A couple of things bear mentioning. First, I think Vaknin is not a psychiatrist his phd is in somehting unrelated, economics? Being raised by NPD's I think we have to be more careful of who we trust and are prone to sociopaths (our boundaries often aren't what they should be, we weren't respected as individuals so why would we know what proper boundaries are.) And, NPD's somehow know they are not like everyone else and in courting, they will try to mirror your likes and dislikes (it's a scary pod-like alien act) plus they pour on the charm. When they think they are safe (you will not abandone them) via financial manipulation, you being home with small children and no job, or actual physical isolation, then the real person emerges. This person is an angry 3 year old who projects all her/his rotten feelings onto you. You can keep the peace by idolizing them while enjoying being an utter doormat, they are deluded about their own significance and want so badly to believe you adore them, that they are actually EXTREMELY gullible. They really are very simple, dumb and pathetic creatures, they just have to be the most important, the best, the best looking, the sexiest, the most intelligent, etc. and they need all attention on them always. It is pitiable. The best book I read about them is Controlling People, it explains how they have built themselves backward and that is how they relate to the world. All the NPD's I've known are verbal abusers, whether outright namecalling, or just the sly put downs, one-ups. They are zero sum people. You having something somehow takes away from what they are ENTITLED to. The sense of entitlement is one of the most nefarious aspects, I think. I believe they are soul sick. I believe it perpetuates itself generationally , unless the cycle is broken. HF is dead on about them, they annihilate other people's lives, ruthlessly.


HF, your description fits my upbringing to a T--except that was my Mother.
Bad news--I didn't discover it until this year-at the age of 34 and after I lost the man I was engaged to b/c I was acting narcissistic (though only 1/10th of the degree my Mom does) b/c I knew no different than what I saw growing up. I didn't trust him and intimacy was a struggle (thanks Mom!). I am forever sorry for hurting him. However, the good news: I have distanced myself from my Mother and will not allow her to affect me any further. I am surrounded by HEALTHY people who are not controlling and manipulative, people who are respectful and actually give a shit about others. I look forward to loving again in a much healthier way.
The nightmare is OVER. Healing and joy from here on out:)
The blessing with realizing you have a parent like this (vs being clueless and eternally f*#&ed up for life) is that you can make your life better and you can be damn sure you don't do this to anyone else, not to mention you can watch yourself and check yourself if you display narcissistic tendencies (which I have at times, admittedly--again, thanks Mom!).
I love her as much as my Catholic heart will allow, but pretty much hate the woman and wouldn't trust her with my life. But as someone said in this blog, the Narcissist herself suffers the most in the end.
I also remind myself, it could have been worse (though certainly bad enough) and many people triumph over bad childhoods.
We will triumph!!


I feel you, HF. My mother, however undiagnosed, fits NPD to a tee. She always put me down, sheltered me, never allowed me any freedom (I wasn't even allowed to ride my bike around the block at 13), and isolated me from any potential friends. On the outside, we looked like a functional, loving family. But at home was a different story. My extended family, teachers, my mother's co-workers... They all acted like she was the greatest person on earth. I told one family member of how my mother had abused me throughout my life, after I'd just come to terms with it, and she got angry and called me a liar, saying, "Your mother is a wonderful person who has fought so hard for you (I have Asperger's- major school and public aid nightmares) and she wouldn't hurt a fly!"

Kirsti Keddie

I just had to see if anyone out there understood the kind of lifestyle one leads when your father has NPD. I'm relieved to know that you have experienced as bizarre an upbringing. My father was enamoured with world leaders and wrote to them, he was obsessed with the french foreign legion, army, police, anything with stature or that commanded attention and respect.
He posed as a lawyer or cop, whatever the situation required and it meant we shifted all over the country to avoid the lies coming out.
He was a serial bigomist and tortured me mentally as an only chil with a Mother working two jobs to support us.
Whilst this all brings up a deep sadness it is my own mental illness of Cyclothymia that I now struggle with.
I would not wish anyone have such a parent.


I have been researching Narcissistic Personality disorder lately, as my own father exhibits many of its symptoms. He was severely abused as a child, which I think has a great deal to do with his disorder. For example, my grandfather did not care whether he lived or died when he got phenomena at the age of seven. My grandpa also raped my aunt when she was three. Life was no picnic for him. Thus, my father grew up to be severely messed up. Although my own dad has never physically abused me, he also exhibits strange behavior similar to how your father acts.

Just a couple weeks ago, I was reading a book for my English class called I, Rigoberta Menchu. Menchu is a communist, and according to my father, anyone identifying themselves as communist is automatically a child of the Devil. He screamed at me for reading the book, saying that I was being indoctrinated by "liberal college professors." I hate how he uses the word indoctrinate - it implies that I do not have a mind of my own, and am incapable of filtering my English professor's teachings on my own. Later that day, while I was in my room, he kicked my door severely hard because I did not immediately accept his apology. When I flew into rage, he said that I was the problem - that I should allow him to be "imperfect" and that I hold too high a standard for people. As if I was holding too high a standard for not wanting my own father to kick my door for reading a book.

I guess my question to you is this, Happy: How did you handle your father's behavior growing up? When he said those awful things to you, how did you respond to him? I am starting to realize that there really isn't anything I can do to help my father. And reacting with rage certainly does not help the situation.


Hi all,
Newly discovered the words to describe what I have been through. Greek father and a younger brother who both fit the description. I cannot begin to tell what has been robbed. Feeling of being used, manipulated and belittled. ..you all know the story. Question is , how to move forward. Today, I have re located across the country. Blocked my phone numbers and emails. My freedom is worth more. I have been threaten to be cut out of the Will etc....the tricks of the narcissistic mind. You' re all right when you say, children are an extension of him. At his barbershop, he would brag about my accomplishments, yet in private, I was put down. I have three degrees and he never attended one ceremony. Each Christmas was pay day, money in an envelop. I worked for him doing janitorial work at night. I lived a lie and kept it secret....just so we could have a normal family. Money and success, work is all they care about....promises to be paid latter, or they would help me buy a home were all lies. Question, my brother has no empathy and fits the mold as well. How do I help my brother since I do love him and raised him. Unfortunately, he would say things like what have you done to help me in my work. Typical narcississtic comments. Even at his wedding, i was his best man, no words were said about me. His envy continues....even when I am suffering trying to find self. I am starting completely over. As for taking care of parents since they are getting older. For now, I have decided not to attend his funeral if he dies.....i will do something private. The pain is that great. The damage done has been financial, emotional and social. My father has kept me a slave for such a long time. They are both uneducated and not able to understand. My dad has 5 brothers in Greece who do not speak to each other. I am sure my grandfather was a narcissist as well. When I blew up a photo of my grandfather and put it on the wall, it was down the next day.
Dad, never spoke of his father. For now, I need to focus on self and finding my way. This week was the first time i found the term and the disorder. I started therapy to get some insights since worried that maybe I have those traits. Having looked after everyone for so long with nothing in return, I now thing that maybe i have issues but not this one. Feeling of being alone for so long since lived a lie to protect my image and family image . I did break the silence and travelled to greece and shared story to all. Each had their own story and it was amazing, kind of like this. Any suggestions of how to reach my brother since he sees no value in therapy....not surprising. For him, its all his work and those who can help him in his work. He has no empathy but I do feel he can be reached. I am almost tempted to put his email on here to get others to contact him.....its that frustrating.
Emotional abuse is no laughing matter. Years of liviing in fear as well. I hope to overcome this, find a partner and start my life. I know I have shame and fear...will I be accepted. Therapy and finding out a term that describes my father has helped. You do feel you have ever disorder the first time you read them all. Sure, we go through different aspects but someone who has lived with a narcississtic parent knows without a dought if it fits.
Congrads to all, your not alone. Emotional intelligence and other sources about finding self ie. Mindfullness programs seem great. I have only been to one sesssion since this is new to me. In the first session, the disorder was mentioned and here I am.

I am working through this so if you have suggestion, I am very open. I do not think my parents will ever come around, but I hope my brother will. I am the godfather of his oldest daughter who I have not seen since I cannot really face my brother for what he has done or supported. He supports my dads work schedule , even when his wife, my mother became ill. I was there and asked for help but they both did there own thing. You all know the story and the impact it causes. I lost my job, gained weight etc.....but it opened my eyes to the abuse and to who they were. A very positive outcome or I would still be in that state. I have hope. I am getting my freedom...i am not longer the slave....and I am not going back.
Thanks for sharing, very helpful. Much obliged.


The old way of describing this sort of behaviour is SELFISH, wasn't it?

If you concoct a behavioural theory - put a nice Greek name on it (academic - so it must be true), list a few symptoms - not all of them need apply, and you've several years of therapy to sell. No guarantee of success of course.

The truth is that we are all selfish. We need to be, to exist in a
world where everyone competes for food, warmth etc. See The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.

Unfortunately the very character traits that would have kept your family alive in caveman times - greed, drive, competitiveness.. don't fit with today's society, so they are labelled as wrong behaviour and served up as disorders.

And if you don't think that you are capable of this sort of selfish behaviour, cast yourself on a desert island with six others with only enough food for three people and see how quickly you revert to displaying a ew disorders!

AS for how to deal with a selfish person...Don't forget you still have the oldest survival mechanism of all - If it hurts you - move away quickly and move on.


Some one needed electronics for the event! Said it was some one from here?


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It is good to find more info about NPD on the net. When are all of you going to talk about solutions for NPD? I have been trying to figure out what was wrong with me my entire life. Now that I know all I can find are people venting about narcissists, and no one with any solutions. I don't know why I am like this. I am confused. If anyone has some suggestions that would be nice. I am already seeing a therapist. Is there anything else I can do? I mean besides suicide.

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