Degrees of Narcness?

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#1 Oct 3 - 3AM
gettinbetter's picture

Degrees of Narcness?

I wonder about the Degrees of Narcissism as it seems that my Narc makes guest appearences into the human world. I sometimes feel like he may feel something. I have felt compassion albeit a very rare occassion. What I mostly see are his true Narc qualities but every now and then I see him passing in between the real human world and his Narc World. It almost like I can feel his heart right there like he's reaching out and then wham he runs away back to Narcville.

Oct 5 - 9PM
shortway's picture

I see him passing in between

I see him passing in between the real human world and his Narc World. It almost like I can feel his heart right there like he's reaching out and then wham he runs away back to Narcville. Wow what a great way to put it!!Very true..It's like I almosssst got yaaaaa..ahhh nope..
Oct 4 - 11PM
Susan32's picture

Three degrees of Narcness

-At the lowest end, I'd put my maternal grandmother. She appreciates my achievements, she helps out at church. She does have NPD... and now Alzheimer's. I have empathy and compassion for her... she's my grandmother, after all. But I can see why being with her is draining for my mother. She literally stresses out my mother. Selfish, yes, but not a monster. -In the median, I'd put my former boss. He was HONEST about preferring men over women, about having a boyfriend. He tried to be helpful as a boss. He played coworkers against each other, he was a micromanager--hardly perfect, I wouldn't defend his behavior, but I wouldn't call him a monster either. Heck, he had HOBBIES! He liked to cook, likes music. He went back to culinary school... good for him. When I found out he had been fired 8 months after me, I didn't rejoice. He's not someone I'd consciously hurt on purpose. I've been NC with him... but I don't despise him. -At the extreme, it would be the ex-Psychopath professor, because he put the most effort into trying to emotionally and professionally ruin me. When my grandfather died, he'd say that I should toughen up, and that if I were so unhappy, I should kill myself. He had a suicide fixation. If I had killed myself (or tried to), it would've been his ultimate ego boost. Of course I couldn't do that....(cruel laugh) I once CARED for him. When I've broken NC with him, I notice I barely use the word "you"--I guess if I give supply, well, it's tainted, like giving wine so watered down that the water is vaguely purplish. I mock him (something he hates),I parade my happiness, and wish him happiness. Someone here said that when "former supply turns on them" it makes Ns/Ps "aggravated, dismayed and outraged." Thank goodness! I went NC on him first... and since he's been NC with me for a decade... that means I'm too good for him (pathologicals only throw away the best) and that I'm not one of his fellow enablers, bullies or gossips. His silence isn't torture... it's a relief. Still, the ex-P creeps me out. A former classmate of mine stayed behind to be a professor;she died enigmatically last year. Her COD was never disclosed. Then there are those troubling West Mesa murders in New Mexico...
Oct 4 - 8PM
NancyM's picture


Sometimes I think there are, and sometimes not. I have observed a few, and one thing they can do is evolve to a new way of being, but still without any new emotional level. They can learn to ACT in NEW ways, hence the changed man. The thing about personality disorders, is they are often co-morbid with other disorders, hence their can be different ways of acting out. Added to this is... if a Narc can only learn from copying instead of actual emotional experience, then it is only those he/she will have contact with in life that they can learn how to behave. It is probably why they reach their peak at around mid 40, while it is us that are starting to cotton on to it at around the same age.


Oct 7 - 10AM (Reply to #69)
Susan32's picture

When they reach their peak

Sam Vaknin illustrates it pretty well. At the age of 40, a Narc/Psych can still count on their good looks, and their minds are still sharp. After that, it goes downhill. The ex-P D&D'd me when he was 36. He had gotten paunchy, the age lines were deeper. His teeth had always been bad. Paradoxically, he D&D'd me for a woman a decade OLDER than me. I was 22, the OW was 32. By now, the ex-P is nearly 50. I assume age hasn't treated him well. I doubt I'd be able to recognize him. As Sam Vaknin puts it, Narcs are at their peak at 40 because they're at the height of their powers/looks. They can still charm. After that, it goes downhill and it's ugly.
Oct 7 - 10AM (Reply to #70)
kiwi10's picture

well, that's

well, that's reassururing. my x husband got ME at 40. a really pretty 27 years old belly dancer. he used to show me pictures from four years ago and insinuate that i aged him and it 'looked like it had beena rough four years'. and i was glad about it. bastard. besides, i look the same.
Oct 7 - 10AM (Reply to #73)
Susan32's picture

Marrying an older woman

I was young, I was trophy wife material. My friend wondered why the ex-P ditched me for a woman a decade MY SENIOR who was also very masculine. She was a curator... she had $$$. The ex-P really thought money bought him affection. He didn't like the fact that I was volunteering at a local school (really,we fought over money, even tho we didn't live together and didn't share finances) and the teacher education program at UNM didn't pay either (oh,he sabotaged that) Over 4 years, I saw the ex-P go from model slim to paunchy. There were rumors of him being alcoholic... and what I heard about his Shakespeare's Sonnet class, it sounded like wine, NOT dialogue, was the point. His students couldn't remember what was actually discussed, it was the LEAST popular class (imagine that,he was teaching it during the D&D) It was all about the wine. He had crows' feet. He had belly fat... he could've given me a pound of flesh. His teeth were astonishingly bad. When I first met him, his teeth were bad. They got worse. I read about how Leo Tolstoy neglected dental care to annoy his wife, that he let them rot in solidarity with the poor (Tolstoy was a real Narc) I remember early on, the ex-P said "I am destroying myself." Well, feel free to go ahead...
Oct 7 - 11AM (Reply to #74)
Used's picture


narc said to me...he goes for older women cos he is doing them a favour......i wish when he looked in the mirror he saw what we can see, not what he saw.....they want mums. b/c mums love unconditioally...g/f and wives dont...they ask questions and want answers...
Oct 7 - 10AM (Reply to #71)
kiwi10's picture

i hope he gets really ugly

i hope he gets really ugly soon because he's pretty hot.
Oct 7 - 1PM (Reply to #72)
MsVulcan500's picture

No matter how hot

No matter how hot he is on the outside does not make up for how ugly he is on the inside. I would take a short, old, bald man (oh wait, that was my narc) who treats me really well than some young, tall, fit man who thinks he is better than everyone else and treats me like crap. That makes him ugly to me. I hope soon you see that he is really ugly too.
Oct 5 - 10AM (Reply to #68)
blueeyes's picture

NancyM?? Peak at 40?

I never heard the peak at 40 or the "cotton" on it? What is that? I am interested.
Oct 5 - 9AM (Reply to #67)
jaycee's picture


nancy, what do you mean by they reach their peak around mid 40 im unsure of what you mean, please explain, im thinking you may mean they can only learn up until that age, or do you mean, their narcness dies out at mid 40s


Oct 4 - 8PM (Reply to #63)
gettinbetter's picture

I dont kow about the forty thing

Mine is 44 and is worse now than he ever was back in he twenties. I have read that they just get worse
Oct 4 - 8PM (Reply to #66)
onwithmylife's picture

sick of it

Read a greatbook by Beverly Engel called Dr.Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, she said these personality disorders do get worse,not better because age brings other problems as well,makes sense.MY exN seemed more raging within all the time, never happy, i saw him simile once in all the years and /i am telling the truth,always unhappy,miserable and here he had a lovely, outgoing woman by his side, I cannot even imagine what he is like now, living a isolated life by himself in a very small town.I guess that is why cybersex is his only option.
Oct 4 - 8PM (Reply to #64)
NancyM's picture


I did not mean that they get better, they are probably at their most cunning and dangerous at that age, and they have pretty well fine tuned their arsenal of weaponry. Sorry for not being clearer. ;) I think after this age they generally tend to go into a slide because not all their tactics work so well anymore as age catches up with them.


Oct 5 - 7AM (Reply to #65)
Meadowbrook's picture

The narc who preyed on me

The narc who preyed on me was 45 when it started. Yes, very fine-tuned arsenal of evil weapons and tactics.
Oct 3 - 12PM
Susan32's picture

Fear of him coming back...and some triggers...

I read here of a woman whose ex-N came back after 15 years, expecting more supply. Last year was particularly triggering, since a former classmate whom the ex-Psychopath professor pitted against me died under strange circumstances. She stayed behind to be a professor, she was closer to him than me, and what's odd is that her cause of death was NEVER given, nor was it clear whether she was still a professor. She was found dead in her sleep. It's heartbreaking. A decade ago, during the D&D, I dreamt that this classmate and I had reconciled at a college reunion, with us forgiving each other. This classmate apologized for believing the ex-P's lies, and I forgave her. We were friends. Now she's dead. When I broke NC last year with the ex-P, it was to- 1)Trumpet my current successes 2)Talk about how HAPPY I am 3)Wishing him happiness (always a big NO NO with him) 4)Calling him by his real name, another NO NO 5)Ridiculing him by comparing him to my infant nephew, whose b-day is exactly a month after his 6)A travelogue Being "I miss you","I hate you","I still love you" or "You were my best teacher ever" would've been NS. So I withheld that. Of course, the ex-P hasn't contacted me in a decade. He has stayed away. I guess when former supply turns around and treats you like garbage, you stay away? I can imagine his parents saying "Don't contact her, she'll only hurt your feelings"--isn't that the advice we get HERE?
Oct 3 - 8AM
helldweller's picture


I personally think they train themselves to ignore feelings, not that they don't have any. Feelings about others are inconvenient for their plans--especially feelings of compassion or empathy. I truly believe that the narc's feelings for me were a slip up. I believe he is horrified that he ever let me in so closely to him, let me around his family and friends, let himself talk to me about marriage and family. He's making up for it now. Helldweller's not getting anywhere near his heart again, you can bet on that. And I swear I can sense the relief and the triumph that he narrowly excaped a permanent connection to another person.
Oct 5 - 1PM (Reply to #60)
hooklineandsinker's picture

That sounds very like my

That sounds very like my situation, Helldweller. I've never heard it put that way before but I bet that's what was going on with mine when he dumped me. Realised he'd painted himself into a corner (in narc terms - any normal man would have been thrilled to have had such a great, close relationship with me) panicked, and got out. I too had the marriage and baby talk and the intro to the family within 4 weeks of clapping eyes on him for the first time.
Oct 4 - 8PM (Reply to #56)
better off
better off's picture

You can personally think

You can personally think that, hd, but that doesn't make it so. The feeling of empathy is antithetical to letting feelings be inconvenient for your plans. A person who doesn't let "feelings" for others get in the way of their plans does not have empathy. Ignoring your empathy.. to suit your plans... is not empathy. Your narc did not have feelings for you then and he does not have feelings for you now. Narcissists don't "slip up" and have feelings that they are not capable of having. If your narcissist/psychopath was capable of authentic emotional feelings, he would not BE a narcissist/psychopath. This is not what *I* personally think, it's the DEFINITION of psychopathy. "Letting himself" talk to you about marriage and family is called LYING, helldweller. Lying to hook you, and he got it in pretty deep! Every one here had their narc lying to them about marriage and family, etc... they don't MEAN IT. It's just words they know they are supposed to say to get you in their web, so they can use you and suck you dry. They mimic emotions. You can say they aren't stupid, well we all know that. But you are talking about intellect vs EMOTIONAL intelligence, which they do.not.have. But they ARE so smart that they can fake it better than some people can do it for real! And how do you KNOW he never said the same things to other women?? He apparently has scores of them... you have no idea what he's said to them. Why did you have women showing up at your door, and leaving notes on your car? Because he just wanted to be friends?? I'm lost on why you think you hold a special place with him. He treats you like UTTER GARBAGE, no, WORSE than garbage. As you've said a thousand times, he wouldn't even let you meet any of his friends. Why do you suppose THAT is? You seriously think it's because he loved you that you couldn't meet anyone he knows? He had those plans for that foster child the whole time he was singing you that song about marriage and family, that he NEVER had any intention of honoring. He was NEVER going to marry you, he was NEVER going to let you live in that house. (You might find his child pornography or something!) How is yours any different than any other psychopath who lures, hooks, and discards?? How? And it's important to note that these people are NOT linear thinkers... they DO NOT COMPREHEND consequences. There is only NOW for them. So no, I don't believe in self-fulfilling prophecies. They just act. They are impulsive creatures. They see something, they want it, they act on it. Love has nothing to do with it. I know you can't bring yourself to believe any of this, but the way to get well is to realize that it's OKAY that they never loved you. They are no measure of YOU. You need to think enough of yourself to realize that the admiration of a sick freak is nothing to write home about. It's something to regret.
Oct 5 - 2PM (Reply to #57)
darkspark's picture


I second what Better off is saying. They may WANT to be normal and have feelings. They may fool themselves into thinking that they are feeling feelings. The N I know wants to believe that he will be able to find the 'cure' one day - that the right woman will come along to fix him. But that's just part of the disorder. The false self can't believe that they can't have perfection. Like a little kid that is convinced they are going to be an astronaut. If you try that little kid how hard they are going to have to work to be an astronaut, they will say that all that doesn't matter and they will get what they want. So when the N's charm offensive starts to fail and the real work starts, when they are held accountable for their promises or questioned on their intentions, the reaction is "WHOA...this isn't what I wanted. I want easy perfection. You are obviously NOT the perfect woman". But that's what REAL LOVE is. Real love only comes after putting up with the reality and living up to the expectations. Sticking through the bad times, loving and respecting another person even when they frickin piss you off. Infatuation LOVE isn't love. It's fizzy-feel-good brain chemicals that make you feel high. Narcs are never going to experience real love. For them "I love you" means "I love that you love me, which makes me feel that I have a chance at being normal". Narc "I miss you" means "I miss your supply". If they remember us fondly at all, it's because we provided excellent supply. Or because their brains remember what they want to remember, rather than what really happened. After 20 years, this Narc couldn't even remember what had happened with me - how bad he treated me, and some of the fucked up things I did in response to it. His brain had filtered out all the bad stuff and all he remembered was 'darkspark = excellent supply'. Which he turned into "I should have never let you go". But at the end, it was "who are you to think you have any claim to me?" Bastard. * I meant to mention that I'm talking about feelings for other people. I do believe they feel feelings for themselves. They care massively about their own self interest. If you happen to be able to fill a need for them, they will take an interest in your feelings too but it's not genuine, just a means to an end.
Oct 5 - 9PM (Reply to #58)
anonymous's picture

Perfect Woman again

"So when the N's charm offensive starts to fail and the real work starts, when they are held accountable for their promises or questioned on their intentions, the reaction is "WHOA...this isn't what I wanted. I want easy perfection. You are obviously NOT the perfect woman"." Awesome way to summarize it darkspark - that pretty much sums up what happened to me. Are you new to the board? Haven't "met" you before but you sound like you have your shit together. Welcome!!
Oct 6 - 12PM (Reply to #59)
darkspark's picture

thanks Morty

Yep, I'm new to posting, but have been reading this and other boards for a long time. My story is posted. Ha, I wish I had my shit together. I'm getting there, thanks :)
Oct 3 - 1PM (Reply to #23)
loveofmylife's picture


I believe in what you say too. I believe they have feelings...I think I seen real ones and real vulnarabilities...but I more thought he was afraid of getting hurt, so trained himself to ignore them. And he has been hurt I can see why he would train himself to ignore them...but unfortunately it is a self fulfilling prophesy. He WILL get hurt more than the average person because of what he is doing. And I do think he is very afraid of a permanent connection to another person....and also has made the decision that he will never allow me to get anywhere near his heart again.
Oct 5 - 2PM (Reply to #55)
Scoop's picture

Oh heck

Its proof here that we normal people can not get our head around having no emotion so we have to put it in ways we understand , like "he was scared of getting hurt " noooooo he wasnt ! If you can not love then you can not get hurt , you cant be hurt if there is nothing to hurt . Personaly i can say with honesty i saw only 3 emotions from my narc anger , jeliousy and the biggest one was fear ... now its the fear thing that is difficult to read and can be misinterprated as another emotion .. the fear is a fear of having to face the miror of how abnormal they are , it is not born out of looseing a great love ,its directed to themselves .... its such a painful mind fu*k ... xxxx
Oct 4 - 1PM (Reply to #25)
helldweller's picture

the self fulfilling prophecy

Love of my life, do you think it's a self fulfilling propehcy because they sabotage it or because that's how they write the script in the first place? This is very, very interesting to me, because "self fulfilling prophecy" is a phrase that often, often came to mind for me regarding the narc.
Oct 5 - 9PM (Reply to #54)
anonymous's picture

Self-Fulfilling Prophesies

are part of the disorder. They purposefully set up the unwinable situation up front so they will have an excuse later. Read my thread with Better Off on Word Salad and you'll see how mine did that. He referred to it as "a moment of clarity". Whatever. Relationship sabotage is their modus operandi. That's what they do.
Oct 4 - 10PM (Reply to #53)
Susan32's picture

Self-fulfilling prophecies

The ex-Psych professor predicted that I'd be mocking him behind his back... and a decade later, it has been fulfilled. He was afraid that the copy of a lecture he gave me would be used as comic fodder... well, that took 14 years to come true. He used to say "Don't hang up on me!" when I tried to end the phone conversation. He'd say "One day I'll cut you loose, I've cut lots of people loose." He was afraid I'd abandon him. Then I left town without telling ANYONE. Wonder how that felt... FOR HIM.
Oct 4 - 2PM (Reply to #26)
loveofmylife's picture

helldweller self fulfilling prophecy

I think my N wants a lifelong, committed relationship very, very badly. He has all the right skills and attractions....but at the same time, I believe that he is also very afraid of it, because he doesn't believe that any relationship can work out. In that sense, it is self fulfilling. If you don't believe something can work out, then it probably won't. He has marveled many times at my "faith" and "loyalty" in relationships and has said he doesn't have faith (or loyalty!). I don't know if this fear (and he would never call it "fear", he calls it "my trust issues") was always there or if his 1st marriage but this fear in him...because he says he was abandoned and suspected her of cheating on him (although of course now, I don't know what I can believe) So I think he has chosen (at least in the last 6 - 9 years) to date/ get semi-serious with women who would never pan out. (I put the "whores" in this category) They are not his intelligence level or social level or emotional maturity level, at all. They are just fun to play with. Therefore, these relationships were doomed from day 1....but he spent sometimes years with them, but had a nice little escape hatch in the end because the relationship WAS fatally flawed from Day 1. But the GF he just broke up with, he was VERY kind to and treated like a queen, but he could never commit. So for this category of women, I think it was how he wrote the script in the first place... he chose to get semi-serious with someone not in his league, at all. However, me and the other married emotional lover are ones that he would truly be interested in and be able to have a lifetime relationship with...we are a match on intelligence, interests, fun, social status, etc.... And his xWife was a match as well. With these relationships, where the woman is more of an equal....I think FEAR sets in....FEAR of her being in control or Fear of her leaving the relationship and abandoning him. And I think this FEAR kicks him into high gear to have a need to CONTROL the relationship at all times. So when he is in FEAR and feels like he needs to CONTROL the relationship at all times, all of that weird Narc-stuff comes out and therefore, it is self fulfilling because that Narc-stuff is what drives the woman away and leads her to abandon him and then that further convinces him that he can't trust any woman to stay with him, feeds his "trust issue", feeds his FEAR further, and the viscous cycle just gets worse and worse and worse! And I think that is why WE feel like all we need to do is LOVE THEM MORE and that is what will break the cycle. And that's what I did and that's what you did. But they are deeply broken and we can't fix it. BTW, I didn't see any evidence of narc stuff going on with the "whores". But with the xWife, the xFiance (who was also on his level), and with me.... there is lots of evidence of NARC-NESS...the RO from the xWife and he said that they constantly fought. He said that he exchanged "brutal words" with his xFiance, and with me - it definitely came out. I think it was subconscious sabotaging... I think he was so afraid of losing control in the relationship that he PROJECTED all kinds of bad things on me that were not true that pushed me away. Almost like he was paranoid that I was slighting him, when I wasn't. I think he was so afraid of the potential of me abandoning him, that he had to sabotage the relationship and abandon me first. So I think that they subconsciously push away the ones that are right for them due to fear and needing to be in control (sabotaging) and that they just get bored and lose interest in the ones that were not right for them. What do you think?
Oct 4 - 8PM (Reply to #36)
NancyM's picture


Just wanted to point out some of the things you wrote loml, as most of your post in on track, but a couple of things that may be keeping you in hope. You said that "(I put the "whores" in this category) They are not his intelligence level or social level or emotional maturity level, at all. They are just fun to play with." The thing about a Narc (and I have followed your story for some time now) is that it is the emotional security that they DO NOT have. What you see is FAKED. Ok the "whores" as you call them are fun to play with because they are all on the same level. BUT a Narc wants to APPEAR to be someone better. So one of these types of women for a partner simply will not do. Who does he need? Well of course, someone like you. In a Narcs desire to be a "better" person , he will pick a better person. Then he will mimic and copy this person, thus appearing to the world as a well rounded guy. Besides if he can be with a woman like that, it must mean he is a great guy right? But then it all falls down because he now must appear to be better than HER. And the first person he must convince of this IS her. Enter Fear. Now a Narc is afraid he will be found out to be a fraud so he will pull away. He is afraid of being consumed or taken over from his emotionally mature partner, because he has none of his own. But when it all starts to go pear shaped, another fear grips him. Fear of abandonment. Read the boards, they have several choices when faced with this one. 1. Increase abuse so she will doubt her perceptions thereby holding power. 2. If she is at the level where she can see through his BS and is starting to call him on his behavior, abandon her...hence D&D. (as you pointed out, his fear compels him to abandon first, which also keeps him in the power position.) Of course it will vary from N to N and relationship to relationship, but the basics are pretty much the same. Oftentimes a Narc just believes that if he has her sufficiently hooked, he can just withdraw for a while until she 1. Just gets over it and will be grateful to have him back. 2. Is sufficiently punished and has learned her place. While this is going on the Narc can go on his merry way and PLAY for a while. If he happens across supply during this, or has someone else lined up then he may move on. It matters little to him, because if the new supply does not work out, he can always try to wheedle his way back to the old supply. Actually it is beneficial to the Narc to have a string of potentials for this purpose. I think your story is a case in point. So while you are correct in that their main motivation is fear, emotional security plays absolutely NO part in their decision making, no matter how well they have learned to fake it.


Oct 5 - 7AM (Reply to #50)
marie27m's picture

Nancy I completely agree

Nancy I completely agree with you, so well put! My exN told me he had dated many docters, psychologists etc, highly educated women. Many people have told me that he striked the jackpot with me, looks-wise and education-wise (at risk of sounding like an N myself!). I saw as time went on how he reacted with criticism and sarcasm whenever I was 'better' than him at something. He would then try to outshine me on something else. Then I started questioning his inability to commit to me; questioning all the contradictions; I told him to stop trying to control me etc. I think he knew I was onto him and he became more and more distant. He asked for space for a week and after the week pretended like nothing happened (him thereby thinking I'm just grateful to have him back). But when I confronted him the next day he just suddenly dumped me, couldn't even give me a reason as to why. Classic D&D. I know that since he has not been able to find another source of supply and now he is hoovering, playing the 'friends' card.