Author Topic: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist  (Read 75139 times)

Hopalong

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2008, 03:30:19 PM »
Unread letters from Nparents, shredded, make really good mulch for the vegetables.

love,
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Certain Hope

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2008, 04:02:40 PM »
Unread letters from Nparents, shredded, make really good mulch for the vegetables.

love,
Hops

Points noted.. all of them.

Thanks, Hops. You've helped.

Love,
Carolyn

SilverLining

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2008, 12:56:14 PM »
 

I also was parentified, and I believe scapegoated (though I don't understand the dynamic of how the two co existed) but didn't realize it until about two thirds through my recovery which is now in its eight year. 

Kindest regards,

tt


Hi  TT.   

Maybe parentification is an unconscious dynamic (to them) which is then compensated by a more visible process of scapegoating?.  I've seen something like this going on in my FOO.   They parentify you, but this isn't comfortable at some level, so they have to beat up on you at the same time.   It all fluctuates day to day making the whole scene into emotional chaos.  One day they are dependent, the next day they feel like being parents so then you are put "back into your place".   Seeing through the whole game is very challenging.   


Certain Hope

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2008, 01:13:04 PM »

They are as religious about writing to me as they are about attending church... and in neither case is their any genuine relationship. God knows how I feel about that!

Carolyn

Hi Carolyn.  I was wondering if you also experienced "parenting by mail" since there are so many other parallels in your FOO's.  The letters from my parents (mostly my father)  drove me nuts with their criticisms,  self absorbed content, and no invitations at all to any real dialogue.  I finally decided it was an extension of the usual pattern.  For my father it was a way of monologuing on paper with no danger at all of reciprocal interaction.   And he could tell himself he was a good father for putting the time in to write these letters. 


Religion is a tough issue for me as well.  I was required to attend church weekly for my early years, but it was obviously just a ritual.  My father didn't attend, which made it more confusing.   I'd like to find some sort of spiritual group,  but my early experiences were so bad it's hard to get over the distrust of organized religion. 



     

Hi, tjr,

Had to take a couple days before replying to you here because - of all ironies - a gigantic stack of letters from them just got opened here at our house.
After sitting next to the hearth for 2 months, just piling up, my daughter brought this tower of large manilla envelopes to me the other night and asked,
half-heartedly, "should I open these?"  I said, "If you feel like digging through it. I don't."  So she did.. sorting and separating.. piles of this, and that, just as she's seen me do with past batches.

And it hit me just now, as I re-read your post here - - it's not even "parenting by mail", but more like indoctrination... like we get from the political candidates
or some non-profit group to whom we made a donation once, 15 years ago. And it never stops. You're on... "The List".

I still haven't read their letters. Daughter got through half of them and quit. It's bizarre... copies of vfw and Am.Legion mags, envelopes full of jokes (some pretty questionable), even old cards which have been sent to him by some of his questionable friends - - as though - - what?
It's important for me to know that other people send him cards? I don't get it.

Monologuing on paper with no danger at all of reciprocal interaction - - indeed! It's so creepy... almost like he's trying to pour himself into me or my kids - - and not in a good, positive way!
He has this way... almost as though he worships himself and wants to tightly control our vision of him. At the same time, he sends this stuff which makes a mockery of my mother's perfectionism and n'ishness... like photos labeled "this is grandma's back yard"  and "grandma's flowers which I planted, watered, weeded", etc etc
Leaves me feeling miserable.
I didn't even read them, and I still felt tainted... just by getting a glimpse of the rubbish.\
And the church bulletins and ultra conservative (only a select group of Lutherans have the straight scoop and will go to heaven" newspapers... he is still sending them.
This after writing that he "respects" my thoughts -  whoopee - after I poured my heart out to him in writing about my relationship with Jesus and how much I've learned through our pastor/teacher.
Some respect.
He never asks anything about us, only keeps sending his propaganda.
okay, end of rant.

Sorry, guess I didn't wait long enough before replying... but yes, I understand.
And I have never gotten over my distrust of organized religion... it wouldn't be prudent. lol
oy

Carolyn


P.S.  Hi, tt... I see you over there... just a day late and a dollar short, these days. xo

Certain Hope

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2008, 03:00:53 PM »
 

I also was parentified, and I believe scapegoated (though I don't understand the dynamic of how the two co existed) but didn't realize it until about two thirds through my recovery which is now in its eight year. 

Kindest regards,

tt


Hi  TT.   

Maybe parentification is an unconscious dynamic (to them) which is then compensated by a more visible process of scapegoating?.  I've seen something like this going on in my FOO.   They parentify you, but this isn't comfortable at some level, so they have to beat up on you at the same time.   It all fluctuates day to day making the whole scene into emotional chaos.  One day they are dependent, the next day they feel like being parents so then you are put "back into your place".   Seeing through the whole game is very challenging.   




tjr, I think that's what my dad does in one of his mailings. The dirty jokes are his parentification of me and the religious materials are to put me back into my place as the lowly female who must be educated in spiritual matters by him.  The blindness of it all is staggering.

Carolyn

Certain Hope

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2008, 09:35:00 AM »
Here's some peripheral info I've gathered....

Millon identified several varieties of presentations for NPD (in a clinical setting).

These are:  Amorous,   Compensatory,   Elitist,   Fanatic,   and    Unprincipled

This is classic stuff, but I'm reviewing it with an eye to how these categories might be lived out by the shy, covert N - rather than the glaringly overt ones.

Since the Don Juan personality is the one that I think becomes obvious fairly quickly, I'll skip over that one and go straight to the features of the Compensatory N personality.

Millon observes that,
for the compensatory narcissist,
life is a search for pseudo-status,
an empty series of aspirations that serves no purpose other than self-enhancement.

Instead of living their own lives, they pursue the leading role and achievements
in a false and imaginary theater not related much to reality. 
Should these pursuits totally lose their grounding in reality,
becoming increasingly an imaginary world peopled with self and others as in a dream,
compensatory narcissistic persons begin to deceive themselves in a manner not unlike that shown by paranoid persons.  


However, whereas compensatory narcissists strive for prestige in a world composed of real people,
paranoid persons act out their aspirations in solitude. (As, I believe, do the shy/covert N's)

 Because of the insecure foundations on which their narcissistic displays are grounded,
compensatory narcissistic persons are hypervigilant.

These persons have a deep sense of inadequacy at their core which they seek to hide by a display of (actually feigned) arrogance.

The hypervigilance is displayed, I believe, in the covert N, as an obsessive, paranoid state of defensiveness...
and the display of feigned arrogance seems to warp into an equally feigned humility, which is only unveiled to those closest... or those with a keen eye who observe the covert N when she doesn't get rewarded for something for which she thinks she deserves accolades.

At least, that's what I've seen. At some point the covert N begins to implode (or melt-down) when she doesn't get sufficient acknowledgement of what she views as her ultra-perfection in at least one arena of her life.




SilverLining

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2008, 02:15:31 PM »
I didn't even read them, and I still felt tainted... just by getting a glimpse of the rubbish.\
And the church bulletins and ultra conservative (only a select group of Lutherans have the straight scoop and will go to heaven" newspapers... he is still sending them.
This after writing that he "respects" my thoughts -  whoopee - after I poured my heart out to him in writing about my relationship with Jesus and how much I've learned through our pastor/teacher.
Some respect.
He never asks anything about us, only keeps sending his propaganda.

It looks like you are under constant assault :(  Sadly the content is all too familiar.  My father doesn't do church, so his mailings have to do with science.  It doesn't matter I haven't shown much interest in science over 45 years.  If it interests him then it's gotta be of interest to the world, and anybody who declares otherwise must be stupid. 

And I understand how hard it is to ignore the stuff.  Somehow throwing it away doesn't seem to solve the problem.  They put us in a no win bind.  If we answer we are sucked into their weird reality.  If we don't then they can feel righteously indignant for not getting a response, when they put out so much effort to "relate". 

SilverLining

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2008, 02:26:13 PM »
Here's some peripheral info I've gathered....


Millon observes that,
for the compensatory narcissist,
life is a search for pseudo-status,
an empty series of aspirations that serves no purpose other than self-enhancement.

Instead of living their own lives, they pursue the leading role and achievements
in a false and imaginary theater not related much to reality. 
Should these pursuits totally lose their grounding in reality,
becoming increasingly an imaginary world peopled with self and others as in a dream,
compensatory narcissistic persons begin to deceive themselves in a manner not unlike that shown by paranoid persons.  


However, whereas compensatory narcissists strive for prestige in a world composed of real people,
paranoid persons act out their aspirations in solitude. (As, I believe, do the shy/covert N's)

 Because of the insecure foundations on which their narcissistic displays are grounded,
compensatory narcissistic persons are hypervigilant.

These persons have a deep sense of inadequacy at their core which they seek to hide by a display of (actually feigned) arrogance.

The hypervigilance is displayed, I believe, in the covert N, as an obsessive, paranoid state of defensiveness...
and the display of feigned arrogance seems to warp into an equally feigned humility, which is only unveiled to those closest... or those with a keen eye who observe the covert N when she doesn't get rewarded for something for which she thinks she deserves accolades.

At least, that's what I've seen. At some point the covert N begins to implode (or melt-down) when she doesn't get sufficient acknowledgement of what she views as her ultra-perfection in at least one arena of her life



Very interesting.  It sure seems to fit.  In recent years I've come to believe my father is moving deeper into a fantasy world.  Or maybe I'm just getting better at identifying the usual fantasy world.   He seems to talk and act as if playing out a weird drama inside his own head.  It's obvious real others in the vicinity don't exist for him, at least not as anything other than one dimensional card board cut outs.  Others might trigger a response, but the "dialogue" is with characters in his own psyche.  It's very weird to experience.   

 He maintains enough of a thin thread of connection to shared reality to not get himself labeled as crazy.  The thread can only be maintained by living a ritualized, isolated lifestyle in a quiet stress free place.  I've observed him when minor stresses come up, and it's clear he has a mini breakdown.    

He's very paranoid as well.  He lives in an extremely safe neighborhood in a small city but he's always worried about burglaries, carjacking, and other events that are very unlikely to happen.   He won't even venture into a big city. 

More pieces to fit into the puzzle..   
« Last Edit: February 17, 2008, 03:40:56 PM by tjr100 »

Hopalong

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2008, 02:52:50 PM »
Hi TJR,
Thanks very much for all your wise posts lately...I'm learning a lot from you.

Quote
They put us in a no win bind.  If we answer we are sucked into their weird reality.  If we don't then they can feel righteously indignant


I had this thought. How about setting aside 5 minutes a week for a kind of screwy-Tonglin meditation? That could be, meditate long and hard about wishing them enormous, profound gratification in their righteous indignation? Visualize and encourage and send white light to them for great, satisfying joy in their righteous indignation? Wish them successful righteous indignation!

I imagine once you finish that, you truly won't bother any more about what they feel...since you can't control it anyway, and this exercise would help you well and truly let it go.

Then you win! (Your serenity and mental freedom.)

love,
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Certain Hope

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2008, 04:25:01 PM »
I didn't even read them, and I still felt tainted... just by getting a glimpse of the rubbish.\
And the church bulletins and ultra conservative (only a select group of Lutherans have the straight scoop and will go to heaven" newspapers... he is still sending them.
This after writing that he "respects" my thoughts -  whoopee - after I poured my heart out to him in writing about my relationship with Jesus and how much I've learned through our pastor/teacher.
Some respect.
He never asks anything about us, only keeps sending his propaganda.

It looks like you are under constant assault :(  Sadly the content is all too familiar.  My father doesn't do church, so his mailings have to do with science.  It doesn't matter I haven't shown much interest in science over 45 years.  If it interests him then it's gotta be of interest to the world, and anybody who declares otherwise must be stupid. 

And I understand how hard it is to ignore the stuff.  Somehow throwing it away doesn't seem to solve the problem.  They put us in a no win bind.  If we answer we are sucked into their weird reality.  If we don't then they can feel righteously indignant for not getting a response, when they put out so much effort to "relate". 

Hugs, tjr... I hear you. Thanks for hearing me. It's so weird to wake up one day and suddenly realize that your own parents never had a clue who you really are... nor did they care to find out. When all of this really began to come to light for me was when I quit drinking, over 3 years ago. That's what really broke the tie that binds... far more than all the religious stuff.
One item I saw in the miscellaneous stuff he sent (when daughter opened this latch batch) really angered me for a moment... especially in light of the last words of his to me which I willingly read, when he wrote:  "I respect your thoughts... we'll talk about this more 'unter vier augen'"

I hate that expression... "under 4 eyes"  - or face to face...  because I know that with him, that means his whiskey breath blowing all over me, my back against a wall, sending chills down my spine, while he fills me in on his world-view, of which I'd had earfuls since birth.

Anyhow, what I saw in this last batch was a devotional booklet, addressed to my teenaged daughter, with his note written on it, telling her that she should read it... 
despite the fact that he now knows (I've left no room for doubt) that our views of God and religion are extremely separate and that I am instructing her of those differences... telling her point blank that I view his belief system as a dead religion.
Seeing that, I knew that I could not read the notes accompanying all this other junk... because he could not claim to respect my thoughts and then try to stuff that down my daughter's throat.

There is so much more, but it's pointless to list...
and I just want to say that I'm thankful, to you, for hearing me as I put all of this together into one not-so-neat package... because I guess I just needed to rant a bit, to someone who knows the depths of frustration and hurt.

All that science stuff he sent you... I used to think dad was trying to make a connection with me the only way he knew how. Not any more.
It's more about pouring himself into you, as he faces his own mortality... so that the great and awesome "him self" can live on.
Years ago, it was about trying to force food on me, or drink... and when I'd refuse, his response was:  "You don't know what's good for you."

At this point, I don't care whether or not he feels righteously indignant. Right, I say that... and yet I've never said aloud, "Look dad, I don't read all this stuff and I don't want it, so please don't send it anymore."  Why not just say that?  Because I don't want to hurt him.
Yes, I understand the bind.

Thanks again, tjr... might not feel much closer to a resolution, but surely there's one just around the bend!
(As long as we don't go around the bend tryin to locate it!!)

Carolyn

SilverLining

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2008, 12:35:23 PM »
All that science stuff he sent you... I used to think dad was trying to make a connection with me the only way he knew how. Not any more.
It's more about pouring himself into you, as he faces his own mortality... so that the great and awesome "him self" can live on.
Years ago, it was about trying to force food on me, or drink... and when I'd refuse, his response was:  "You don't know what's good for you."



I agree completely.  I tried for years to talk myself into believing it was a real attempt to communicate, but maybe just faulty due to lack of social skills or whatever.  But that doesn't explain the underlying current of hostility and systematic refusal to register anything about me or my point of view.  I can tell my father over and over I don't have interest in a particular topic, and the next time I see him he'll launch right into another monologue on the topic.  It isn't a memory problem, since he remembers the details of his own preoccupations for years.  And he regularly denigrates any interests or opinions I might express. 

Maybe as they face mortality, the narcissistic project gets all the more desperate.  They are clinging to their one little fantasy of competence and have to dump it on anybody who is willing to put up with it.  Parentified adult children make great targets.   

For me as well, a lot of things started coming clearer when I quit alcohol and other means of "self medication".   Alcohol might have been an attempt to fill the emotional emptiness and deaden the pain, and without it I had to start looking for real answers.  It's been a long haul, but it seems things are getting lighter. 

 
« Last Edit: February 19, 2008, 12:47:15 PM by tjr100 »

SilverLining

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2008, 01:01:00 PM »
Last year, I had to "walk away from the table" regarding interactions in a community setting with someone who is a scientist, and also, sadly, has some kind of personality shift/disorder.   Not only myself, but, others too -- bizarre was, and is, an understatement.



Hi Leah.  Yes science seems to attract a lot of unbalanced personalities.  I've come to believe it's a power weapon for people such as my father.  He didn't get into it out of curiosity or a desire to solve problems.  At an unconscious level he just wants to prove to the world how smart he is, and science is a great tool for invalidating other people.   It's now obvious to me a lot of what my father claims is just made up on the spot to counter what others are saying.  A day later his "scientific" point of view can completely change.   




SilverLining

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2008, 01:12:50 PM »

I had this thought. How about setting aside 5 minutes a week for a kind of screwy-Tonglin meditation? That could be, meditate long and hard about wishing them enormous, profound gratification in their righteous indignation? Visualize and encourage and send white light to them for great, satisfying joy in their righteous indignation? Wish them successful righteous indignation!

I imagine once you finish that, you truly won't bother any more about what they feel...since you can't control it anyway, and this exercise would help you well and truly let it go.

Then you win! (Your serenity and mental freedom.)

love,
Hops

Thanks Hops.  This looks like a great idea to me.  When we find ourselves getting tied in mental knots over this stuff, stop and meditate, instead of letting it grind on. 

reallyME

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #28 on: February 19, 2008, 01:23:17 PM »
This topic applies to my husband as well.

I have also been "treated" to "I never said that.  Your memory is OFF.  That didn't happen" from both my husband and my daughter.

Usually, with my husband, he will actually "think" he is saying something to me, and it never leaves his mouth...it remains in his thoughts.  Then, when he will say "why didn't you do such n such.  I told you I needed __________," I will say, "no you didn't."  He will say, "I did TOO.  I said _____________" and I will say, "you may have THOUGHT ___________ but those words never came out of your mouth.

At times, my daughter will say "no, dad.  you didn't say that."  He will then have to say "ok well I MEANT to say it."

With my preg daughter,Anna, I can ask her "remember when you used to show me how to do the "pop"...you used to dance in the living room and try to get me to do the dances with you from that era...."  She will say "huh? you're trippin.  I never danced for you.  You must mean like YEARS AGO when I was about 6!"  If I press it, she'll say "you're thinking of Carol (other daughter)." 

So, last night, I asked Randi in front of Anna, "I'm trying to check my memory ability here...do you remember how you and Anna used to show me dances like the pop and other things from your era?"  Randi said, "yeahhhhhhhh."  Anna then told her "you two are NUTS!"

It's the same story with my cooking dinner.  All of a sudden, nobody wanted to eat what I cooked, when Anna and Randi began wanting to do dinner.  Now, if I try to make anything, I'm told "get out of the kitchen.  Nobody's gonna eat what you make anyway, so you'll be cookin for yourself, mom!"  When I say "don't you remember the nice meals I used to make"  the girls will say "we only ate that stuff cause we had to.  YOu SUCK at cooking.  Let the real people who know how to do it, do it."

Even my husband says he doesn't remember me baking bread for him for years.  To him, he has erased it all from memory.  Even his sister said "oh YEAH I remember how you used to bake all those types of bread for my brother and me.  He's nuts.  He doesn't remember that?"

So, it's as though all the memories we had together, do not exist in my daughters' minds.  It's like every day is just another day for that moment and the past never happened.  It is very DISILLUSIONING living with people like that!

Certain Hope

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Re: The Shy/ Covert Narcissist
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2008, 04:49:55 PM »

Maybe as they face mortality, the narcissistic project gets all the more desperate.  They are clinging to their one little fantasy of competence and have to dump it on anybody who is willing to put up with it.  Parentified adult children make great targets.   

For me as well, a lot of things started coming clearer when I quit alcohol and other means of "self medication".   Alcohol might have been an attempt to fill the emotional emptiness and deaden the pain, and without it I had to start looking for real answers.  It's been a long haul, but it seems things are getting lighter. 

 

Dear tjr,

Hurrah for the new brightness of view and lighter load!!  I can feel these things clicking into place now, as though they're finally fitting and not just floating in position, ready to jump back up and demand attention over and over again. Talking with you here has really helped so much... thank you!

Sincerely,
Carolyn