How do Narcs deal with grief?

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Alice97

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How do Narcs deal with grief?
« on: May 11, 2016, 12:47:17 AM »
I have another question about my F and his possibly being a covert narc. I've been researching the signs of narcissism (specifically when it's covert) for awhile now, and one thing I'd like more clarity on is how narcs deal with grief. My F typically is very cold and shallow emotionally. He is incredibly intellectual and logical, but that's it. It's like he is literally all head and no heart. Sometimes he will appear compassionate, but I'm finally starting to understand that a lot of what seems to be empathy or kindness is just him manufacturing a very shallow version of those. However, two emotions that seem to run very deep with my F are anger/rage and nostalgia/grief. He can't let go of the past. He used to (supposedly jokingly) tell me not to grow up and when we would go to weddings he would always say stuff like "you aren't ever going to do that to me, are you?" I would always tell him that no, I wouldn't do that to him. I remember when I was little I felt extremely depressed and guilty any time I thought of growing up or getting married because that would hurt my dad. Now that I'm older I see how messed up that was. I still feel guilty for having grown up sometimes. Or maybe that's just me being oversensitive. Is that normal? I know it's hard for parents to see their kids grow up sometimes (the empty nest concept), but with my dad it seems way over the top. He is also a hoarder. Anything that has any sentimental value at all cannot be thrown away. He also doesn't know how to grieve when someone dies. I've never seen him cry at a funeral. My M says when someone close to him dies he will go off alone for quite some time. It's his way of "dealing" with it I suppose. When he talks about people who have passed away he gets very serious, even when talking about the good times with those people. I know it's normal to miss someone, but I think it's ok to be happy when talking about them, isn't it?

I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm confused about how narcs typically handle grief. When researching online I get the impression that they never feel really sad about anything. So does that mean he probably isn't a narc? There are quite a few reasons I think he may be a covert narc, but the whole nostalgia/grief thing seems like it might not fit that PD. 

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all4peace

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2016, 01:44:50 AM »
It is not normal (I believe) for a parent to bind their child with ties of guilt and promises to not grow up. Sometimes I reminisce with my kids about their adorable toddler years, things they said and did, and tell them how much I enjoyed every stage of their lives, BUT I also am excited for this stage, where they are turning into adults. I think it's a horrible thing for a parent to try to slow their child's development down with guilt or any other emotion. A parent is supposed to be thrilled and delighted to see their child properly progressing into adulthood.

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JG65

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2016, 04:39:08 AM »
MY father who has diagnosed NPD shows grief and also has the tendency to be nostalgic.  However, I think when he gets weepy and emotional, some or all of it is manipulation and attention seeking behavior.

I say this because he recreates history in his nostalgic stories of the past.  For example he was very abusive with my mother, but he goes into these monologues where he talks about how much he loved her and what a great marriage they had.  He's devasted that it fell apart. 

For your dad, consider what he's trying to get out of you and other people when he behaves the way he does.  I believe my dad does feel grief but it is a very self-centered form of grief.  He is grieving for his loss; he does not feel empathy.   
Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences - Robert Louis Stevenson

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Spinoza

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2016, 05:40:14 AM »
My NM has lost two life partners to brutal metastasised cancer. First my enDad, who she was married to for 45 years, and then her partner, who she was with for eight years. She also lost both of her parents and a brother, all within a couple of years.

From witnessing and being close to her reactions to these losses, I am pretty clear that her emotional responses were largely self-pity, anger at being abandoned and narcissistic supply stimulation from being the centre of attention.

I didn't see any feelings of empathy for the pain her "loved ones" were going through, or grief that wasn't about how difficult life was for her. Nor did she have any understanding or sympathy for other people's grief and loss. She offered no comfort to me or my brother on the loss of our father, and actually expressed surprise when I got a bunch of flowers from my colleagues and friends of my brother attended dad's funeral - it just did not register with her that we were grieving too, not just there as support acts in her narcissistic drama.

Sentimentality and nostalgia is another big thing with NM, but again it's all about her at the centre of the story, and the story is often about reminding us of something ungrateful that we apparently did, or some great, selfless suffering that she endured for our benefit.

I wouldn't get too focused on diagnosis, to be honest. Most of us here are affected by undiagnosed PDs but have had enough common experiences and shared pain to know that if it looks like a PD, and it talks like a PD, then it probably is one.
I am no longer afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my own ship : Louisa May Alcott

The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free: Baruch Spinoza (no relation)

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all4peace

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2016, 09:41:22 AM »
Spinoza brings up a childhood memory for me. When my dad and mom first separated, mom was devastated. I actively hated her at that point (I was 16 and was nearly at the end of my ability to cope with her abuse) but still could not leave her there in such pain. So I hugged her, told her I loved her (I didn't) and tried to comfort her. She would not accept or return the comfort. At NO POINT did she talk with any of her 4 children about what we were going through, how we felt about it, if we had questions, or try to comfort us at all. In fact, we were told to not talk about it "as it wasn't our story." This left us completely emotionally isolated from friends and family. I hate that my mom taught my siblings to be emotional islands, which they either still are today or are struggling to break free from. SHE could talk endlessly about it with friends and family, but we were not to.

Once when I was grieving my dad's absence from our home (left alone with our angry and abusive mother), she spit at me that I should be happy as I had told her to "let him go." The context is that she was literally hanging on his truck door as he tried to drive away and I was sobbing, begging her to let go before things got really ugly. I'm reminded of why Mother's Day has been such a struggle for me. As a mother myself, I cannot even fathom some of the ways my mother behaved.

Still, I know my NM feels grief. She has lost friends that she talks about.
uN/BPDmil? I have not ever seen her express grief, including at her parents' funerals. She had a lot of rage around that time, but no perceptible sadness.

Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2016, 10:56:26 AM »
Quote
From witnessing and being close to her reactions to these losses, I am pretty clear that her emotional responses were largely self-pity, anger at being abandoned and narcissistic supply stimulation from being the centre of attention.

I didn't see any feelings of empathy for the pain her "loved ones" were going through, or grief that wasn't about how difficult life was for her. Nor did she have any understanding or sympathy for other people's grief and loss. She offered no comfort to me or my brother on the loss of our father, and actually expressed surprise when I got a bunch of flowers from my colleagues and friends of my brother attended dad's funeral - it just did not register with her that we were grieving too, not just there as support acts in her narcissistic drama.

 :yeahthat:

I'm sorry for your losses Spinoza - and sorry your NM's lack of empathy for you.  I know how hurtful that is.

My EnMom passed in February and uNPD Dad has never once asked how me or my sibs are doing.  It's all about how HE lost his wife, and "I hope you guys know how much I LOVED your Mom." and "I just can't live without her."  This is interspersed with "You have to help me" and "I need you to do....." rounded out with a spattering of "I'm going to sue."

Not all N's will grieve the same way, and not all N's have the same behaviors.  We are all people, so everyone has their own twist on being human.  Some are more pleasant than others. :D

"There but for the Grace of God go I"

"We accept the love we think we deserve" Stephen Chbosky

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unidentifiable

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2016, 07:36:47 PM »
I have a Narc mother. I was the oldest, and the scapegoat. I'm 34 and now I am an only child. My brother took his life 10 months ago and it completely f**ked me up. I have only just realised that my mother was a toxic narc of a mother and although I always felt there was something wrong with me, no psychologist or clinical psychologist could ever tell me anything other than "you're very resilient". I now know it was because nothing was wrong with me, something was wrong with her. I am no expert on the subject of how narcs deal with grief, but I can tell you what I know from experience. My mothers brother died when I was 4, she attempted suicide, and was constantly doped out on prescription meds to the point that she was incapable of doing anything for us except hitting me for anything and everything, until I was bigger and stronger than she was. Someone else, aunts, grandmas or dad had to do everything as she sat on the victim throne and became the centre of the universe. Time went on, and I became the parentified child. My dad worked long hours and went fishing to avoid her and being home because he couldn't handle the evil crap that came out of her mouth. So I had to be the mother. I was packing my brothers lunch in primary school, I was taking the blame when he broke something so that he wouldn't cop the physical abuse because he was the small one and I didn't want anyone to hurt my baby. My mother exaggerated illnesses, so I had to look after her. She was too weak to do anything other than chase me with a belt or a wooden spoon. When I was 18, it got really bad. She attempted suicide again, she called the paramedics herself because we were in school and dad was at work and then soon after she lost the plot and became a complete psycho. I became her taxi, the cook, the maid and everything else instead of being a teenager and I failed my final year of high school because I couldn't study while my mother followed me to every room so she could rock back and forth in a chair while pulling her hair. My brother took to drugs which progressed from drug induced psychosis when he was 20 to a diagnosis of schitzoeffective disorder by his mid 20's. She became his carer, which meant that she went to carer groups, and meetings and events and spoke about how hard it was for her while my brother was out taking more drugs, talking to walls and screaming at the sky and coming home to no mother, because she was too busy pretending to save the world to be around. He hung himself, he was 31. A few months later, she won an award for "carer of the year". Who the hell gets an award they boast about for having a child who took their life other than a narcissistic mother? So how did she deal with the grief.... she cried, she was surrounded by people, our house was full everyday of months. My job was to mop, clean toilets, the kitchen and make coffee everyday for all of these people. I had to organise the funeral down to picking the casket, the flowers and all the things she should have done. Since I was a child she's been guilt tripping me by telling me I hate her and she still tells me I hate her everyday. She never says thank you for all the things i do and never apologises for being a manipulative evil person. She threatens me with emotional blackmail, making comments about killing herself or that she's not going to be around much longer if I don't come running when she needs something. She blames my dad and everyone else for my brothers suicide and is too blind to see that she had a part to play in messing us up. She even says she was a good mother, who did everything she could and makes sure everyone knows how good she is and how hard she tried. To her, the loss of my brother, wasn't about the loss of my brother at all. It was all about her but no one else can see the evil behind her selfish attention seeking tears that only seem to fall when someone is looking. So from what I have experienced, a narcissist deals with grief by feeding off the empathy of others, playing the victim and blaming others with no regard for how the loss is affecting anyone else.

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Bloomie

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2016, 09:32:16 PM »
Alice97 - This is an interesting question. My experience with a family member I believe is covertly NPD is that much of her grieving is learned behavior from watching others. It is just off enough to make one question the sincerity and it is always in front of an audience and very short lived. Brought out at what I think she believes are appropriate times.

The "circus" surrounding the death of her faithful, hardworking and loving spouse of 50 plus years, was her focus as he lay dying just feet away. Who shall we invite to the after party (dinner after his memorial service and internment)? Who should I call now and give an update too? What pictures do I want in the video montage? I've laid out several outfits in the bedroom and need you to look at them and help me decide which to wear Bloomie. What sounds good for breakfast? Should be go out? Do you think he will last much longer????  :aaauuugh:

Since his death, and since removing just about every single tiny item that would indicate she ever had a spouse, she never mentions or speaks of him. His things were cleared out beginning immediately after his body left their home and finished within 48 hours to make way for more of her things meticulously organized and fretted over. Pictures and mementos of their trips all over the world together thrown away. Just mind blowing. It's like she simply increased to overtake the place he once held.

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Bloomie

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2016, 09:32:24 PM »
Unidentifiable - I see you are new here and want to quickly pop in a welcome to you and to invite you to share a bit of what brings you here over on The Welcome Mat so that we can properly welcome you. What a tragic loss of your brother. I am so very sorry! And your mother's trading on that loss in a self aggrandizing way is just so completely terrible.

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all4peace

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2016, 11:09:53 PM »
unidentifiable, I'd like to welcome you also! I'm so sorry for your childhood, your brother's tragic death, and your mother's emotional disabilities. I hope you find help, answers and comfort here. It has been a tremendous help to many of us!

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unidentifiable

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2016, 09:41:06 AM »
Thank you. I'm sorry for my wild outburst. I think this topic is too close to home for my input so it all just came out crazy  xo

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all4peace

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2016, 10:28:17 AM »
Thank you. I'm sorry for my wild outburst. I think this topic is too close to home for my input so it all just came out crazy  xo
Not at all! You have nothing to apologize for and it didn't sound wild. It sounded raw and painful. I'm glad you've found this forum for support.  :bighug:

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unnamed

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2016, 03:30:09 PM »
Thank you. I'm sorry for my wild outburst. I think this topic is too close to home for my input so it all just came out crazy  xo
No apology needed.  We all understand, and share your pain.  My heart goes out to you.

Reading unidentifiables response really hit a nerve.

My adoptive mother doesn’t drink alcohol or do drugs, can’t blame “who she is” on that.  She’s never been diagnosed with a PD, so all I have are my own “suspicions" about her hatefully-abusive behaviour.

My adoptive ENdad [a hardworking, sole provider, weekend alcoholic] passed away 30 years ago [NM was NOT heartbroken], after battling multiple health issues since my younger adoptive brother was 4, and I was 8.   

To the best of my knowledge, I don’t recall ever being consoled by NM.  She never hugged us, praised us, or said she loved us.  In her mind, ENdad's poor health and subsequent death, only impacted HER.

Long story short, NM thrives on drama!  And she basked in the attention she received from well-wishers, due to ENdad’s years of ill health and his eventual passing.  Becoming a widow, was icing on the cake for her.  Until everyone went back to their own lives...then NM went about creating new drama.  She made it her mission to interfere with every-single-aspect of my life.

She positively adores being the centre of attention, having people cater to her, and care for her.  She has an overwhelming sense of entitlement, not to mention, she’s as controlling, self-righteous and mean spirited as they come!

My brother grew up to be a homeless alcoholic.  His life had been riddled with troubles for as long as I can remember.  He had a violet temper, at 14 y/o he was drinking alcohol regularly and he dropped out of school.  [NM’s answer to everything…was to berate us, as she spanked the bejeezus out of us!]

6 years ago, my brother passed away.  His life came to a tragic end, when he was struck and killed by a car after he stepped into oncoming traffic [he was blind drunk at the time].  Prior to his death, he’d argued with NM [nothing new!].  She told him that “his life was a waste, he was useless, so he might as well throw himself under a bus!”  I’ll never know if he took NM’s words to heart and intentionally ended his own life.

NM’s reaction to his death, was to play the part of “the victim.”  Once again [she was NOT heartbroken], she basked in the attention she received, as a result of her sons loss of life.  However it was no secret, NM had always ranted and raved about my brother being "out of control, a liar, no good to anyone!"  But still, people felt sorry for her.

I’d already been NC for close to 3 years at that time.  The one and only reason I broke NC, was to take care of what needed to be done, cremation arrangements, etc.  I knew full well, that NM would turn the whole ordeal into a three ring circus for everyone involved.

And that’s exactly what she tried to do…  she called anyone/everyone she could think of to share “her” tragic news.  She also walked around the small town we live in, spreading the sad word to all.  Then she happily accepted cards, flowers, and food, kind people dropped off for her.  Also, she immediately informed Police that she wanted to speak personally, to the driver of the car that killed my brother [to let him know, that she “forgave” him for what he’d done].  The cops vetoed her plan, said it wasn’t advisable.  Of course NM was pissed, as no one dares to tell her what she can and can't do.  She was so concerned about my brother [heavy sarcasm]....that she didn't even have one photo of him!   She'd disposed of every picture of him years before, after she told him "to stay the hell out her life for good!!!"

What stuck me the most, NM was almost emotionless through it all.  She shed just a few tears, then carried on as "per usual" — she was more interested in going out to play her beloved weekly Bingo games.

Grief...what is it exactly?   To those of us with empathy and compassion, it's devastating to lose someone we love.  To someone like my NM and other's like her, it's simply a golden opportunity.

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unidentifiable

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2016, 07:27:47 AM »
Unnamed, I am sorry for your loss and about your adoptive mother. I don't know what to say, nor do I have any answers for anyone. But I just wanted to say that I hear you, and although everyone is different I understand at least some of what you are going through and I know how much it hurts. I hope that you are seeing someone and getting some help. It took me a while to realise that I can't do it on my own. I have so far to go and confronting the trauma is difficult, it opens old wounds that you don't even know existed but it's important for healing. I wish I could give you a big hug and that you didn't have to go through this pain <3 

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all4peace

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2016, 04:22:26 PM »
unnamed, I want to add my own hug and empathy. I can only try to imagine the pain of seeing your brother's life deteriorate and end that way, especially with your mother's words to him right before his death. I hope you've found comfort and help, in some small degree.

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Deb2

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2016, 09:09:31 PM »
My NM has lost two life partners to brutal metastasised cancer. First my enDad, who she was married to for 45 years, and then her partner, who she was with for eight years. She also lost both of her parents and a brother, all within a couple of years.

From witnessing and being close to her reactions to these losses, I am pretty clear that her emotional responses were largely self-pity, anger at being abandoned and narcissistic supply stimulation from being the centre of attention.

I didn't see any feelings of empathy for the pain her "loved ones" were going through, or grief that wasn't about how difficult life was for her. Nor did she have any understanding or sympathy for other people's grief and loss. She offered no comfort to me or my brother on the loss of our father, and actually expressed surprise when I got a bunch of flowers from my colleagues and friends of my brother attended dad's funeral - it just did not register with her that we were grieving too, not just there as support acts in her narcissistic drama.

Sentimentality and nostalgia is another big thing with NM, but again it's all about her at the centre of the story, and the story is often about reminding us of something ungrateful that we apparently did, or some great, selfless suffering that she endured for our benefit.

I wouldn't get too focused on diagnosis, to be honest. Most of us here are affected by undiagnosed PDs but have had enough common experiences and shared pain to know that if it looks like a PD, and it talks like a PD, then it probably is one.


Wow, this is just like my dBPD siste (with serious N traits) did when our mother died. She would call and go on endlessly about how "her" mother had died and how she felt and never once, not ONCE, asked how I was doing. Our mother was diagnosed with cancer on a Friday and was dead the following Monday.  I was in shock. My husband's family offered more support than my sister.

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RDW061260

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2016, 08:11:17 PM »
It is not normal (I believe) for a parent to bind their child with ties of guilt and promises to not grow up. Sometimes I reminisce with my kids about their adorable toddler years, things they said and did, and tell them how much I enjoyed every stage of their lives, BUT I also am excited for this stage, where they are turning into adults. I think it's a horrible thing for a parent to try to slow their child's development down with guilt or any other emotion. A parent is supposed to be thrilled and delighted to see their child properly progressing into adulthood.

What planet are you on? This is a forum for PD parents. Joking aside: What you describe above is not what toxic families do.  PD parents don't do 'normal'.  :aaauuugh:

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CC_Rider

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Re: How do Narcs deal with grief?
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2016, 06:33:36 AM »
Ugh. Weddings. Perfect place to confuse children.... Oooh, isn't the bride lovely... Oh but don't you dare have a family too young.... if the bride is too young it MAY be trashy, depending on the socioeconomic status of the neighbors..... You DO want to be the bride someday tho, not always the bridesmaid. But do NOT grow up.

Really?