This is an interesting one

Had an interesting therapy session last night where I mentioned that it was easy to demonise my narc and conclude he was a nasty psychopath who was out to hurt me for his own sick amusement. I also mentioned Narc Boy's recent revelation with regards to his feelings of vulnerability, and my therapist mentioned the possibility that maybe it was that he was so terrified of feeling vulnerable that he had to "win" in every situation, lie to feel superior, and basically find any method possible to stop himself being emotionally vulnerable. And I have to admit it sounds like a reasonable theory and fits the facts, plus it seems to fit in with the way narcs work in general.

So now I'm left wondering if he's a narc or a psychopath. It seems such a fine line.

What are other peoples experiences with their vulnerability? Do they do anything to hide it? Do they panic if it shows?

How could I's picture

Only saw mine appear very vulnerable at the anniversary of his brother's death. He said that he always wondered why the "good one" died. When he started to show some emotion regarding this, I tried to hug him and he clammed up. Would not let me comfort him, yet he used to be, in our honeymoon phase, very warm and loved to cuddle. I told him once during an argument that he always seems to make it a win/lose situation where he had to be the one to win and I lost. Well, I have come to the conclusion that - to win, there has to be a prize. And if the prize is not worth winning, then who cares? Thanks to all of you guys and your posts, I am finally beginning to ask - why would I want this prize? He is not worth it.
Susan32's picture

When I told the ex-Psych prof I loved him, he angrily lashed out at me, launched a smear campaign, claiming I was making sexual advances on him. Telling him I loved him made him feel vulnerable, "weak" and I was supposed to be punished for showing "weakness." I made him feel vulnerable... so I was punished for it. It explains his cold&callous treatment of me after my grandfather&pastor friend died. In "War and Peace",Prince Andrei lashes out angrily at his young pregnant wife Lisa when he senses that he's about to weep with her, be compassionate, be empathetic. He sees her tears as weakness, as show, and lashes out in anger. It's called narcissistic injury. Remind a Narc he's human, and you have hell to pay.
Sunafterrain's picture

applying how normal people would respond to a narc or a psychopath is very self defeating. They cannot be cured. They cannot be helped. Part of what you're describing is what many Cluster B's use and that's the pity ploy. In Martha Stout's book, the sociopath next door, she outlines that someone who has repeatedly hurt and yet advocates for your pity over and over, is almost one hundred percent a sociopath. No matter what happened in his childhood, has no reflection now on his behavior. If that were true, we could blame our childhoods for everything and NEVER change our behaviors. The difference between Cluster B's and the rest of us is that they without conscience. If you find yourself feeling sorry for a personality disordered person, DON'T. They don't feel sorry for you and they don't care. That's very harsh, I realize, but it is reality. The only thing I see insofar as any compassion towards of of these people is the walking tragedies that they are in that they will NEVER have normal human behaviors or feelings or conscience. What is even more tragic is that they will leave this life, with a trail of hundreds maybe thousands of victims left behind. Focus on you. He's not worth the time and trouble.
Caligirl's picture

Yet, the harsh reality saddens me. You're so right. They go on unphased, onto the next victim, forget about us, leave a trail of damage... They tell themselves and the next unlucky soul it was us. We were crazy, unhealthy, needy, insecure...treated them bad, a b!tch, when all we did was try to love them and help them, but they can't be helped. It is truly sad.
peacelily76's picture

I know that my ex narc was bullied by older boys at his middle school and he ended up socialising with younger boys because of it. He would never speak of this bullying. He developed a callous front to mask his vulnerability. I tried very hard to allow him to relax and drop the mask but he refused to do it. He hinted at his vulnerable side to hook me back in but he would never, ever let it drop. I think he views women with contempt because we are allowed to be sensitive and vulnerable and we are open and share things. He also sees us as amazingly easy to control and play with, like a human toy. We are not older boys, we are little girls. Nice little girls. Aren't all people vulnerable? It's what you choose to do with it that counts. I was beaten by my father and yet I do not cover up the past by causing others harm. I have no need to mask anything. I am me. I am open and honest with those I trust. I just posted this for thousands to read. I have a strong sense of fairness and I am consistent. Vulnerable or no, I take full responsibility for my actions as an adult and I do not manipulate others. I would rather come up to the line and speak my piece fearlessly. Vulnerability is there to allow us to feel the pain. We are allowed to be scared and wary of others in this world. But we should not use it to hoist our own sail on a continuous basis and bleed others dry. Nor should we mask our vulnerability by cutting off those who could ultimately help us. We could be missing the greatest opportunity of our lives by adding more bricks to the wall around our heart. My ex, I think, resented me for my strength and good nature. Despite what happened to me during childhood, I made the very adult decision to cease all contact with my father at 18 and it stayed that way. I stick to my guns. When I walked out of my ex's door 18 months ago, I think it surprised him that I did not leave a forwarding address. The end was the end. I know it only surprised and shocked him for about 24 hours before he got back online and cruised for new supply but hey, I think I still got through (my ego likes to think so anyway!). My ex will never be a happy man because he has built a wall around his heart. Like the Selfish Giant, he will not let others play in his garden. He is like a cold winter. He will never open up and be honest and lay ALL of his past of the table for his NS to know because there is too much stuff that is difficult and painful for one regular human being to digest. It is a terrible shame for him and all I can feel is compassion. It has taken 18 months of research and working this out for me to finally come to the conclusion that he isn't ever going to feel the joy, love, excitement, passion, anger, sadness or inspiration I feel because he doesn't know these words. You have to ultimately feel sadness for these people. They will never share fully in the human experience and that is their tragedy. Vulnerable they may be but they have switched off their emotions to deal with it.
FarmGirl's picture

I hope in 18 months I can be as strong as you :)
Caligirl's picture

Driving them to win. There was a point I might've thought, "Yeh, he cared so much for me, he was afraid of being vulnerable (to hurt), so he blah, blah." I never saw my exN cry. I tend to think of it more as insecurity and cowardice which makes them become bullies. I think the last time these narc freaks felt vulnerable was in their original wounding that caused the split, and for men, sealing that wounded little boy in a vault. Now it's just eat or be eaten to them, but I wouldn't call it vulnerability. I think they've been doing it so long, it's just habit. It's what they do. It's flat out aggression, bullying. But I think it's just semantics. Vulnerability makes it sound like they have a heart and there are feelings. I'm beginning to think it is more fear from insecurity, so they think attack or be attacked. Sort of like a dog going for the jugular bc they sense an attack from another dog. Instinctual. Vulnerable makes them sound more human to me with real human emotions. I could be wrong, but that's my two cents.