman akkzent): “Un huh. Zo, vhat do you dink of dat O J trial?”

  29. Tracy says:

    When my stepfather had a heart attack, someone asked my mother in the hospital if she was doing OK. “Why wouldn’t I be OK?” she asked. “I didn’t have a heart attack!”

  30. Henriette says:

    I had myself a narcissist, and boy, did he say and do the darndest things!
    .
    HIM: “How are you? Oh, good. Well, I hate my job, I hate my job, god I hate my job. (He’s an artist who has to work in kitchen design for a living, and hasn’t painted in years). I hate my ex-girlfriend whom I let in and loved, and she treated me horribly. She had the audacity to say I never paid for dinners, but I can’t afford to! Blah, blah..blah. Of all the women I could have had – I chose her. But she gave me the bowl of poison and I bless her. I will take the high road and bless her even though she’s fat and horrible.”

    (Take the above and times it by two every day for four months when we’d run into each other walking our dogs. He had his captive audience in me. And no – he never picked up the check at restaurants.)

    ME: After telling him I wish he’d be more upfront on where our friendship is going:

    HIM: “I don’t need your drama.” (Exactly. Not MY drama. Only drama wrapped in a prettier, younger package- to be mentioned later.)

    Now…On Facebook, the morning after the night we had a nice dinner together. This little passive aggressive ditty showed up on his wall. I was a bit devastated. I thought things were going well:

    HIM: “I’m so grateful to have all the wonderful women in my life as friends, but sorry ladies, I don’t think that any of you are girlfriend material. I need to find a real girlfriend.”

    ME: ”So, after last night’s dinner, I guess I’m no longer a candidate?”

    HIM: “Sorry, You didn’t get the job.” (LOL!)

    ME: “Wow. I never applied.” (Fake LOL! Real FU)

    It was then I realized, I wasn’t the only lady he was chumming it up with. There were others out there. Yes, our “relationship” was in a grey area. We were friends, but I foolishly hoped in time we’d have a bit more. So sue me, I was attracted. But the daily audience I was giving him was wearing me down. After some months, I was dreading seeing him. He exhausted me. I realized that he added no value to my life. But he lived nearby and I had to walk my dog, so the chance of running into him was high.

    Then one day he ran up to greet me, jumping up and down (he’s 54 years old) singing “I saw my ex last night! At an LAA meeting! I saw her! I saw her!”

    Oh, did I mention he’s a love addict? He spends his evenings not making art or doing the things he complains he has no time for, by going to Love Addicts Anonymous meetings. I knew this. He told me. I gave him some credit for being somewhat self aware to try and handle this issue. That’s why I stuck around – until this particular day.

    His glee in seeing this ex (whom he noted didn’t engage with him at all that evening), was disconcerting. Then, he changed the conversation by mentioning that he decided to date a woman who was 20 years his junior and who was still living with her boyfriend. So, that’s who he chose out of the lady candy store of life. Someone unavailable and possibly crazy.

    ME: “Aren’t you going to all these LAA meetings to stop seeking out these dysfunctional situations?”

    HIM: “She’s almost out of the relationship with him. They’re just living together. It’s nothing anymore.”

    ME: “But someone in her position should give it time before moving on with you – and you should know better than to encourage it.”

    HIM: (Miffed) “Well, your reaction shows that I shouldn’t tell anyone this anymore.” Then, awkward silence.

    That’s where I saw the Love Addict in full force. I backed off and went home with my dog to write a private message on Facebook to tell him that I no longer wished to engage with him. Obviously speaking to him face to face was useless. Plus, I express myself better in written word.

    Now, I’m confronting a narcissist about his narcissism.

    ME: “I can’t express myself when I’m with you. You don’t consider my feelings, nor my advice at least as a friend. You crave dysfunction. You spend your time at meetings to correct these choices you make, yet you continue to practice them. I can’t be around that.”

    HIM: “Well, then stay on your high horse, in that castle of an apartment of yours….”

    I stopped reading. Of course, he’s throwing it back to me. Typical reaction. We stopped communicating then. One year ago. Considering he’s not an immediate neighbor, I don’t see him often since there are other routes he can take. However, just today – he walked in front of my building. He does that from time to time. It’s like he wants to be seen by me. It makes meI think back to the day he was jumping up and down over seeing an ex at an LAA meeting, as if to say – ‘See? I’m here, and I’m doing so much better without you in my life!’ The only thing is – I don’t care about him.

    I’m happy to not follow him on Facebook and read all the bad poetry he writes when the moon is full. It’s a relief to not read the comments of middle aged ladies who befriended him from other sights, fawning over his treacle of words. I’m glad to not hear his snarky debasing comments, or boasting about how he always cooks his own food everyday when seeing that I ordered delivery. It’s nice to not read his postings on how women far and wide are drawn to his blue eyes, plastering a looming picture of his baby blue peepers peering over his Facebook page, or reading his pretentious prose about how the world is all about him. I’m not sorry I’m being hard on him. I was vulnerable. I gave him a chance, and he hurt me. I’m glad I learned that his behavior has a name, and I realized that if I’m attracting men like this, perhaps there’s an element of narcissism in me. I’ll take this bowl of poison and learn from it. And I’ll bless him, but only so far.

  31. joanna says:

    my narcissist ex-boyfriend…

    “my brain is AWESOME!”

  32. Sally A says:

    When I was 8 or 9, I was bored and hopeful for some quality time with my dear dad who was working on one of his many projects in the garage. I asked if I could help him with whatever he was working on. He said, “You can help me by going away.”

  33. tracy says:

    I have a round face. There’s a photo of me heading to high school graduation — I’m half turned toward the camera, saying something as I smile. My face looks slimmer in the photo. One day as we were looking through photos my mom said, “I know why you like that picture. It makes your face look smaller.”

    The chilling part is she said it with a knowing smirk, as if she was winning some secret game I didn’t know we were playing.

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