Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her

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countrygirl

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Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« on: December 13, 2018, 01:30:16 PM »
Hi,

Well, the subject line really says it all!  I know that NPDs are driven to impress new people, but as an "old person," it is sometimes hard to take.

I experienced this with my father.  He was actually cold and often abusive, but he was Mr. Congeniality to those in his social and civic circles, so much so that even after his passing, each time I go home I have to listen to dozens of people say how wonderful he was.  I feel like saying, "He was not wonderful to his family," but no one would believe me, so it's easier just to smile and say thank you.

I have an NPD friend (of course I would have one, given my father) who is retiring soon, and who tells me about all of the wonderful things her boss and colleagues have said to her.  This morning, she sent me a letter her boss had sent out about how "kind and generous" she is.  Meanwhile, I am her only friend, but she has only visited me once during the past several  months, even though I have been laid-up during this time.  And the only time she visited was when my husband and I were hosting a Thanksgiving meal (which we ordered in, since I couldn't cook and he didn't want to!).  In other words, she visited when there was something in it for her.

And at the end of this letter, her boss asked her colleagues to join him in extending her best wishes with her writing.  I was really floored by this, because she has always told me that she is extremelysecretive about her writing and doesn't want anyone to know that she writes.  In fact, when I once introduced her to a friend as a poet, she later chided me for having said this.  Yet she's obviously told her boss all about it, and is fine with him including it in a letter.

If any of you have had similar experiences, or have advice for me, I would appreciate hearing it.  By the way, I congratulated her on receiving such a nice letter, but couldn't refrain from expressing surprise that she'd told her boss about her writing.

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clara

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2018, 02:19:16 PM »
Oh boy....  I, too, had a NPD "friend" who fancied himself a writer, but kept it under wraps for a long time because he said he was told, when he was in high school, that a teacher had told him he'd never be a writer.  He was glad to include me this secret activity, however, because weren't we the best of friends?!  And it would be oh-so-nice if I could help him.  He tried to act like it was just between us, but over time I came to realize he was including a lot of other people in his writing, to the point where I suspected they were feeding him ideas, helping with the physical writing, editing, proofreading etc.  In other words, doing a lot of the work for him, just as I was doing.  And, like most NPDs, once he no longer had a use for you, he'd find a reason to get you out of his life.  Then he'd take sole credit for the work of others.  It was to his advantage to keep us mutual "friends" from knowing of one another's existence.  (How I confirmed my suspicions--when he self-published one of his books he had a list of "thank you" names in the back, almost none of which I knew!)

The superficial charm seems to be one of their major traits.  Every NPD I've ever known has had it, and uses it to good effect.  Until you get to know them, that is!  But calling them on it has no effect.  Confronting them with their duplicity has no effect.  Asking for an explanation has no effect.  They have an excuse for each and every behavior, and it often seems they believe their own excuses.  One of the things they do seem to react to, however, is being ignored.  In your case, countrygirl, I think I would have just responded with a "that's nice" and then said not one more word.  Even if she insists on keeping the topic open, don't comment or react.  Grey rock her.

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countrygirl

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2018, 03:58:20 PM »
Thank you for your reply, clara!

That is some story about your writer friend.  I wonder whether NPDs tend to keep "their worlds" separate the way your friend did.  The friend about whom I'm posting certainly does this.

And your story about the writer reminds me of another experience I had recently.   Someone asked me to read and critique a very long memoir she'd written.  First, I read the opening chapters; then I read the whole book and critiqued it; then I read it in final draft.  Well, when it was published by a small press, she didn't even tell me that it had been published!  Then, when I finally saw a copy, I saw that I wasn't mentioned in the acknowledgments.   And I must tell you that she did use my suggestions for revisions, AND she even used the title I'd suggested!   Someone who has known her for longer than I have said that she had a history of expecting people to do her favors, for which she was not grateful.   

I needed to hear what you said about confronting NPDS with their duplicity having no effect, and asking for an explanation having no effect.  I very nearly asked my friend for an explanation.

Oh, my goodness, the phone just rang.  It is the NPD calling.  I am not going to answer.  She didn't leave a message either.   It is very unusual for her to phone at lunchtime.  She's clearly nervous.   

Before that call, I had started to say that your idea of just saying "that's nice" is a good one.   A friend who is also wise to the ways of NPDs has always told me that what they hate the most is indifference.  They really can't stand "Grey Rock."

I like seeing your name in a reply, clara, because you always have something lucid and helpful to say.   When I deal with these people, I become so emotional, so I really appreciate it when someone can help me step back and think!

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clara

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2018, 02:07:05 PM »
Thanks for the thanks, countrygirl!  I guess the thing about NPDs is, once you figure them out (as much as you're ever able to) you can never not see them for what they are.  Even when they're still floating around in your life, whether or not you really want them to, their PD behavior becomes front and center of everything they do.  For example, just recently I had to contact my former writer "friend" because a publisher was trying to contact him and didn't know how (since NPDs can be elusive when they want to be) so contacted me instead.  I felt it my duty to pass the message on to the friend, despite my feelings.  I had to go onto his facebook to do it (because I, too, didn't know how else to contact him) and right away I saw his NPD on full display, on all of his postings most of which were about his (imaginary) success as a writer.  I remember a time when I would've believed what he said, but now saw it as nothing but lies, and it was a really bitter, nasty feeling I got when I saw the other people on his page buying into his lies and manipulations.  I wanted to yell at them for being so stupid. But I was once those "stupid" people, and just as manipulated. 

I also get the feeling he might be looking for a way to get back into my life.  I wonder if that publisher not knowing how to contact him had actually tried to contact him but got my name in response, by the NPD in order for me to jump through these hoops and get in touch with him! (since I was the one who went NC),  He did thank me for the message, but left it at that.  I guess it's now up to me, or something.  Or so he thinks.

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countrygirl

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2018, 10:40:27 AM »
Hi Clara,

I think it's perfectly possible that the NPD writer did try to contact you through the publisher.  They tend to be devious people, as you know.

You are so correct that once you recognize what NPD people are like, you really see these N traits in almost everything they do.  I can just imagine the famous author's Facebook page.   

The NPD I described in this post was treated to a retirement lunch by her colleagues yesterday.  She ordered a T-bone, and described how the server sliced some of it for her.  The NPD said this made her feel that she was really getting "the royal treatment."   She also said she'd photographed the T-bone and would text me the pics...

Once, during a blackout, this NPD took a cab home, and said that when they drove past people who were walking, she felt like Michael Correlone (sp?) as he was driven through the crowd in the first "Godfather" sequel.  (Think I have that right, but you get the idea!)  These people are truly legends in their own minds.

She has always claimed she had social anxiety phobia, but a good friend says that what she can't stand is not being the center of attention in any gathering, so when a party, a dinner, whatever, isn't for her, she claims social anxiety.  Ever since people are "celebrating her retirement" (and they may indeed be celebrating), she has been the life of the party. 

I could certainly understand how you felt when you read all of the positive responses to the NPD's lies and manipulations.  I became so sick of having to smile at people who told me how wonderful and sweet my father was.  When you're dealing with a smart NPD it's even worse, because they are master manipulators, charmers.  Reminds me of vampires putting the glam on their victims.   

I hope your NPD doesn't contact you again.  I do think he made the first move and is hoping you will come forward.   


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chowder

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2018, 10:12:57 AM »
I had this experience with my mother.  She was obsessed with what "the neighbors would think," and put on a front where they thought she was so wonderful.  I used to think, Are you kidding?  Behind closed doors she was one of the most manipulative people I knew.  The ways in which she manipulated me when I was younger, and betrayed me when I was older, were unforgivable.  She set me up many times.  She would go behind my back.  The last straw was when I was age 35 and getting married.  She went to my next door neighbor - whom she only got to know through my generosity of hosting my mother because she had no air conditioning in her apartment so she stayed with me - and put the neighbor up to a fishing expedition as to whether I had a prenuptial agreement, etc.  At first I thought the neighbor was just asking curious questions, until I found out that my mother was behind it all and the neighbor was reporting back.  The neighbor got sucked in because she barely knew my mother, but I had the history and could see through her tactics.

I found no effective way to deal with this personality trait other than to withdraw.  Of course confronting her on it would not have worked.  She was always "on the outs" with one or more of her three sisters at any one time, and this was a deeply-rooted trait.  Going to my father did no good, because all he did was report back to her and then back her up, or did absolutely nothing.  And so the rift began.  It was not what I would have chosen, of course, but it was necessary, lest I be sucked in again or have something personal divulged inadvertently.  Talk about violating boundaries...thankfully I have a fulfilling relationship with a couple of cousins, where it is evident that their upbringing was more normal and respectful.   

Even now, after both parents have passed, people comment about how wonderful they were.  I simply listen and thank them....not much point in "setting the record straight," so to speak.   And by not contributing anything further -- though it is tempting -- the conversation ends nice and short and sweet.

I simply keep my distance with people like that, believing that they are not going to change.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 10:19:21 AM by chowder »

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countrygirl

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2019, 09:28:56 AM »
Hi Chowder,

You sound like a very wise person.  I think that nearly always the only recourse is to withdraw; it is very painful to realize this when the PDs are your parents.

Your mother was very manipulative; that is a horrible story about her enlisting the neighbor as her spy.  My mother once tried to do this with one of my favorite college professors.  I felt I'd given her ammunition by telling her about the professor.  This was when I was nineteen, and hadn't quite realized that telling her virtually anything could backfire.   

I can relate to having to hear how wonderful your parents were.  I still hear this whenever I go to my hometown.  My father was involved in so many social and civic circles there, and made a point of being convivial and generous at all times, while treating me in the opposite manner.  I sometimes think that Ns can have such a good public persona because they have someone to dump on in private. 

The only reason I can think of to "set the record straight" is that it seems to me that many people have trouble believing that someone who seems so nice in public can still be an abusive person in private.  Maybe saying something will make them think.  On the other hand, if you've had a PD parent or parents, you've already suffered enough, why add having to speak the truth when you're just in the store to pick up an avocado?  If you've had parents like this, you need as much peace as you can find. 

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chowder

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2019, 02:52:15 PM »
Hi, Countrygirl,

Thank you for your wise words as well.   Seems like we went through very similar experiences with our parents.  I wonder if, after so many tepid responses by us and not adding anything, that people may think there is always a possibility that things were different.   I guess we'll never know.   But it sounds like you're doing what's best for you, and that's the most important.


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countrygirl

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2019, 05:55:57 PM »
Hi Chowder,

Regarding responding to how wonderful my parents were, especially my father, I once replied, "Yes, he had a good public persona."  But this resulted in the person just looking gobsmacked, so decided not to do that again.  I have actually opened up to a few people in my hometown, and it's possible that will get around. 

And, as you say, it is possible that tepid responses alone will make people question whether the real person was as incredible as they seemed.     

I think it's grossly unfair that people should think an abusive person is wonderful.   

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chowder

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2019, 10:12:50 AM »
Hi, Countrygirl,

Yes, it is grossly unfair that people who are abusive enjoy good press, so to speak.   Many people don't know any better, so they say good things only based on that which they have observed.

In some ways we're caught between a rock and a hard place.  If we say something in response to reveal the truth, it could appear like sour grapes, or people could think there's two sides to every story and wonder about our part in it, or....or....and then again, when they say wonderful things and we just bury it, that doesn't feel right either. 

Sometimes I think it's the high road to just say nothing, not to reveal dirty laundry to the outside world.   But internalizing it and leaving it there is not ideal, either. 

Perhaps the least harmful way (to us) is to do what you did, open up to a few people here and there.   This way you have chosen what to reveal and to whom.

Some folks in my immediate circle know the truth and are very supportive.....husband, close friends, etc.  I guess that's the best I can hope for at this point.  And yes, I can sleep at night.  Hope you can too.  :)

Chowder

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countrygirl

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2019, 07:07:25 PM »
Hi Chowder,

Good that you have a close circle of supportive people.  I do too.  Yet sometimes, I just have to burst forth with the truth to others... 

I was just thinking about my ex-PD friend, who could also really put on a false front.  Once someone I'd known for a while, but who was not a close friend (we had a shared avocation) met the PD friend, and then said:  "Your friend has the best temperament.  I bet she never gets angry."  Well, I had been on the receiving end of the PD's anger meltdowns more than once too often, including just a day before, so this statement was just too much to take.  I replied, "Actually, she has a horrible, hair-trigger temper."  This person accepted what I was saying, not everyone would have.   

In thinking back about that exchange, I started to realize how odd it was that my acquaintance had said "I bet she never gets angry."  Think about it:  Normally, when you say someone has a nice personality, you don't add, "I bet they never get angry."  You just say they have a good personality.  This acquaintance was someone who'd been around the block, and I wonder if she said that because she'd seen something about my PD friend which didn't seem quite right.   At any rate, she certainly wasn't surprised when I told her about the meltdowns.

What has surprised me, though, is how reluctant some people are to even consider that someone isn't who they seem to be on the outside.  I've never had any trouble recognizing that people can be one way in public and another way in private but then, given my childhood, it would be sort of weird if I didn't recognize this. 

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chowder

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2019, 05:33:41 AM »
Hi, countrygirl -

Good for you on picking up on that comment about that person "never getting angry."  I agree, it is a random follow-up comment to make.  It's interesting to see how people kind of ask a question without asking a question.  They drop a comment and see if you pick up on it.  Sometimes these comments stay dropped, while other times if it's too egregious you just have to speak up.

And then when you responded, the person was not surprised at all.  That tells you something right there.  Perhaps they sensed something in the first place - thus, the comment.

I'm so glad you have a support system as well.  It is very difficult to see people enjoy good press, so to speak, when we know things are quite different.  And it would be even more difficult if you could not share the truth with someone trustworthy in your circle.

We are in the minority with this, but it's a place I've actually gotten used to and use it as a barometer.  :)

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countrygirl

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2019, 09:01:19 AM »
Hi,

What amazes me when I have opened up to people is how often I have been questioned.  Once I listened many times to a new friend tell me how horrible her twenty year marriage to an alcoholic had been.  Even though I hadn't known her when she'd been married and had never met her husband, I immediately believed her.  So, after many months, I opened up to her about my mother's behavior, and she immediately dismissed it, saying, "Mothers and daughters always have conflicts.  That's natural."  I had made it very clear that we weren't discussing some tension, and that it was far from natural.  But she just didn't want to hear it.  I wondered how, even in terms of fairness, she wouldn't believe me.   Of course I know this had to do with her, not with me, but it was still hard to take.  I was much younger then, and it took a lot for me to open up to her, only to be dismissed.

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chowder

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2019, 10:00:49 AM »
Hi - I think that also goes to your listening skills, which are obviously very good, and the fact that you extended the courtesy and respect to your friend to listen to her for so long and so often.   And good listening skills are few and far between these days....

I've also been taken aback by folks who start to listen, and then they cut you short for whatever reason.   Feeling cut off definitely turns me off to the person doing it - it may be for the time being, or at least I re-assess the situation going forward.

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countrygirl

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2019, 05:28:54 PM »
Hi Chowder,

You know, it never occurred to me that this woman just didn't have good listening skills, but that is possible, of course.

I also think that her relationship with HER daughter was very important to her, especially since her marriage had not worked out, so she just wasn't open to considering that maybe some mothers and daughters did not have a good relationship.  Maybe even thinking about that was threatening to her?   

But I've encountered numerous instances where what I've had to say about my parents has not been believed.  That's one reason I say appreciate this site:  We've all had to deal with PDs, so it is easy for us to believe that others have too.

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StayWithMe

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2019, 08:55:55 PM »
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This morning, she sent me a letter her boss had sent out about how "kind and generous" she is.  Meanwhile, I am her only friend,

especially when ......
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, I am her only friend, but she has only visited me once during the past several  months, even though I have been laid-up during this time.

How do you know this?

My mother likes to think that I don't have any friends either.  It helps support the "hateful" narrative.

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countrygirl

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2019, 08:17:04 AM »
Hi Stay With Me,

I am sorry that your mother likes to think that you don't have other friends.  It sounds, from what you say, that this is something she likes to think because she wants to support a negative narrative about you.   

To answer your question, I have known my friend for several decades, and she herself has told me that she has no other friends.   I believe her, because she never sees anyone else. 

I am on this site because I have too many PDs in my life, along with other very positive people.   My problem is that I have tried to make things work with difficult people throughout my whole life, starting with my parents.

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chowder

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2019, 02:18:17 PM »
Hi, Countrygirl,

Whatever the reasons for your friend not listening to you, she hasn't been there for you the way you've been there for her all these years.  I guess growing up with PDs, we tolerate this more than the average bear.

Yes, this is a wonderful site, because people listen to one another, and understand in a way that many people do not.

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StayWithMe

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2019, 03:47:01 PM »
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To answer your question, I have known my friend for several decades, and she herself has told me that she has no other friends.   I believe her, because she never sees anyone else. 

I would still be careful.  There are a lot of selfish people out there who might try to make you feel sorry for them ie "I have no friends" ..... when all they're doing is coming around to your activities and cherry picking off your friends.  but, they'll never invite you to anything that might include other people / friends in their social circle.

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cookiecat

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Re: Narcissistic Friend Impresses People Who Don't Know Her
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2019, 06:15:04 PM »
StayWithMe,
Had that exact same thing happen!! Ex-friend played the poor me card and expected to be included in things with my friends, badgering me to invite her few friends to my events.   Was I ever included or invited to her things?  Nope.  Our last confrontation stemmed from her accusing me of not including her in things :stars:   In the end, I realized too late she was only using me for things I provided.  My second lesson of that nature, now Im much more guarded, for better or worse🤷🏼‍♀️.   It is still difficult for me that my close friends maintain some contact with her despite me always having been the common denominator.   I know its petty and am working hard on not letting it bother me....but it is difficult.