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OwningItNow posted 5/14/2019 16:22 PM

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.

So true.
We should be concerned with our attraction to such self-focused, selfish, empathy-deficient individuals. Why did they look so good to us? What are we lacking that their phony self-promotion filled inside of us?

Of course they are responsible for their bad behavior, but we are responsible for staying away from people with such chronic bad behavior . . . and not marrying them!!!! Most anyone with an npd partner needs to look at their own emotional holes to avoid having another npd step in to fill them. Codependents usually choose more than one narc on their journey through life.

crazyblindsided posted 5/14/2019 16:23 PM

What are we lacking that their phony self-promotion filled inside of us?

This question haunts me every day

OwningItNow posted 5/14/2019 16:26 PM

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.

Truth.
I have watched some of my kids' friends turn more and more narcissistic over the years due to this exact situation. Physically and emotionally unavailable parents with money to burn. These kids suffer such sadness--and then they plaster on the fake smile and try to get attention that way.

ThisIsSoLonely posted 5/14/2019 16:47 PM

I will only say my WH does NOT say his upbringing did this to him. He refuses to acknowledge that it was anything that qualifies as abuse. It is MY perception that his upbringing caused a lot of his behaviors and studies of the brain back it up. The thing is a lot of it cannot be repaired...itís developmental. The shit is fascinating so for those of you with kids you have to do your damndest to make sure your WSs behaviors AND your reactions to it donít screw them up mentally. The sad thing is some of this shit cannot be ďhelpedĒ itís more like a disease. Iíve done a ton of research about it lately to the point Iíve been in contact with a university research group about brain studies (none of which Iíve shared with my WH because he doesnít want to be analyzed by me) and itís really interesting.

I read some of the BSs reactions to a bad marital split due to infidelity on here and I bristle because I fear for the kids future mental health. So Iím not willing to say that some of the blame doesnít lie with someone other than the person with a mental health severe disorder as it likely does. Is that my WH? Idk but I canít be willing to put myself in the meat grinder any longer find out. The difference is that Iím an adult so my development is stable now but I digress.

There is a lot to be learned about early childhood development. How else would you explain someone who simply cannot empathize unless their brain isnít somehow different chemically at the very least?

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 9:52 AM, May 15th (Wednesday)]

OwningItNow posted 5/14/2019 17:02 PM

It is MY perception that his upbringing caused a lot of his behaviors and studies of the brain back it up.

How else would you explain someone who simply cannot empathize unless their brain isnít somehow different chemically at the very least?

Wait, how does upbringing relate to chemical differences?

Charity411 posted 5/14/2019 17:31 PM

I agree with Owningitnow. If it's upbringing, why isn't everyone in fhe family a narcissist? I'm not saying our childhood experiences don't have any influence over how we behave as adults. I just think way too much emphasis is put on that. It's convenient for the cheater that uses that excuse. Not all do.

barcher144 posted 5/14/2019 17:39 PM

Why did they look so good to us?

My therapist once told me that most of us date and marry people with whom we are comfortable, not people who are good for us.

I have mostly dated and married narcs. I have ended a relationship or two because, in hindsight, she treated me well, rather than poorly. My mother is a narc... I basically have dated her personality type over and over again.

I specifically went looking for a non-narcissist after my STBXWW and I separated. I found another co-dependent. The relationship, I think, is built on a solid foundation of trust and compatibility, but I'll be damned if we don't have some of the dumbest arguments of all time because we're both co-dependent.

barcher144 posted 5/14/2019 17:42 PM

I agree with Owningitnow. If it's upbringing, why isn't everyone in fhe family a narcissist?

Because we're all different. I have two siblings. They are both narcissists. I am co-dependent.

As kids, to get attention... they would misbehave.

In contrast, I tried to overachieve to get attention.

AbandonedGuy posted 5/14/2019 17:49 PM

Same. My sister got my dads narcissism, I got moms codep.

crazyblindsided posted 5/14/2019 17:56 PM

Wow this is so interesting. My dad is NPD and my mother is CoD.

My sister has more NPD traits and I am codependent.

OwningItNow posted 5/14/2019 18:24 PM

My mom is narc, my dad is CoD.

I believe both of my grandmothers were narcissistic, but dad became CoD while mom became a narcissist herself.

As a P.S., I didn't mean that it couldn't be both upbringing and chemical, or just one or just the other. I was simply wondering if upbringing can change your brain's chemistry????? Hmmm. Intriguing.

66charger posted 5/14/2019 18:59 PM

Some of you are really digging deep on the letter. The only thing this leaves me with is one question about your choices.

Is this the definition of painshopping?

MalibuBayBreeze posted 5/14/2019 20:32 PM

Is this the definition of painshopping?

No. It's not.

Painshopping is looking up the AP on social media. Looking at photos or videos of them with and without our spouses. Rereading messages between them. Looking over our cache of proof. Personally I think that is a way of trying to desensitize ourselves to the shock of it all. A trip down the rabbit hole which often leaves a BS an emotional mess.

This letter is not at all about pain shopping. It's about understanding the complex and abusive nature of a narcissist. I am going to assume you are not dealing with one yourself 66charger because you would completely understand where we are coming from and why.

When you are in a relationship with one of these extraordinarily fucked up individuals you do not realize all that is transpiring until it is too late. The gas lighting. The phases a narcissist goes through in a relationship. The emotional and verbal abuse. It is a methodical manipulation of their partner. It left us at times wondering if we were crazy, too sensitive, were we not doing things right, twisting ourselves and walking on eggshells to please these people.

It runs deep. Really deep. Part of getting through the infidelity, which it turns out is VERY common among narcissists, is trying to comprehend what they are. There is a lot of wreckage caused by them and we are attempting to heal from that as well as understand what it is within us that drew us to them, and kept us there as long as it has/had.

So no, this isn't pain shopping. It's recovery from their abuse. Hope I cleared that up for you.

66charger posted 5/14/2019 22:19 PM

The question was rhetorical, but thanks for the effort.

If I have been hit by a train once. and see another coming down the tracks and I dont...never mind.

No offense intended barcher. I just don't understand those who can not hear the word "DUCK!!!. It's a military thing.

[This message edited by 66charger at 10:26 PM, May 14th (Tuesday)]

nomudnolotus posted 5/14/2019 22:26 PM

But how do you explain the people who were neglected, abused, hurt terribly, and yet they are not narcissists, they do not hurt others, and they don't cheat?

OwningItNow posted 5/14/2019 22:31 PM

But how do you explain the people who were neglected, abused, hurt terribly, and yet they are not narcissists, they do not hurt others, and they don't cheat?

They become codependent instead.
And get cheated on.

You can be an alcoholic or a drug addict or a gambler or a food-aholic or suffer in depression all your life and seem different, but you're really not. There are lots of ways to be equally messed up.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 10:32 PM, May 14th (Tuesday)]

ThisIsSoLonely posted 5/15/2019 08:42 AM

Before I post anything else I want to make it clear that I am NOT excusing my WH's behavior and choices to lie, cheat, and basically steal portions of my life from me with science. He DOES know right from wrong. However he also has a HORRIBLE time with empathy (which he admitted a long time ago pre-A and seemed genuinely concerned about - about his inability to really be empathetic), which is what got me started on all of this. Also please don't use some of my general points to diagnose your WS from this stuff - that wasn't my intent.

My thought was how much work can someone who seems so broken actually do and what will it accomplish even if he tries? All of this was my way of figuring out if it was even worth it to try to stay with him.

It's complicated but in my humble opinion, very likely that there is something to all of it. What does it REALLY mean for those who are dealing with a true NPD diagnosis for example? It means that for once I wholeheartedly agree with the advice that says RUN away from them, as you aren't just fighting someone's choices, you're likely fighting their biology - and you're pretty much destined to lose that battle no matter what you do.

Wait, how does upbringing relate to chemical differences?

I know I can't post links that are not approved first and I don't want to send people down crazy rabbit-holes...I am a researcher (it's my personality and my job) so I am happy to dig through 60+ pages studies and read countless abstracts. The brain research is just beginning because we have so much better technology to study it, but if you're interested you can search for things terms like "narcissism" and "brain imaging" or "cognitive neuroscience" or just be prepared for very scientific reading which most people seem to find too dense and boring (I'm just weird).

I will use NPD and high-spectrum-narcissism as an example.

While there is not a large body of research on the neuroscience of NPD as it is really just beginning, there are consistencies pointing to abnormalities in certain brain areas, in particular the insular cortex, that are associated with features of NPD, especially lack of empathy. The easiest way to explain what the researchers are trying to establish (which is highly simplistic and not at all scientifically accurate) is like this:

There are current long term behavioral studies that are in progress showing that in childhood the brain's chemical make up changes as it is exposed to various situations in higher levels than in adulthood. Anxiety inducing external stimuli for example, cause faster brain chemistry changes and faster reactions in various areas of the brain at early childhood than later in life, and the brain is able to change back to "normal" once the stimuli is removed. This process is self-regulation...like when you get scared and your heart beats faster, and then you calm and return to a normal pace.

When children are more frequently subjected to various types of stimuli, the brain continually changes back and forth, self regulating. It is believed that with higher levels of stimuli or more frequent or even unpredictable occurrences, the insular cortex makeup can actually change permanently over time - to self-regulate and protect itself - to the point where in some individuals it does not ever "go back" to a normal state. The brain goes into self protection mode in a variety of ways, and it can actually cause a permanent change (some studies show there is a difference in thickness in the insular cortex in adults that are associated with features of NPD, especially lack of empathy that generally do not exist in very young children - note generally - there are some at-birth medical conditions that do have this feature).

Using fMRI to measure brain structural volume, a consistent structural deficit in the insular cortex was demonstrated in the NPD group. This region of the cerebral cortex was markedly reduced in thickness compared to the control group. The amount of empathy was directly correlated to the volume of gray matter in the insular region. Overall, patients with narcissism exhibited a significant reduction of gray matter in the insular cortex. This structural change is being studied now as it normally temporarily changes in response to certain stimuli - the idea is that eventually, with enough exposure, it can permanently change, especially in childhood when the brain is still developing rapidly.

For those who want to get a bit more scientific you can PM me and I will happily share some links.

If it's upbringing, why isn't everyone in the family a narcissist?

But how do you explain the people who were neglected, abused, hurt terribly, and yet they are not narcissists, they do not hurt others, and they don't cheat?

This is also interesting, but that's the thing about biology versus learned behavior. "We" don't come close to knowing or understanding. I mean I was alive during the massive earthquake in the 1990s in Los Angeles. A good friend and her sister were driving across a bridge that collapsed (my friend was 18 and her sister was 8) suffering minor injuries but totaling the car and being very frightened not just of the crash but also of the aftermath and craziness. My friend was scared at the time but recovered whereas her younger sister still can't drive a car over bridges and even when she's a passenger she starts hyperventilating and panicking and it's gotten worse as she's gotten older. Why?

My best guess is because everyone's brain doesn't work the same from the get go. Why can I ride the roller-coaster and find it great and my sister hates it, is petrified and usually throws up? Why does one person cry at a sad movie or when reading a sad story and another seems unaffected? Got me, but it's likely something neither person can control as it's biochemical.

Anyway, it's interesting stuff, and while on some level it makes me feel a bit of empathy for my WH for some of the things he struggles with NOW like his lack of TRUE empathy (he's not NPD but is high-spectrum-narc and I can see he is frustrated that he doesn't react the way I think he should - like he just doesn't get it) it also scares the shit out of me as it seems pretty hopeless.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 9:47 AM, May 15th (Wednesday)]

barcher144 posted 5/15/2019 11:04 AM

Before I post anything else I want to make it clear that I am NOT excusing my WH's behavior and choices to lie, cheat, and basically steal portions of my life from me with science.

I like this. I am a co-dependent and there are reasons for that.

Still, I made choices and I am responsible for them.

A lot of this thread is about justifying (or not) a spouse's behavior... which I think is interesting.

When I read this letter, it says to me... hey dude, you're a co-dependent... you need to run like hell.

ThisIsSoLonely posted 5/15/2019 11:13 AM

A lot of this thread is about justifying (or not) a spouse's behavior... which I think is interesting.

When I read this letter, it says to me... hey dude, you're a co-dependent... you need to run like hell.

For me, the research was more along the lines of how to deal with the aftermath, or more succinctly, is my WH CAPABLE of dealing with the aftermath. What would "the work" mean for him and what type of potential for change does he really have??

I'm not co-dependent as it turns out - I had a bout with what looks like co-dependency immediately post-dday, but that's normal coping. The ME is BACK! I'm super analytical, logical, and find comfort in logic and reason so the research helps me "get things" a lot more. I'm not a "fixer" but I am a "helper" - ask me for help and explain what you need and if I deem it valid, I'm all there. My WH has asked me for help - and I did attend a counseling session with his IC for the specific purpose of giving his IC my perception of how my WH reacts to different types of interactions. His IC said that he likes to have a 1 time meeting with his client's partner/spouse/closest friend when possible just to get a different perspective, and I did that gladly. I WANT him to be a better person - to be happier - for him AND hopefully for this not to happen to some other unsuspecting "victim" like myself. That seemed like help I could provide...but "fix" him?!?! Um, not likely and definitely not in my job description.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 11:13 AM, May 15th (Wednesday)]

crazyblindsided posted 5/15/2019 11:18 AM

A good friend and her sister were driving across a bridge that collapsed (my friend was 18 and her sister was 8) suffering minor injuries but totaling the car and being very frightened not just of the crash but also of the aftermath and craziness. My friend was scared at the time but recovered whereas her younger sister still can't drive a car over bridges and even when she's a passenger she starts hyperventilating and panicking and it's gotten worse as she's gotten older. Why?

You are right! Trauma affects each person differently. I had no idea the differences until I read the book "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

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