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Dear Victim

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barcher144 posted 5/14/2019 09:51 AM

My GF sent this to me today... she got it somewhere on the internet

Dear Victim,

I have lied to you about nearly everything. I am not sorry for this behavior because I cannot empathize with you. I chose narcissism so early in my life that I never had the chance to develop a conscience or the capacity to feel remorse or empathy for the way I hurt you. Still. I know itís wrong on an intellectual level. I just cannot feel your pain. Sometimes I wish I could, but I canít.

I became a narcissist because as a child I felt too vulnerable. I was sensitive. I felt too much and most of it was painful. I was made to feel like I was nothing, a nobody. I was hurt, betrayed, abused, just like you. I couldnít understand why I wasnít loved, or why I was treated with contempt and like I didnít matter. I was also was never given a good example of how to become a good person. I never had anyone to model in a positive way.

Life was so painful for me I had to do something about it. Something drastic. I had to become strong and never show weakness again, because my weakness was killing me. I was trained that being a sensitive person who feels compassion and remorse, a person who can love others, is a weak person. I know that isnít really the case, but it was how I was trained. I was so young that I couldnít see how wrong that might have been.

I reached a point where I had to make a choice. In order to survive, I had to sacrifice my humanity. I didnít want to do it, but I felt like I had to. I didnít want to be hurt anymore. I had to sell my soul.

In order to sell my soul, I had to shut you and everyone else out. I couldnít allow myself to feel too much. I couldnít allow myself to be sensitive anymore, and that meant I could no longer allow myself to love anyone, feel anyone elseís pain or joy, or feel sorry if I did something wrong.

I had to don this mask that I wear, which is a lie. In order to keep that lie intact, I had to treat others badly. I had to diminish you to prop my false self up. I had to hate you in order to ďloveĒ the mask that I show the world, because if I didnít continually prop myself up by making you feel bad, my mask of lies might fall off and expose the real me, a powerless and vulnerable child which I had to protect at all costs, even if it meant destroying everyone else around me. I am a bully but inside I know I am nothing. I act like I love myself but I really hate myself. I only love the mask I wear. I abuse you to protect that mask.

You can never get through to my true self because the lies I tell are nearly impenetrable. I have lied so often and for so long that I myself have come to believe my own lies. I am a walking lie. That is the truth.

I will never let you get close to what I really feel. I donít even know what I feel anymore. Most of the time I feel nothing, because a lie has no feelings. But try to destroy my protective armor, and I will try to destroy you. If I must go down in flames, I am going to take you with me. I will rage and abuse you. I will gaslight you and tell you the most horrific lies about yourself.

I may seem nice at first or when I feel like the supply you give me is threatened or you may leave. I know how to get others to trust meĖby acting like a nice person. I am good at acting like a nice person but I canít feel a nice personís emotions. Itís hard work to act nice, because thatís a lie too.

When you begin to trust me, I will start abusing you, because I must keep you at armís length and keep my mask of lies intact at all costs. Both the niceness I show you and the asshole I become are both lies. I cannot even access who I really am. I have forgotten. I just know that my true self is there, somewhere, and I can never, ever, let you meet them.

If you mirror back to me too much of the truth about meĖif I become aware that you KNOW this mask I always wear is a fakeĖI will attempt to destroy you or cut you out of my life. I cannot afford to have the truth about myself revealed to me. Nothing terrifies me more than facing the truth about myself so I have dissociated myself from it. It scares me so much to realize how evil I have become. It hurts me so much that I had to choose this fake self because of what was done to me. I hate being evil. I really donít want to be this way but I will never, ever admit that. I cannot ever show you or anyone in the world how weak and vulnerable I really am. But deep inside, I know I am.

I am still an infant. I never grew up. My emotional and moral development was arrested when I was just a very young child, so I only have the emotional maturity of a child that age. Thatís why I canít care about you. Itís why I must always have my way. Can a two or three year old care about YOUR feelings? Of course they canít, and like a toddler, I canít either. I am like a mentally challenged person, only my retardation isnít mental, itís emotional and moral. Iím emotionally retarded.

Itís hard work keeping up my false self. I am paranoid and defensive all the time that I will be discovered and exposed. Itís enormously stressful to be a narcissist. Itís stressful and often painful, and I know I have sacrificed the ability to ever feel real happiness in order to never be hurt again.

But still, I hurt all the time. You can hurt me very easily. The only way I dare show my hurt is by projecting it back onto you through my abuse and through my rages. Iím a bully because I always hurt so much. But I canít hurt FOR you, only for myself. I cannot afford to hurt for you. Iím too busy always licking my own wounds and trying to keep the lie going. I will hurt YOU if I must to keep the lie intact.

As I age, I may soften a little but most likely I wonít. I could even become worse. Donít wait for me to change because I most likely never will. Once I chose this life, there was no going back. I chose darkness and once thatís done, there is no going back to the light. I sold my soul and thereís no way to buy it back, but through the grace of God himself.

If you care about yourself (because I can never care about you), you must leave now. Donít play my games. Ignore me and act like I donít exist. Being treated like I donít exist is the worst thing I can imagine, but if you care about your own survival itís what you must do. I will destroy you if you donít. Heed my warning.

Thereís even a smallĖa very smallĖchance that your abandoning me and taking away the supply I get from you could make me take a look in the mirror for the first time at the lost child I left behind so long ago. If that happens, I will be in so much pain I may seek the help I need. Donít count on it though. Even if I ever seek help, once I start feeling too much pain I will probably leave counseling. Feeling that pain is too terrifying. Itís easier to abuse my own mind (and yours) by keeping up the masks and lies.

Donít wait for me to change. I wonít. Donít play my games. Even if I rage, hold your ground. Youíre stronger than I am. I will never let you know I know this. Donít fall for my lies.

Better yet, leave now. Keep your soul intact. Donít allow me to turn you into a shell of what you used to be or worse, a person like me, even though itís what I want.


Your Narcissist

WornDown posted 5/14/2019 09:56 AM

100% good advice.

If only she (or any NPD) really means it....

Catwoman posted 5/14/2019 10:04 AM

I challenge some of this thinking.

My (diagnosed--twice by two different therapists) ex-WS had a childhood of privilege. His parents were extremely well-off and he lacked nothing. No abuse. A mother who *may* have been BPD.

I think his NPD stems from two major events--one that he had no control over (house burned down) and one he did (flunked out of a prestigious college in his freshman year). I think the first (the fire) mustered feelings of abandonment and helplessless. The second (flunking out) was his own fault and evoked shame and self-loathing.

I think these two injuries, along with his mother's BPD contributed significantly to his issues. His mother was a chronic liar, so he grew up with lies and deceit.


barcher144 posted 5/14/2019 10:13 AM

I challenge some of this thinking.

His parents were extremely well-off and he lacked nothing. No abuse. A mother who *may* have been BPD.

Except someone who taught him how to behave? To be empathetic? To care about other people?

It's possible to give a child every material thing in the world, yet neglect him/her.

SaddestDad posted 5/14/2019 10:17 AM

Interesting. Honestly, I feel like this can be used not just for narcissism, but also many instances of cheating. Just interchange a few words here & there.

barcher144 posted 5/14/2019 10:18 AM

Honestly, I feel like this can be used not just for narcissism

I agree... which is why I put this here rather than the "I Can Relate" forum.

Cooley2here posted 5/14/2019 10:53 AM

Cat, Dr. Phil says that overindulged children are suffering from neglect. If you never have to answer for your shortcomings, if you are praised to the skies for every little thing, you get a completely distorted vision of yourself that makes relationships difficult as an adult. Parenting is supposed to train us to be independent, loving adults. Overindulgence ruins that.

crazyblindsided posted 5/14/2019 11:14 AM

This IS my WS. He had an extremely emotionally and verbally abusive mother who terrorized him and his sister growing up. That's exactly how he is... a toddler emotionally stunted who cannot empathize with others.

ThisIsSoLonely posted 5/14/2019 11:22 AM

This is interesting as of course all of these behaviors lie on a spectrum. My WH has massive narcissistic tendencies but he's not NPD (rarely is someone truly carrying NPD - but they can be darn close). Some of the behaviors are completely classic him, yet he is seeking treatment and desperately wants to change. He can show genuine empathy at times - but he struggles handily with a LOT of issues that would fit neatly in that letter. He scores VERY high on the NPI but according to his therapist, has a lot of room to work with. He's aware of his issues and is frustrated by them and wants to change them and is still going to IC after 6 months (I would have never believed that would happen - ever).

My WH came from a life of privilege AND neglect and I think it injured him in ways I can only imagine. His family had a very successful farm and he and his brother were required to work on the farm daily, were paid for their work, given gifts, and were then told to stay out of the way. They were not praised for their accomplishments and they were taught that gifts of monetary value were some kind of substitute for love and affection, and that beatings were dished out for things that would have been extremely minor infractions in my childhood home that may have warranted a "stop that" at most. He was taught to "stay out of the way" when Dad was in a "mood" and often staying out of the way wasn't enough. Making money was placed higher than anything except going to church, and even that I take issue with.

As an example I just learned last month my WH had never dyed Easter eggs - ever - because his parents were "too busy" with the farm to do such things. Easter day was get up, work the farm, get ready for church, come home and have "supper" (at 1), get your Easter gifts and go play with them until it's time to do afternoon chores. My WH and his brother spent an inordinate amount of time playing video games because they were encouraged to sit in a room and stay out of the way. Yet if you ask him his childhood was great...but he doesn't really mention his parents much - his memories are of friends and places away from home.

On mother's day he called his Mom (who is a BS herself - of a 5 year LTA that resulted in divorce AND in her STILL - 15 years later - having to deal with the OW and her XH as her supervisors because he took the money in the divorce and now he is her employer - but I digress). He was talking to her about her side of the family and she started talking about how abused her cousins were...and simultaneously described her own upbringing as one of "punishment but not abuse" but it sure sounded like it to me.

He was the valedictorian of his HS class yet neither parent came to the ceremony as they were too busy with the farm (which was 15 minutes away). He was in school plays that neither went to. His parents were about the richest people in the area yet when he wanted to go to college not a cent was offered to help him. He was absolutely and truly alone most of his childhood and it fucked him up royally. My mother worked 2 jobs and was in grad school, my father worked the graveyard shift and got home at 8am, yet I was never unaccompanied at any of the multitudes of events I participated in. There was always 1 or both of them at my piano recitals, soccer games, swim meets, baseball games, gymnastic competitions...the list was endless (in hindsight I'm not sure how they managed to have me in all of these things which required practice like 3-4 days a week and something almost every weekend as my school and most of the events I participated in was 45 minutes to an hour away). My WH went to 3 birthday parties that he can recall growing up and never had one of his own because there was "no time" - they didn't seem to do much of anything except work the farm and sit at home - a total contrast to my own childhood in that we had about 25% of the money they had and yet seemed to have a lot more of what matters.

My WH has stated that he is "jealous" of my and my father's relationship now as we are very close (too close - the guy calls me everyday! hehe). He has little to talk about in his past and has mentioned that he gets very irritated when I talk about mine.

My point in all of this is that looking at my WH now I feel a bit sorry for him. He has dissociative issues (depersonlization and derealization), anxiety, depression, high blood pressure that was diagnosed but unexplained in his teens (look into that - it's also a symptom that happens in people with very detached personalities), anger - you name it - and a lot of it isn't his "fault" that he started from such a negative place. I used to like his mother and now, talking to her on the call this weekend, I just felt disgust...granted her upbringing was likely similar and she ended up being abused by her XH and being a shitty parent to her kids. Now I find myself feeling sorry for him - not in the "I'm willing to throw myself under the bus to help you" way, but in more of a detached "what a sad life you led and now lead because of what they did to you." It's just sad - but somehow easier for me to take. I picked a badly bruised apple.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 11:29 AM, May 14th (Tuesday)]

cocoplus5nuts posted 5/14/2019 12:12 PM

His parents were extremely well-off and he lacked nothing. No abuse. A mother who *may* have been BPD.

Neglect is a big cause of NPD, as well as overindulgence. BPDs can cause NPD and vice versa. If his mother did have BPD and was verbally abusive and neglectful, it's no wonder he has NPD.

ladyinwaiting posted 5/14/2019 12:33 PM

Oh boy does this hit home for me!! Looking back I believe my last two significant relationships were with serious narcissists. Being the codependent that I am, I believe I seek them out like projects. They seem to know I am an easy target and a willing supplier for their egos. Thank you for sharing this.

OptionedOut posted 5/14/2019 12:46 PM

Great letter.

I used to think Narcs had no empathy.

But I think that's not true. They do have it. How else would they know what would hurt you? They just use it against you when they chose. They don't have empathy for anyone that isn't serving them. It's situational, at best.

Now, sociopaths and psychopaths? No empathy. They get the concept, but nothing bothers them and they frankly only grasp how it works.

Narcs know enough about empathy as it applies to them. So I think they have it.

deephurt posted 5/14/2019 12:59 PM

What I read is someone giving themselves and excuse to behave badly.

MalibuBayBreeze posted 5/14/2019 13:09 PM

But I think that's not true. They do have it. How else would they know what would hurt you?

Because that's not empathy. Not even close. Having empathy means the opposite, feeling, relating to and sympathizing with someone's pain. It is not any way a component to a narc knowing what will hurt you.

Think about it. If I know something I do is going to hurt someone I love and do it anyway, that's not empathy. That's insidious planned out behavior. It's cunning. Deceitful. In some cases downright evil.

Narcs DO NOT have a shred of empathy for anyone but themselves because that is all that matters to them. I could give a rat's ass about their upbringing. We ALL could say we had one or the other, a bad neglectful childhood OR a happy one. That does not give someone cart blanche to destroy the lives of those closest to them. I'm sick and tired of the excuses.

Narcissistic people are selfish. They are self absorbed. They have no moral compass. They do not care about anyone but themselves. They may put on a good show for their social circle but that's it. There is no getting through to them. It is an exercise in futility.

MalibuBayBreeze posted 5/14/2019 13:11 PM

What I read is someone giving themselves and excuse to behave badly


All day long!

AbandonedGuy posted 5/14/2019 13:13 PM

At the risk of descending into confirmation bias, I'm drawn to these narc threads like a moth to flame.

I can only determine her root causes based on what she's told me and what I've seen. Her grandmother was apparently a pretty rotten apple and used to call her out for being a "fat kid" when she was very young. She attributed this to her awful body dysmorphia. She was always around her cousin as a kid during these occasions, and I guess she didn't get the same negative treatment from gram gram, so I wonder if that's part of why she has always envied her cousin. Grandma was a part of the abuse piece, it seems.

Her mother was herself a pretty big narc. Cheated on dad with two different men, married the second. Initially, wanted to keep the house but didn't want any custody of the kids. Totally abandoned her family. Over the years, she reintegrated back into their lives but ex was never that close to her. She saw her mom's constant me-me-me phone calls as a nuisance. Mom's new life was just peachy until Husband #2 died a few years ago, at which point she scrambled to learn all the things that a 50-60 year old adult should know, like how to pay her bills. She was content to spend her whole life leaving the important decisions and actions to the man in her life and focusing on herself. Ex's sister turned out to be just like mom.

Her dad was quite the enabler. Treated her like The Princess Who Could Do No Wrong. Showered her with money her whole life, up to and including the last time we saw each other. There's the overindulgence piece. She was more like her dad in a lot of ways, some good (book smart) and some bad (hides shit from her spouse). Dad's been with Wife #2 for like 20 years, but he has a secret bank account and gives his kids extra money (both for birthdays and just 'cause) that wife doesn't know about. He's the type who would rather just pull some secret crap than be open and honest and receive criticism from his spouse. A very meager man juxtaposed to Wife #2's domineering know-it-all personality.

So what did my ex learn about a partnership? You can get away with cheating. Positive attention is all that matters. Negative attention is to be avoided at all costs. Honesty is not the best policy. After looks, money is everything. What people think about you is PARAMOUNT, so you better put on your best facade every day. She learned both her parents meager traits (let spouse make all decisions, hide things from spouse to avoid confrontation) while learning her mother's serial cheating bullshit. I'm guessing all that positive stuff I remember about her was mostly love bombing...

AbandonedGuy posted 5/14/2019 13:31 PM

Speaking of letters, it turns my freaking stomach to re-read the love letters I sent to this cheating assclown just a few days after DDay. Jesus. This is how I opened the *second* one:

Seeing you makes my heart grow bigger. Seeing you makes all the pain go away. My eyes land on yours, your beautiful green eyes, so expressive, and for a fleeting moment I feel like everything is going to be okay. Our life together washes over me, and it all becomes so clear. I love you with the fire of a thousand suns. I love you with the weight of the universe. Every beat that my heart pumps fills my body with harmony. Iím on a cloud. Iím locking gazes with my soul mate. My companion. My partner. The one who I want to make happy. The one who I want to care for, in good times and in bad. The one.

Meanwhile, the whole time this cold bitch wasn't giving me the goddamn time of day. Guys: don't write shit like this and send it to your cheating spouse. Just don't. File it away and read it years later when you can laugh about it.

barcher144 posted 5/14/2019 13:50 PM

Being the codependent that I am, I believe I seek them out like projects.

What I read is someone giving themselves and excuse to behave badly

I think of narcissism (and alcoholism) as the left hand to the right hand of co-dependency -- you can't clap without both a left hand and a right hand.

A major advance in my understanding of my mental health problems was when I discovered that my STBXWW was a narcissist and most of my mental health problems were related to that.

I mean, I want to say that my mental health problems are her fault. In reality, my mental health problems are at least 50% my fault (probably more) because of my stupid co-dependency. Meaning, I let her destroy my mental health... so I am responsible for that.

p.s. My GF and I are both co-dependents, so it makes for an interesting relationship dynamic. I've mostly dated narcissists and she's mostly dated alcoholics, so sometimes our evenings are like therapy sessions.

[This message edited by barcher144 at 2:27 PM, May 14th (Tuesday)]

Charity411 posted 5/14/2019 16:04 PM

I agree that cheaters give themselves excuses to behave badly, and us co-dependents help them right along in spades. I cringe at how hard I tried to "understand" my lyin cheatin husband who was screwing his best friend's wife. How I searched for that nugget of information about a traumatic experience that would unlock the mystery of his self absorbed asshole behaviour so I could magically figure out how to reverse it all.

The closest I came was the horror of his disappointment at his mom forgetting to meet him at the bus stop when he was 10 so she could buy him new shoes. How abandoned and forgotten he felt. So that was why he needed the up close and personal attention of multiple women.

REALLY? His mom, God rest her wonderful soul, had been dumped with her four kids by her Radio City Music Hall trumpet player husband for a Rockett. Yes. He ran away with a Rockette and they eloped. So she worked two jobs to feed them all and little wonder she forgot. She was freakin dead tired all the time while his dad danced into the sunset high kicking it Miss Rockette. If anyone had a right to feel abandoned it was her, and yet she was a wonderful person until the day she died.

You know what happens when you stop believing that unless a person grew up in Father Knows Best land there has to be some deep psychological scar that explains their bad behavior? You no longer feel like you have to fix everyone. It's their problem if they couldn't figure out how descent people behave.

CaptainRogers posted 5/14/2019 16:04 PM

It's possible to give a child every material thing in the world, yet neglect him/her.

Which is precisely what happened to my wife. Her dad would have given her the sun, moon, and stars. Yet, he would have paid someone else to put them together and deliver them to her. When she needed him most (from the time her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer through her treatments and after her death), he buried himself in work. That was his method of grieving.

And the wounds that created, the abandonment, the OCD, the perfectionism, they all reared their ugly heads and played a part in the A.

So yes, you can have every material need met and still be neglected. There is more to life than "stuff".

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