The Deidré Wallace System

11. How It All Starts: Rejection And Abandonment In Childhood Can Lead To Extreme Narcissistic Behaviour. Find Out Why.

6 Posted by - September 5, 2014 - My Step-By-Step Relationship System, Uncategorized

Blog 11. How It All Starts: Rejection And Abandonment In Childhood Can Lead To Extreme Narcissistic Superior Behaviour. Find Out Why.

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To understand relationships we must first understand how we all develop emotionally.

Remember that my blogs are divided into major sections. The blogs in this first section describe the behavioural habits that my clients presented me with. They are the fundamental issues that we all grapple with. Why? Because we are all the same – our issues are just packaged differently.

Narcissism and Abandonment:

Abandonment, either emotional or physical abandonment, is an important element of understanding narcissism. And in a previous blog, I wrote that on a scale of 1 -10, we are all abandoned – and therefore to some extent we are all narcissistic. However extreme narcissism, also known as a narcissistic disorder, can become a problem.

And narcissistic disorders can be experienced not only via parents but also via personal and business partners, as well as colleagues and bosses too.

But what is narcissism?

 It is a combination of:

An inflated sense of self.

– A delusion of grandeur.

– A need for praise and admiration

– A sense of entitlement.

– And manipulative, controlling and bullying behaviour.

– A lack of empathy.


Narcissus is referred to as a beautiful young man who falls in love with his own reflection. Unable to love anyone other than himself, his inability to enter the world of human relationships proves fatal: he literally drowns in his own image.

It is a survival or a defensive mechanism attempting to replace the unconditional love they feel they never received in childhood.


This defensive mechanism can lead to what we call a narcissistic disorder. It describes someone so needy of positive approval, stemming usually from their early years, and from either emotional neglect or abuse. Terrified of a repeat of the emotional abandonment and it’s effects, and terrified that they’ll lurch into a pit of insecurity, self-punishment, self-hate and shame, narcissists prefer to stay in control by manipulating their surroundings or situations. As a result, all their energy is directed towards satisfying this insatiable self-centredness. But this can result in controlling and manipulative behaviour.

A narcissist usually also constructs a massive ego so as to defend a shatteringly fragile self-esteem. It’s a fatal combination, consisting of manipulative charm and relentless cruelty. And this usually depends on the levels of abandonment or indeed abuse, they themselves may have experienced as children.

As a result of their trust issues, which will have emerged out of any emotional abandonment, they usually develop and expect unusual levels of loyalty from others. If it isn’t given freely, they can become very angry and disappointed. As a result, they may walk away from relationships – if they sense even the slightest disloyalty. Unfortunately, if they ever get confronted or if anyone disagrees with them, then this could also be construed as a form of betrayal.

And when a narcissist starts feeling insecure, they often resort to threats or blackmail as tactics to get people or a situation back under their control. 

They can also become very aggressive and even destructive. And at a minutes notice they can either violently blow up, or usually – they choose to just go quiet. They may even resort to punishing you further, by remaining silent for long periods without contact – hoping that you’ll seek them out. And when you don’t, they often start grooming others to take your place, because their need for an applauding audience is paramount to their ego’s survival.

However they CAN, at the ‘drop of a hat’, let go of relationships they cannot control. Unable to see their own vulnerability and anxiety, they often accuse people of failing them – not realising that they have indeed failed themselves.

But although they may denigrate some relationships, they may actually idealise others, especially if a relationship suits their ego, or if they can say, show off who they know. As a result, they may tolerate abuse and bullying from the relationship – as long as they get the applaud they crave. 

Narcissists therefore, feed off adoration and they thrive on getting your attention. Many will do all sorts of things to get attention and they’ll do anything to attract an audience – because mostly they get bored very easily too. Consequently, they are forever concocting the next saga or happening, even if it’s just in their heads.

And if a narcissist feels that they’ve become your ‘knight in shining armour’, this will thrill them to no end. But, once they’ve got your attention and your admiring gaze, be warned – lest you dare to gaze or give anyone else attention, even for just a moment. It can result in them feeling abandoned and this can cause them to slip back into their emotional bleak black hole – filled with with fear of rejection, self-hate, despair, ugliness and so on.

Then they may start plotting again as away of climbing back out of their black hole on order to feel in control again. As a result, they may be the instigators of all sorts of drama. Yet they always fear being caught out or exposed. And if they ever are, they can behave as if their world has been smashed up. Because if they are ever reminded of their past rejection or abandonment, they will attack at any moment if they feel vulnerable or insecure.

But a narcissist will usually never acknowledge the full extent of their emotional black hole feelings. And they also will never take responsibility for anything. It will always be someone else’s fault – and they will go to great lengths to prove it too. They can spend hours or days coming up with manipulative stories or lies, that can even seem quite believable – but really the only one convinced is the narcissist. Others usually sense that something is not quite right.

But once they sense any form of betrayal be careful, at this point they can start making your life a misery. Often they can turn into abusive bullies as they turn the tables and accuse you of victimising them. This is how they usually try to get back their own control, and this is how they try to control you again – by making you feel guilty.

This behaviour also might remind you of Karpman’s Drama Triangle, (the rescuer-victim-punisher or bully triangle), which I explained in a previous blog. Yet although they may apply these techniques on others, they will only ever admit to playing either the victim or the rescuing hero – but never the punishing villain.

And they love to play a game of cat and mouse. They love trying to dominate and prove you wrong – because they must be right, always and at all times. And sadly, this game can become a habit of which they are totally aware of.

Narcissists are often very clever and as a result, they know exactly what they’re doing. They often have many reasons too, except of course the reason for their narcissism, which in most cases could be too scary for them to even begin to contemplate.

So they prefer to surround themselves with a faithful audience of admirers which they can manipulate and control – an audience that never questions but marvels at everything they say or do. As a result, their egos often inflate even further and this is usually why nobody can tell them anything. And they certainly would never consider therapy or advice from anyone, as they always know it all.

But because they are so focused on themselves, they have no real interest in you. They may offer excellent advice but only so that they can appear superior or all-knowledgable.

And sadly too, narcissists can dominate relationships with little regard for other people’s needs, feelings or wishes. Often they’re unable to accept that others have different interests and expectations of their own.

And if they fear you in any way, they will try to turn everyone else against you, just to prove they were right about you. And they will try everything to prove that they are indeed loved and supported by others and certainly, not as bad as you might think.

There are however differing degrees of narcissism:

All of us have self-engrossed and needy moments. And a certain amount of narcissism is essential for our psychological health. There are even times when it is vital for narcissistic neediness to prevail as the baby for example, needs the reflection of a mother’s adoring gaze and her attention in order to feel secure.

As we grow older, we usually begin to feel confident and secure enough within ourselves, after receiving sufficient and ‘good enough’ love and attention as well as praise from our parents. But sometimes this does not happen. If a child is continually rejected, never praised, criticised, abandoned or unloved, or even abused physically or sexually, they can begin to develop the negative traits of narcissism. Consequently, narcissists can begin searching endlessly for positive reflections of themselves to ward off an ever-threatening inner insecurity.

And if they do find someone who will love them, and if and when, for whatever reason they feel any separateness or abandonment, they will rage and quickly withdraw. Why? Because their inner life is often frozen with loneliness, sadness and fear.

But unfortunately, narcissists are often emotionally empty shells. If they’ve never received unconditional love themselves, how on earth would they ever know how to return it? How would they ever truly know how to give of themselves or indeed, how would they understand the joy of giving, if all they ever wanted was to receive?

And often this is what a narcissistic parent struggles with too.

The Narcissistic Parent:

A narcissistic parent can be so preoccupied with protecting their self image that they tend to lack the empathy and compassion necessary for rearing their own children – and usually their own needs always come first. As a result, they often find it very hard to see and accept that their children have needs besides their own. The only way they can survive emotionally – is if they can control you. And they need to control you – so that they always remain in the limelight. This way, they can also get away with their bullying tactics as well as their abusive or destructive behaviour.

Narcissistic parents however, also love to brag about their children – not as authentic individuals but rather as objects. Often they can refer to their children as ‘they’ or ‘it’, and rather as ‘my child’. Often they refer to ‘MY’ children as having done this or that – this is because the child is viewed as an extension of the parent.

And if a child ever tries to assert itself or reclaim their identity – this could be seen as a worrying and dangerous threat.

Very quickly a parent may bully the child back into submission. And if the child is smart, they will quickly learn that within the family unit, and in order to survive emotionally, they will have to behave in a manner that appears to support and admire their parent. But this can become very isolating and even emotionally and creatively claustrophobic for a child.

Narcissists have two faces – one they wear in public and the other they wear at home. Only those close to a narcissist would have any idea that there is more than one face. A frequent frustration for the children of narcissists is that, everyone else often thinks and views their narcissistic charismatic parent as the most amazing person ever. Yet in reality and at home, the child suffers the control and manipulation in silence.

And the child can also be denied friends, because the narcissistic parent often becomes very envious. Usually they desire to have the full attention of their child and any friend may be seen as a threat. And seeing their child playing, talking and laughing with others, may feel like a dreadful betrayal. Consequently, the narcissistic parent may feel rejected and even abandoned by their child. And if the child does spend time with friends they might feel guilty, knowing that the parent will be sitting at home feeling hurt or even angry. Returning home could then become fraught with anxiety as the child knows they will be confronted with a perceived betrayal by the manipulating parent.

And they may enjoy the game of divide and rule as the play one sibling against the other.

But breaking away from a narcissistic parent can however be very hard, and it often takes an enormous amount of skill and courage:

The narcissistic parent will try to make you feel guilty. They will blame you and they will play the victim in order to try to keep control of you. If you accuse them of anything they will try to find ways of projecting the blame back onto you. But staying in the clutches of a narcissistic parent can become detrimental to both your emotional and physical well-being.

And any relationship a child has, would be seen as an even greater threat. The narcissistic parent would either try to flirt with boyfriends or girlfriends or indeed husbands or wives. They will try to win them over in order to get their permission to continue bullying you – as they put you down and find an ally in your partner – or indeed any children you may have.

And this can be very worrying. Exposing your children to either a narcissist grandmother or grandfather can be very painful. And it can be very distressing when your own children begin to turn against you. So be careful.

And know this too – narcissists can be found everywhere especially if you are attracted to their charm and charisma

Narcissistic personal and business partners, colleagues and bosses:

Unfortunately, we attract what we know and if our parents were narcissistic in any way, then we may continue to attract a partner who has narcissistic characteristics.

Become aware and watch out for this.

Narcissists can be found everywhere and their victims can be easily drawn in, especially if they fall for the charismatic facade of the narcissist.

And sadly, any lack or crumbling self-belief might mean that some are prepared to accept mere crumbs that are thrown their way, believing that they don’t deserve more. Consequently, many land up colluding with the Narcissist.

And even if a narcissist appears to be smart and clever, often they have no real concern for others. Their prime focus is usually beamed on how they can create a self-protective shell of arrogance and grandiosity around themselves, so that they can get away with outrageous and often shocking behaviour as they smile and walk away. All because they never received the love they wanted and craved.

Are you a victim or do you have contact with a narcissist?

If this is the case, you may want to reconsider your relationship or you may want to keep any communication to the minimum. This is because:

As hard and as frustrating as this might seem, no matter what you say or do, you will not change or convince a narcissist. Their ego’s are so huge, yet so fragile that any prompting only makes matters worse. Leave well alone and get on with your life.

– If you are a victim it is impossible to make them realise or admit anything through communication. They can’t help themselves and their trauma is usually very deep.

– The best way to forward is by severing all communication. Leave – and don’t ever look back.

– The hardest part of dealing with a narcissist is that you will never get closure. 

– You will never get any admission of guilt, and if you do, it means you will be back in their clutches. Why?

– Because narcissists never admit to anything – without an ulterior motive. They will only ever act if it suits them.

– Also, if they go silent this is their method of punishing you. Often they start the silence off by stating that they’re not going to argue with you. But during the silent treatment they may actually be grooming their next victim – which they’ll take great joy in parading in front of you.

– And any reaction from you will only get used against you in order to make you look crazy, especially when they tell others only half of the story, as they conveniently leave out their actions that riled you in the first place.

– Because a narcissist excels at deception – which should never be underestimated. They will go to enormous lengths to distort the truth and mislead. 

And this is why it is so important that you learn to protect yourself. And for your own peace of mind, contact should be minimal – yes, even if it is your parent.

Bullying, controlling or abusive behaviour should never be tolerated.

If you are finding asserting boundaries and pushing a narcissist away hard, then it might be time for you to ask for help. There are many support groups for partners, children and work colleagues of narcissists. Therapy may also be another avenue to explore.

Trying to deal with a narcissist on your own can be very difficult. They can be extremely manipulative and controlling – and their mind games can also be utterly overwhelming. This is why you may need support.

It is also not the role of the child to ‘mother’ the parent.

No matter how sorry you may be for a narcissistic parent or partner, as adults they have choices. They could seek help. What happened in their childhood is for them to deal with. As hard as this may seem – it is NOT your responsibility, and the quicker you walk away the quicker they may find help. And if they don’t, then at least you got away.


We all display narcissistic tendencies. We all need attention at times and we all need positive reinforcement. However, it’s quite amazing, when you think just how much energy it must take to be a Narcissist, and to constantly manipulate and control others so as to seek out attention and affirmation!

Emily Levine once wrote, “I thought Narcissism was about self-love till someone told me there is a flip side to it – rather it is unrequited self-love”.

And Mason Cooley also once wrote that, “Narcissus weeps to find that his image does not return his love”.

Sad but so true.


The Real Effect of Narcissistic Parenting on Children by Karyl McBride, Psychology Today, Feb 19, 2018.

Narcissists raise children who suffer from crippling self-doubt.So how does narcissistic parenting affect children?

  • The child won’t feel heard or seen.
  • The child’s feelings and reality will not be acknowledged.
  • The child will be treated like an accessory to the parent, rather than a person.
  • The child will be more valued for what they do (usually for the parent) than for who they are as a person.
  • The child will not learn to identify or trust their own feelings and will grow up with crippling self-doubt.
  • The child will be taught that how they look is more important than how they feel.
  • The child will be fearful of being real, and will instead be taught that image is more important than authenticity.
  • The child will be taught to keep secrets to protect the parent and the family.
  • The child will not be encouraged to develop their own sense of self.
  • The child will feel emotionally empty and not nurtured.
  • The child will learn not to trust others.
  • The child will feel used and manipulated.
  • The child will be there for the parent, rather than the other way around, as it should be.
  • The child’s emotional development will be stunted.
  • The child will feel criticized and judged, rather than accepted and loved.
  • The child will grow frustrated trying to seek love, approval, and attention to no avail.
  • The child will grow up feeling “not good enough.”
  • The child will not have a role model for healthy emotional connections.
  • The child will not learn appropriate boundaries for relationships.
  • The child will not learn healthy self-care, but instead will be at risk of becoming co-dependent (taking care of others to the exclusion of taking care of self).
  • The child will have difficulty with the necessary individuation from the parent as he or she grows older.
  • The child will be taught to seek external validation versus internal validation.
  • The child will get a mixed and crazy-making message of “do well to make me proud as an extension of the parent, but don’t do too well and outshine me.”
  • The child, if outshining the parent, may experience jealousy from the parent.
  • The child is not taught to give credit to self when deserved.
  • The child will ultimately suffer from some level of post-traumatic stress disorderdepression, and/or anxiety in adulthood.
  • The child will grow up believing he or she is unworthy and unlovable, because if my parent can’t love me, who will?
  • The child is often shamed and humiliated by a narcissistic parent and will grow up with poor self-esteem.
  • The child often will become either a high achiever or a self-saboteur, or both.
  • The child will need trauma recovery and will have to re-parent themselves in adulthood.

Note: Narcissism is a spectrum disorder, so think of it as a continuum ranging from low-level traits that we all have to some degree to a full-blown personality disorder. The higher the level of traits, the more damage gets done to children.

Note: © 2014 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace

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  • Zvonko April 20, 2015 - 7:24 am Reply

    I have doubts about behaviour changes. I know it’s some sort of resistance, too, as habits like eating not enough and smoking and avoidant behaviour are well established and there is fear of doing it otherwise.

    However, I mean it more on the strategic level – those are just symptoms. I avoid people because I feel not important enough, “left out”, “not smart enough”, “not good enough” – all of these. However, thinking about changing those concious habbits is just a concious change. It is just changing the symptom.

    I did start psychoanalysis 2 months ago, but it takes place weekly only, so a lot of hours of psychical symptoms of held down emotions (tightness in stomach (pain), gasses and tightness in chest). I’ve been through a lot, did horrible things to myself, but I have no idea what excatly I’m pushing down. I think it has something to do with guilt, but I’m not sure – I would only intelectulize it. That’s how lost I am …

    What you are trying to change conciously, is just a “fake” thing basicly. I will tell you an example from like seconds ago. My grandma told me “Your telephone is ringing downstairs”. My emotion was anger. My thoughts were “What do you want again, you old bitch?” “It’s just an alarm, it doesn’t mather, anyway” (I thought this one because of the fear of responisbility or something like that, I guess, not sure). However, I DID become aware there is some anger and anger is most of the times unrational so I tried to ignore this part and thought “What is the right answer?” … and replied “Thank you”. But still, I heard myself as I said it – in my emotional tone – there was still this primary response. So I answered “perfectly”, but it was just fake. It feels very depressing how settled all of this is. This rage inside. This hate. Huhh … though at least there is no guilt afterwards, I have to admit. If I would respond in “normal” mather, like “WHAAT?!” … I would feel guilt afterwards.

    What do you think, then? Is basicly this kind of the awareness to see anger and try to act out of the question “What is normal?” a way to learn? You think one may learn more empathy in this way? Or is therapeutic process like psychoanalysis more appropriate, because you built trust and then this kind of reponses are automatic? Or, is it that both ways work as long as you DECIDE to become a better person and stop the karma … ?

    And now I feel like I told everything. This is probably a symptom, too, so you don’t have a lot of things to counter me (meaning, criticize me) – I just try to tell everything I know. 😀 ah… it is not funny, either.

    • Deidré Wallace January 23, 2017 - 6:42 pm Reply

      Dear Zvonko

      I do not offer personal advice on this blog however it sounds like you need to keep up with the psychoanalysis as it will help you in the long run. During your sessions, start a diary or journal as that will help you focus your mind.

      And best wishes as it sounds like you are on the right track.

  • Andrea Barthen December 19, 2016 - 9:07 am Reply

    Thank you for your very professional and helpful advice. I am in a very destructive relationship with a man who was abandoned by his mother at 4 and left in an orphanage. Where you say that a narcissist must have total control even by using entrapment, and has illusions of grandeur about himself and his own son, and reading your other blogs is helping me to leave him. He has been physically abusive, controlling so that I cannot have other friends, almost destroyed my relationship with my daughter thru his jealousy and to make a long story short has been trying to convince me to marry him without him signing a prenuptual agreement which I asked if he would do. At the same time of proposing marriage to me he has been having an affair. He agreed to go to see a therapist with me the last time he hit me, and then once I went back to him he began his arrogant behaviour all over again, saying he was not going to go. I couldn’t put together how he could do the things he does to me, such as shout suddenly, leave, be gone for days, and then come back saying he loves me and acting affectionately. He is really troubled I can finally see because of the information you have put together for people like me. I am so grateful. I want you to know I was praying to god for help, understanding and strength to get out of the relationaship and late last night I found your blog. I am an American living abroad and could not find a good English speaking therapist so this is my lifeline. I am actually really afraid of him now and his son too, who is even worse…..where you say that they have 2 faces….one for the world and one at home is so true. Your knowledge and descriptions are so very accurate. THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!! Until now I felt so lost and felt I did not know how to cope.

    • Deidré Wallace January 23, 2017 - 6:39 pm Reply

      Dear Andrea

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I don’t give advice here

      It is my absolute pleasure to have been of help.
      Thank you too for what you wrote, ‘Your knowledge and descriptions are so very accurate. THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!! Until now I felt so lost and felt I did not know how to cope.

      Keep reading the blogs as there is more to come.

      Best Wishes,

  • missn January 30, 2018 - 5:32 am Reply

    I have terrible abandonment issues and I believe it is caused by my own narcissistic tendencies after becoming a parent to my own parent who also suffered from this condition . I have another sibling who I think has npd because of the relationship with the parent and the eldest is codependent . ,the perfect fit for someone with this disorder. That my 86 year old mother has the condition is het issue and while I can empathetize, the most important thing to me is healing me. I have tried to take a spiritual approach to healing and it might help partially . ..but the suffering is still intense , I know there is a real lack of self love and I am working at change but it’s do hard. Just wanted to say that.

    • Deidré Wallace January 31, 2018 - 11:14 am Reply

      Dear Nancy

      Thank you for sharing your abandonment experience.

      And yes, the healing journey is not always easy. Keep working at it though – and eventually tenacity and persistence will win the day.

      Keep reading my blogs and do let me know how you get on.

      Kind Regards,

  • Sm February 4, 2018 - 8:22 am Reply

    I have been feeling terrible since a month. Unable to figure why and all my old unpleasant memories came flooding back. I had lovely parents who were emotionally unavailable for me. No love and no conversation . Dad tried to shower me with physical affection but I never really wanted it. I wanted my mom’s attention which I never got. Was always treated as a brainless kid even by my cousin’s . Performance at school was very ordinary. No friends at all for some reason …. I was very childish and always managed to say the wrong things at the wrong time. Moving to 11th grade where I managed to.make a lot of friends but also fell into a relationship which was manipulating and got taken for a ride. The guy left em after two years of making me believe I would be married to him. Moved across many relationships which didn’t last beyond 3 months and was primarily physical. Lingers relationship lasted 4 years in which the BF was controlling and possessive. Fights with my dad increased and so did shouting at home. Finally found a lovely man who made me feel on top of the world. Married him. Put him through some bad fights through our marriage but he is sensible n sane
    And has stood by me. Why is it just want affirmation and praise all the time …for some reason my confidence is rock bottom. . Or rather attention…. ! I guess Ur article was very informative. Let me try n change and break all old habits.

    • Deidré Wallace February 6, 2018 - 11:59 am Reply

      Hi SM murthy

      Thank you for sharing your experiences. Much appreciated.

      Your last paragraph is very encouraging.

      We can continue replaying the same record over and over again, but at some point, once we have had enough of our childhood issues constantly impinging on our adult lives, we can begin to break the habits holding us back. Thankfully you seem to have reached this point.

      But please do remember that doing so, will require full-time commitment and persistence until you get it right. Let me know how you get on.

      Best Regards,

  • ben madly June 4, 2020 - 6:58 am Reply


    What a solid piece of work that resonates truth all the way through, from start to finish.

    “If you are a victim it is impossible to make them realise or admit anything through communication. They can’t help themselves and their trauma is usually very deep.”

    Deep indeed. An orphan that has been abandoned by both natural parents
    I cant imagine what that would do to a person…I use to say..but but now I dont have to imagine because I know through experience what it can produce.

    An adult who has never addressed the hurt and emotional scar can become the narcissist.

    There is no way to understand the magnitude of the emotional pain from being rejected from both parents…I can see how it produces such an extreme personality such as narcissism
    It seems to be the exact opposite of being rejected and not loved..born out of a necessity..

    I myself gave up after years of trying to help… and I decided to leave. I believe the only way to open their eyes is through a love that few have.

    It would have to be a love that continues loving them no matter what
    .faults and all…knowing and living with the possibility that they will never change, ever and being okay with it and still pouring out your heart beans of the eternal love of Christ.

    But how many can actually do this? Few few few. At all.

    Because the norm would be for the victim in the relationship to continue trying to help the person open their eyes…because from their perspective any person not able to take accountability for their actions as far as we understand …how can they be forgiven by God? In order to be forgiven one must recognize they have done wrong and ask.for forgiveness…which as we see it they are not able to do since they cannot take accountability

    In short to us they are in the eternal road of destruction. So there we are trying and trying to help them. Not giving up because Christ has never given up on us.

    And up until today, I never considered nor thought of the following concept until reading and examining your work on this subject, which is:

    If you say they cannot help it, their trauma is deep. And for an orphan with no parents who has been abandoned …there is no disputing the trauma is not calculable.

    Yet we believe they can help it..they simply chose not to. Perhaps the trauma is so severe they suffered it is like this: a child who has lost a limb or a leg to a IED explosive devise..and now lives the rest of their life without a leg. They will be forever without it.

    Perhaps this is irreversible for some.
    Today, I see perhaps I am the guilty one. Perhaps so are you for writing this. Suggesting to leave the narcissit. What if Christ left us? And gave up hope. What if it was us with a blown off leg and no matter how bad we wanted to run with two legs we coudlnt.

    I dont have these answers and none of us will. My advice is ask God for an answer. Only he knows whether they are truly damaged and unable to change
    …like a person that has a damaged frontal lobe… only he can answer whether they are full of shit..and just being stubborn.. or if they truly cannot help themselves.

    If we decide to stay…it would seem the best route is to find it within ourselves to love them unconditionally…all their imperfections we hate..and all the things we love about no longer trying to help them see or open their longer trying to get them to take accountability or getting them to run the 100 yard dash since they only have one leg…..just loving them through it all…through compassion and understanding.

    What a tall tall order. God helps us

    • Deidré Wallace June 4, 2020 - 3:26 pm Reply

      Hi Ben

      Thank you for leaving such a considered reply.

      You wonder whether leaving the narcissist is the best route. We can love unconditionally and this means that we can understand and forgive. But we also have to love ourselves. Trying to do this whilst staying with a narcissist – is nigh impossible. This is just a reality that needs facing. Wish them well and get out. Not doing this will create years of unnecessary pain. Why? Because I have seen the fall out and misery this can cause. This is why I wrote what I did. However, I recognise that everyone has their own path to lead.

      I wish you all the best in your own journey and thank you once again for replying.

      Best Wishes

  • Kimberly June 8, 2021 - 5:45 am Reply

    Let me start by saying that I’m on my 3rd narcissist. They’ve gotten consistently worse with each one and the one I’m with now is by far the worst. I suppose you could say God prepared me in advance with the first 2, and I thank Him for that. Without them this 3rd one would’ve completely destroyed me as a human being. I learned of narcissism with the 2nd one and soon afterwards left that relationship, heeding all the no contact advice.

    I am a HSP and yes, highly empathic. I know we attract narcissistic types, as I well know firsthand to be the truth. I read everything I can to educate myself about narcissism, it’s causes, behaviors, symptoms of abuse, and ultimately, how to survive it and get away. Nothing could have prepared me for the nightmare I’m living now. Even as I write this reply he is giving me the silent treatment, it’s his #1 control tactic. Most people would say, “Just leave him” , ” He’s not worth it”, or “He’ll never change” and I know all this. I would’ve left a few weeks into the relationship if I could have. What does one do when unforseen circumstances collide with this realization of being with a narcissist? My explanation will reveal itself in the following paragraphs. I’ll try to keep it as short as possible.

    When I met my boyfriend (I’ll call him #3 from now on) I was living with and caring for my elderly mother. She took me in upon my leaving #2. In reality I should’ve been focusing on healing myself from #2 while getting back on my feet. I fled with few possessions, my dog, and my car. But, my mother needed me, she needed help so I stayed, becoming her self appointed caregiver. Prior to this I had stayed 5 years with my father who succumbed to COPD 6 months earlier. I desperately wanted my own life and someone to share it with. Admittedly I resented this new role and it’s timing. This was supposed to be my time. However unfair it might have seemed, I was grateful to my mother and knew there was no one else in the family that would do it. Besides, the empath in me couldn’t live with herself so, leaving her alone wasn’t an option. I didn’t go out much and had no friends close by so, I used online dating to meet someone new. I should point out that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a step father. My childhood was wrought with chaos and dysfunction. I do not have abandonment issues and I am not a narcissist. Through years of therapy and a lot of Oprah Winfrey shows I gradually healed myself. I blossomed into a confident, independent, self sufficient, out going mother of two great kids. I know my worth, I have good self esteem, and I don’t think I need a man to survive. It helps but, not a requirement. That being said, I met the 3rd a little over a year later. He lived quite far from me, a 1/2 hr Uber ride away. Hind sight is always 20/20 but, because he was stuck without a truck for the weekend, I went to see him. He was very handsome, charismatic, sensitive, thoughtful, and kind. He even rescued a homeless guy a who was living in a room by the shed out back. He wasn’t perfect but, he had a very good start or so it seemed. Still I reserved my opinion and tried to see him objectively and honestly not wanting to make another mistake. The following weekend I saw him again. Due to the distance we lived apart, I stayed the weekend at his place. I can remember a couple red flags that I should’ve paid more attention to at the time. I had a habit of gaming on my phone and, if left alone for awhile, I resort to my games to fight boredom. I also love music and use the playlists on my phone and Bluetooth as the source. Music is also an escape for me when I’m troubled. I had brought my little dog with me this weekend as my mother could not take care of him. My first red flag was when #3 was sitting across the room in a chair watching TV and not interacting with me at all. Finally I asked why he was so far away and he says “You have the dog next to you all the time. I’m not a dog. I feel like you’re petting me like a dog when he’s on one side and I’m on the other”. This irritated me but, out of respect I put my dog in the bed I made him to make room for “JUST #3”. My dog was always next to me so this was no easy task to keep him away to accommodate #3. It must have been fun for him to watch me trying though. Next he commented on my phone, though I selected music from it I hadn’t played a game unless he was gone. Needles to say I, again, was irritated but, kept the phone in my purse the remainder of the weekend. I recognize now he was already starting to test my boundaries and exert his control. At the same time he was making sure he came across as being the best thing that ever happened to me and saying all the right things to set his trap. When I was on my way back home the next day I received a text from him that said “I love you”! I thought, oh boy, this isn’t good. I told him I had a 4 to 6 month minimum rule for the “L” word, trying to be funny and make light of it so to speak. He replied he was serious and he couldn’t help how he felt. He didn’t care that it has been only 2 weeks. He wasn’t asking me to say it but, that’s how he felt. I apologized for making the joke and told him I was flattered. I got home feeling confused and happy at the same time. I then didn’t hear from him for 3 days afterwards. He said there was a problem where he was living and he’s been staying elsewhere. Red flag! You couldn’t call or text me for 3 days? He said he’d been dealing with a few things but his feelings hadn’t changed. He promised to come over the next day after work to meet my mom. Next day he called saying he couldn’t make it. At those point I’m about done. My intuition is kicking in and I can feel something isn’t right. The following day I went to help a friend for the day. When I returned home I found my mother still in bed and no lights on. I found her unresponsive. She had died in her sleep during the night. Not wanting to wake her that morning I left her there sleeping, or so I thought. Suddenly I’m all alone in the world. Not to mention, no money, no job, no car, no family to speak of, and no close friends. I called the only person I could, #3. He came immediately. He was my knight in shining armor, my saving grace. I’m my mind I felt God sent this angel because he knew I needed someone when he took my mom. Not only did he come that night, he never left. That was 2 yrs ago. Over the course of those 2 years he’s subjected me to the worst hell I could have ever imagined. He is the epitomy of narcissism in all of it’s forms. What I knew up to that point on the subject was only preschool. #3 operated on a whole new level and is capable of such cruelty and dehumanization that would surprise most professionals. I live in a constant state of anxiety and hyper diligence. There’s no sense of security or normalcy ever. I live with constant criticism, insults, accusations, name calling, and devaluing on an epic scale. It would take pages and pages to describe the atrocious behavior he’s capable of and I’ve personally experienced. The only word I can find to describe it is incomprehensabile. In 2 years and with the pandemic we’ve been broke, jobless at times, lived in a ghetto in Vegas for a year, been evicted, and lived in our truck for 4 months. I spent those 4 months in the truck usually alone and traumatized because even in the face of being homeless and destitute #3 didn’t miss an opportunity to put me down or belittle me. Currently he is working again and we’re in a extended stay, thank God. What I’m struggling with now is having the strength to get a job again so I can leave. Our truck is in my name but I don’t dare take it from him. I know I’m functioning on minimal self esteem and confidence. I cry almost daily and have for over a year. #3 doesn’t care, the abuse continues no matter what. The show must go on right? I feel like I’m in the seventh circle of hell. I just keep getting strength from reading articles like this one and trying to educate myself in ways to cope with #3 until I can leave. I heart even if I get a job, he’ll find a way to sabotage it like he did in Vegas. No matter what I do he finds a way to ruin it for me.

    I’m so sorry this is so long. The question was “What do you do when unforseen circumstances collide with the realization you’re with a narcissist”? I don’t know what I could’ve done differently at the time but, my fear of being alone is definitely a factor and I will be working on that to avoid hooking up with a #4 narcissist. For now I focus on getting through the night and reminding myself to bed strong. Thanks for reading my post – Kim

    • Deidré Wallace June 10, 2021 - 12:19 pm Reply

      Dear Kimberly

      You just have to google Narcissism on Pinterest and all the memes about the subject will pop up. Usually, the best way is to stop all contact and to run as fast as you can – in the other direction, no matter how hard it may seem.
      Then head off to therapy in order to understand why you seem to be attracting them – as they’ll probably pop up in other areas of your life too.

      Good luck.

      Best Regards,

  • Scotia March 18, 2022 - 1:30 am Reply

    Wow! Thank you for this article and especially all of the comments. My son who is 26 years old is a Narcissist. His father left when he was four years old and he never looked back. I have struggled to help my son for 20 years. He exhibits all of the above features: alcoholism, drug use, rage, inability to maintain a job, inability to maintain relationships, inflated since of self worth, and more. The more I try to help him the more combative he becomes. Our communication is one hundred percent broken. My day to day life is filled with fear and worry. After reading this information I am hopeful that I can have him treated by a psychotherapist but that will be difficult to persuade him to do. Leaving is not an option. Any tips from this amazing group will be appreciated.

    • Deidré Wallace March 20, 2022 - 7:08 pm Reply

      Dear Scotia,

      This is a tricky one to resolve and I am truly sorry.

      Firstly, people should want to go to therapy via their own volition. Forcing or suggesting that they do, will only create irritation, resentment and further alienation.

      Secondly, and my heart goes out to you: When people show narcissistic tendencies, self-awareness is never on their agenda, because it is far too scary for them to ever contemplate. Also, often they are also stubborn gaslighting, power seeking bullies. And once this pattern is ingrained, it is very hard to shift. Consequently, the best route is usually no communication. You may have to cut yourself off completely, as it is very hard to have a healthy relationship with a narcissist of any kind. Trying and trying to redeem the relationship will only leave you feeling hurt and bewildered by their behaviour.

      And if you Google narcissism on Pinterest, there are thousands of posts that support this.

      Regretfully, you may have to be cruel to be kind and hopefully, you will recognise that this is the only option for your own mental health and self-worth.

      But do let me know how you get on.

      Best Regards,

  • CHRISTINA January 16, 2023 - 8:58 pm Reply

    The orphaned narcissist syndrome is utterly heartbreaking. My father lost both of his parents from a very young age (died when he was just toddler) and he lucked out and met the love of his life in his early 20’s. He and my mother are married still about to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
    Only this past year have I been able to understand the utter devastation (I’m in my early 40’s now) that he as a narcissist caused to my life and psychological well being and emotional development. Years of progress were lost as a sensitive empathic child having internalized his emotional manipulation, abuse, demeaning, and terror at his rage episodes. He isolated our family of friends and the ensuing years led to decades of drug use, promiscuity, low self worth, and basically squandered energy. It was the projection of his own shadow and shame that gave rise to such an invisible driver in my own life that I had never even understood was there. Always life was just deeply sad, deeply painful and deeply lonely. My mother is codependent and enables his behavior, I believe out of a deeply ingrained fear of abandonment (she lost her mother, brother and father within the span of a couple of years in her early 20’s), and of his anger (though he has never been physically violent, he is all too eager to make everyones life a living hell if things do not go his way). The saddest thing is I love them both dearly. My father has had one of the most interesting lives of anyone I know, and my mother is literally the greatest sweetest cutest woman in the world! She is the best of what America in the greatest generation is, a sweet Irish Russian lady beautiful and a magnificent storyteller. There is never any room for me to have a closeness with either of them because his shame leverages a control over the whole family and he never lets my mother out of his world for more than maybe half a day at a time. I tried to start communicating with him again, explaining the pain that his behavior caused. His apology felt like an attempt at expediency to get things back to they way they’ve always been. The way that destroyed my psyche. I’m building myself up without being in contact with them because he never took in what I said to him over the years. The criticism, blame, meanness, rage episodes, the shirking of responsibility and inability to truly care about how someone else feels, he never had the mirror as a child, nor had the opportunity to develop a self. Very deep sad stuff. I’ve been trying to tell him, but it doesn’t seem to land or sink into him. Which is just more sad because both of them love me dearly in their way. They are supportive, but could never get to a place that acknowledges my own independent separate-person existence. The enmeshment is severe. God bless them both. They’ve both had such heartache and tragedy.
    It’s been so sad trying to work through this part over the past year. And even now I don’t know how to go about it. Working on how to communicate in a way that doesn’t hurt or destroy them and respects myself. Their 50 year anniversary is coming up and I want to be there for them.

    • Deidré Wallace July 3, 2023 - 12:06 pm Reply

      Dear Christina,

      I am so sorry.
      It is really difficult to come to terms with a narcissist’s behaviour.
      Often the best way is to find a way to forgive them, as many behave as a result of their own childhood pain or trauma. And then to keep walking away, (without any expectation that one day they will take responsibility for their actions), so that you can at least work on your own healing in order to get on with your life.
      Fingers crossed.


  • Glenn April 10, 2023 - 10:58 pm Reply

    I lost both my parents within a month now I feel like I’m a narcissist I can’t seem to get past it

    • Deidré Wallace July 3, 2023 - 12:10 pm Reply

      Dear Glen,

      I am sorry.
      Do try and read my blogs on grief as they may help you understand the process of all the feelings that you go through whilst mourning a death.
      It may feel devastating for a while however if you can find a bereavement counsellor, it may help you too.


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