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Think About It... Whenever we refuse to take responsibility for ourselves, we are unconsciously choosing to react as victim. This inevitably creates feelings of anger, fear, guilt or inadequacy and leaves us feeling betrayed, or taken advantage of by others.~ Lynne Forrest
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Author Topic: The BPD NPD couple, my parents probably?  (Read 2651 times)
busybee1116
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« on: July 26, 2012, 05:56:48 PM »

I came to believe that my mother has BPD about 18 months ago.  I just thought my dad had gone crazy after living with her alone too long.  I restarted therapy a little over a month ago and it's become clear that a lot of my unresolved issues (perfectionism, guilt, shame, cognitive distortions) have more to do with my father.  I have a lot of conflicted feelings about him and you all have helped me recently.  Particularly NewPhoenixRising, PF Change and DoubleAries for making me consider NPD.  You have great radars!

At T today, I brought a homework assignment I'd been working on (about cognitive distortions), and in it I explained some things about my dad and what it was like growing up.  We've talked about him in other sessions, but this was more specific.  I did the homework last week, before the idea of NPD, and didn't mention anything to her about wondering if he has N traits. She read through it all and them asked, "does your Dad have much...empathy?" And I asked, "Do you mean, is he a narcissist?" Apparently she's suspected he has N traits.  We had an interesting discussion after that...

So crazy to me, because he seemed normal/the more stable parent compared to her to the point I can't see he's the one projecting so much guilt, shame.  He plays the stoic, the martyr, above reproach. 

I've requested the BPD NPD Couple by Lachkar from the library.  I know a few of you have PDs of many flavors in your lives.  How do you handle it?  It stresses me out to think I have double the trouble, although in reality nothing has changed except me  wink  do I just use the same tips and tricks with NPD as I do BPD, or do they have a different handbook?
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2012, 06:10:51 PM »

That's a good question.

I deal with my mother (BPD with NPD traits) differently than I do with my father (not BPD, but is NPD).

Their abuse was very different, and the fact that dad was enmeshed with mom made things more complex.

You'll find that it's not uncommon to have one parent with BPD and the other parent with NPD. They attract one another.
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NewPhoenixRising
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2012, 06:23:20 PM »

Quote
I know a few of you have PDs of many flavors in your lives.  How do you handle it?  It stresses me out to think I have double the trouble, although in reality nothing has changed except me  wink  do I just use the same tips and tricks with NPD as I do BPD, or do they have a different handbook?

First of all, I'm sorry to hear your parents have this dynamic.  It's not easy.  It's the same dynamic my parents have (uBPDm uNPDd).  But your father sounds different than my father.  NPD comes in different forms (classic, covert, etc.).  My mother is a Queen BPD, which models a NPDish stance also.  

There is definitely a difference in the way you will want to approach a pwBPD vs. a pwNPD.  

I have to go do some painting on our house now, but I'll revisit this thread later.. Glad you're finding some resources and have a good T  Doing the right thing  
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busybee1116
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2012, 06:42:27 PM »

First of all, I'm sorry to hear your parents have this dynamic.  It's not easy.  It's the same dynamic my parents have (uBPDm uNPDd).  But your father sounds different than my father.  NPD comes in different forms (classic, covert, etc.).  My mother is a Queen BPD, which models a NPDish stance also.  
Happy painting!  I look forward to your wisdom!

T said same thing, that there are many different forms.  She thinks his linear/clinical/unsentimental way of thinking, need to keep up appearances (having the perfect looking family--what atheist makes sure whole family attends church?, high expectations that created anxious perfectionist kids, being a know-it-all, expert in his field) and martyr/superiority complex (making negative comparisons, denigrating others, cutting off people who no longer see him as superior) all point to narcissism. She said narcissists are deeply wounded people who try to cover for that by filling the bottomless pit with superficialities. If everything looks okay, it must be ok, and ignore how bad I really feel inside.  And that atheist who attends church because he thought it would give us good moral instruction--she said that's an example of covering shame--he believes his values aren't good enough to teach his children and atheists aren't moral.  She also said staying with a uBPD wife is like supporting evidence.  Still wrapping my head around it. 
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2012, 10:28:56 PM »

Busybee
Wow! We have so much in common. It is very overwhelming, isn't it? I also just discovered my mom's BPD (waif, sometimes witch) and my dads np(prickly). My only sibling is also the waif. Since it is fairly new, I'm wondering if you are experiencing the intense emotions I am? Are you so sad and depressed, confused and scared? I feel like no one really gets how I feel except my online friends here.  When you described your dad...so much like mine! He loves to make fun of me for mistakes I made as a teen...like getting a traffic ticket. He can go to McDonalds and if they get his order wrong, he humiliates them...so embarrassing.  He is also atheist or agnostic, not sure. I wish I had advice for you, but I have currently cut off almost all contact with them. I now am trying to decide if I can have a relationship at all. I want to go back into therapy, but they currently can't get me in...

I would bet, though, that there are similarities on dealing with both- strong boundaries, taking care of yourself, correcting cognitive distortions.  I would love to hear what you find out.

Good luck! My thoughts are soooo with you!

Kris
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2012, 10:57:20 PM »

BusyBee--
I just had a T session today (which I was REALLY looking forward to, after the past week!) and he reminded me of something he told me before that I only partially absorbed. BPD is basically all the other PD's rolled into one. And there will be one of those that stands out a little (or a lot) more than the others. AND THAT HE TOLD ME TO READ ABOUT ALL OF THEM (which I forgot to do, but am now doing in the past week). That's where Christine Lawson comes up with her 4 "types" of BPD's:
Witch---BPD with an emphasis on histrionic disorder (and/or ASPD)
Waif--BPD with an emphasis on dependent PD
Queen--BPD with emphasis on narcissistic PD
Hermit--BPD with emphasis on avoidant PD

You may find (in relation to your dad) interest also in OCPD (which is not the same as OCD).

I like the wikipedia pages about these, because not only can you click on the other PD's from the same page, but at the bottom of each page is what is called "Millons subtypes" (because each PD also has its own subtypes). And instead of just the DSM-IV criteria list of symptoms (which includes the full criteria for dx--not just "traits"), there are more detailed explanations/examples of each criteria. Because sometimes I'm not "clicking on" the symptom list until I see some examples or explanations, then it's like  Thought

I know what you mean---my dad so seemed like the reasonable "normal" person COMPARED TO my mom. That being the key--COMPARED TO. Seeing him individually though, has changed my perception of him. A LOT.

But think about it--how could a "reasonable, normal" person stay married to a BPD for many, many years? And in some ways, this changes the way I see myself--(self posed "observance" from the past): "if reasonable, normal dad can deal with this, then there is something wrong with me for struggling with this" you know--the fault is mine! (taking responsibility for the wrong thing, and ignoring the ones I should be seeking)

Personally, I am right now finding that in many ways my dynamic with my dad has a lot more to do with the changes within I seek than my mom does.
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2012, 11:08:58 PM »

Double aries
Good information! You clarified a lot for me. I suspected my dad was either OCPD or NPD ...now I see why I couldn't figure it out.

So study all PDs? Are you overwhelmed? I find that I'm so hungry for information, but maybe am too consumed. I guess I just feel like I finally have so many answers and questions. Does that ever calm down? Great info! Thank you. Don't mean to ask too many questions...
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2012, 11:47:08 PM »

kris38---
many pwPD's don't just have one PD (and of course, as I said, BPD basically being all of them rolled into one) and I found the "Millon's subtypes" extremely helpful.

Sometimes I feel consumed too. Especially since I haven't even had contact with my witch BPD mom for 22 years. Sort of "why bother now?" but actually it has been VERY helpful for me. As a kid (and as an adult, even without contact) it was a big mystery, and my mom seemed so unique and unexplainable. Now, she looks pretty text book! It was a relief to know there was actually a name for this (which I only learned 4 months ago), but even more so, just to understand the parameters of what this mystery actually was. If the "monster" has a definable shape and size, then it isn't endlessly, infinitely HUGE.

For example, as a kid I did not understand "projection". Now that I do, I see many incidents/events/situations from the past a completely different way. And most importantly, I see my own reactions/attempts to cope completely differently, and now understand why those attempts didn't work (incorrect conjecture/base info--understandable for a little kid). And even more importantly, how I have carried those same (ineffective) coping skills into my adulthood.

As long as I don't lose track of the point (how to improve my own life), then I don't feel consumed. If I'm just trying to figure her out (with no other purpose) then I am consumed. Understanding THAT has been what has helped "calm it down" for me.

But at first, I was completely overwhelmed. I knew my life was getting ready to change forever--and that has certainly been the case. No regrets though---for me, ignorance is NOT bliss.
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2012, 12:02:01 AM »

Millon's Subtypes...I will get that. I definitely see what you mean. As long as I am focused on my health..it's ok. But, I don't think I will ever really figure them out. Are you NC with all family? I ask because I just came back from my cousin's funeral. He hung himself on the 16th. In going to the funeral,, I reconnected with family I hadn't seen for about 6 years. It turns out, my aunt seems BPD too and I have been split black by her along with one of my other cousins. Then I discovered her other son- the all good child doesn't speak to his three young daughters. It just seems like my entire family is a toxic mess that I didn't recognize before. And what I struggle with the most, is I want a family, but it may not be possible...
Thank you...you help so much!
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2012, 12:40:55 AM »

busybee, here's a good starting point for understanding how to communicate/not communicate with your uNPDd busybee:

http://www.psytalk.info/articles/narcissist.html

Your last post actually got me thinking about being raised in an insistent Christian environment.  I was.  Our church was Lutheran and my mother made sure we made it to church/Sunday school/vacation bible school/confirmation class/and confirmation.  We may have missed twice from the time I was born to the time I was confirmed at 16.  I guess I am guessing prior to when I became aware smiley

What got me thinking is that I don't remember my mother teaching me any bible stories or even quoting the bible.  She only used a few quotes in order to control us (ie 'Honor your father and mother' - usually stated with anger).  She also never stated what her actual beliefs were, other than referring to God and Jesus in rather vague ways.

Now why would someone who made us all go to all those church activities for 16 years, and collectively more, never voice any beliefs of her own or even reference the bible, other than to control her children ?  hmm..  Probably for very similar reasons to your father.  

This was one thing I had not really figured out in all the analyzing I've done with my mother.  I assumed she really believed in the Christian concepts, and it was one thing she really tried to give us that was part of herself.  I did learn a lot about morals from going to those church activities, but I now believe she was not doing it to share part of herself.

And your post, along with some others, has helped me to understand that my mother has both very strong BPD behavior as well as very strong NPD behavior.  DoubleAries, you put that in my head when you originally posted on the Lawson BPD mother categories - that Queens have a high NPD tendency.  I had forgotten that over the years, as I read Lawson's book in 2004.  Then after reading a post Randi Krueger put up earlier today, it was really set in my head.  

So, I'm still learning too.   It's both a disappointment that my mother was not giving a part of herself in giving me 'her religion', and a relief in that it explains that the BPD/NPD was all-pervasive.  My mother is now a complete puzzle smiley  So thanks DoubleAries, busybee, and Randi Krueger.
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2012, 04:33:08 AM »

My mother uBPD/NPD married three times.  Each time her husband was personality disordered.

husband #1 (my sperm donor) total cerebal narcissist with classic woman hating symptoms (only figured this out as an adult bc my uNPD psychiatrist father abandoned me as a child; but responsible daughter made sure to try and have a relationship with him as an adult, silly me!). marriage lasted 6 years.

husband #2 my abusive stepfather with probably uNPD and lots of talk about his constant health problems (probably some soul rotting issue). marriage lasted 10 years. (she left him for convicted arsonist she met doing prison ministry, and please do not use this in your own screenplay, i'm working on mine; ) )

husband #3 abusive stepfather #2, corporate cio for marriott (they pushed him out, i wonder why?) aggressive NPD with lots of ocpd which was out in full frontal when mother passed on to her great reward last year.  This marriage lasted 19 years and he made sure she left him everything in her will, even our family heirlooms.


So yes, three husbands out of three personality disordered? This combo goes together like flies to honey.

You were distracted by your mom's more outward projections perhaps and manifestations of illness, while dad got to sit back and more subtly manipulate you in reaction.

Good for you for opening your eyes!  It is hard to do. 
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busybee1116
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2012, 08:29:57 AM »

When you described your dad...so much like mine! He loves to make fun of me for mistakes I made as a teen...
I would bet, though, that there are similarities on dealing with both- strong boundaries, taking care of yourself, correcting cognitive distortions.  I would love to hear what you find out.
Kris-weirdly nice to know I'm not alone.  I'm lucky? in that he didn't make fun/denigrate me, but he made comparisons and the association was pretty clear.  And I'm sure talks about me when I'm not around, the way he talks about other people.I am dealing with everything you have said...if you click on my profile you can find a link to my past posts, you'll see that CD, self-care, boundaries have been huge lately!  
BPD is basically all the other PD's rolled into one. And there will be one of those that stands out a little (or a lot) more than the others. You may find (in relation to your dad) interest also in OCPD (which is not the same as OCD).
I do need to reread.  On the spectrum of PD, I have the most OCPD traits and I always thought he did, too.  But pigeonholing him has blind-sided me smiley
I know what you mean---my dad so seemed like the reasonable "normal" person COMPARED TO my mom. That being the key--COMPARED TO. Seeing him individually though, has changed my perception of him. A LOT.
But think about it--how could a "reasonable, normal" person stay married to a BPD for many, many years? And in some ways, this changes the way I see myself--(self posed "observance" from the past): "if reasonable, normal dad can deal with this, then there is something wrong with me for struggling with this" you know--the fault is mine! (taking responsibility for the wrong thing, and ignoring the ones I should be seeking)
It's been mind-blowing for me to look at the "compared to."  And I've said this before and it's even more obvious now, but it's so easy to blame my mom for everything.  It's much easier to think about what's wrong with her because it's so obvious.  It's a way of not dealing with me, excuses my part in things and excuses him.  And realizing that they choose to stay together is also thought provoking and proves a point--they're feeding each other in some way or they would have split long ago.  
Personally, I am right now finding that in many ways my dynamic with my dad has a lot more to do with the changes within I seek than my mom does.
Yup.  Me too.  Never in a million years would I have guessed that...good thing I'm in T.  Also realized that I needed their support (emotional, financial, physical sometimes with moving etc) to get through school, the start of my adult life.  In order to keep it I had to earn it through their approval, which meant behaving a certain way.  Also makes me realize I was kind of using them rather than striking out on my own.  I could have gotten student loans or worked...but I knew how to work them.  Kind of nauseating now.   barfy
So study all PDs? Are you overwhelmed? I find that I'm so hungry for information, but maybe am too consumed. I guess I just feel like I finally have so many answers and questions. Does that ever calm down? Great info! Thank you. Don't mean to ask too many questions...
I need to do the same thing--slow down.  My life is crazy busy right now.  Even though I'd like to understand this completely right now and I'm making huge mental leaps in understanding, it's taken me a lifetime to get here.  Expecting to understand all of this right now is not reasonable (let alone impossible with my schedule!) and really, there's no deadline  lol I've come a long way in 18 months.  
As long as I don't lose track of the point (how to improve my own life), then I don't feel consumed. If I'm just trying to figure her out (with no other purpose) then I am consumed. Understanding THAT has been what has helped "calm it down" for me.  But at first, I was completely overwhelmed. I knew my life was getting ready to change forever--and that has certainly been the case. No regrets though---for me, ignorance is NOT bliss.
.  
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What got me thinking is that I don't remember my mother teaching me any bible stories or even quoting the bible.  She only used a few quotes in order to control us (ie 'Honor your father and mother' - usually stated with anger). She also never stated what her actual beliefs were, other than referring to God and Jesus in rather vague ways.
Now why would someone who made us all go to all those church activities for 16 years, and collectively more, never voice any beliefs of her own or even reference the bible, other than to control her children ?  hmm..  Probably for very similar reasons to your father.  
Thanks for the link, NP.  I'll look at it sometime today.  Same thing here--I don't remember my parents reading the Bible, quoting it or really talking about principles outside of church (though we did pray before dinner, but that was more a family ritual to get everyone to the table at the same time now that I think about it).  And even more interesting...they stopped going entirely soon after my brother and I were both out of the house.  I think they felt it was expected of them to go/their own family FOG.  My mother instantly got involved in a lot of committees and positions of authority where she got to be the center of attention and boss people around while my dad got to play the martyr/superior by being the church-going family man who volunteered for everything and wasn't even a believer.  A lot of shame on his part.  In HS, when I found out he was an atheist (which tells you how little we talked about religion/faith!), he pointed out that a lot of people at church claim to believe and yet don't practice the doctrine in their lives while he doesn't even believe but lives a moral life (and in doing so, builds himself up because he's morally superior to even regular church goers).  
 
You were distracted by your mom's more outward projections perhaps and manifestations of illness, while dad got to sit back and more subtly manipulate you in reaction.
Good for you for opening your eyes!  It is hard to do.  
Jeez Louise, jaleo--your mom chose some winners!

This NPD/BPD describes my parents quite a bit...so while she has drama fits that are obvious, he is quietly trying to repair (really win/control) the relationship.  Neither is healthy but her end of the struggle is more obvious.
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2012, 08:48:47 AM »

Quote
A lot of shame on his part.  In HS, when I found out he was an atheist (which tells you how little we talked about religion/faith!), he pointed out that a lot of people at church claim to believe and yet don't practice the doctrine in their lives while he doesn't even believe but lives a moral life (and in doing so, builds himself up because he's morally superior to even regular church goers).
 

Wow, huh ?  He may be a Narcissist, but he does it well.  Isn't it amazing that they will put up the facade of being the perfect church leader while not believing any of it, just so they can feel superior ?  Yet at the core, they are a shame-feeling child.  My uBPD/NPD mom was kind of a combination of your parents.  Held many posts in the church  and the community and even the state.  She liked to boss people around and be the moral superior.  My uNPD dad was much more low key.  He was a deacon and helped out with construction projects, but church was not where he displayed his Narcissism.  But I don't think he thinks about God very much.. or ever has.

I actually believe that there are moral, amoral, and immoral people in every faith and non-faith (atheists and agnostics).  
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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2012, 09:39:47 AM »

I actually believe that there are moral, amoral, and immoral people in every faith and non-faith (atheists and agnostics).  
Ditto.

My T made the comment that Mother Theresa was probably a narcissist.  Don't know if I agree with that, don't know much about her beyond what I've heard in popular culture...but I get what she means by way of explanation--it is the opposite extreme of the grandiose "I'm awesome just for being!" narcissist, the martyr--and more in line with how my dad operates.  
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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2012, 10:15:36 AM »

I think it would be difficult to say what Mother Theresa was, unless you had access to her 'behind the scenes'.  I believe some people are just enlightened.  They have made it to a level of healing and compassion which not many reach.  However, her life was certainly 'unbalanced' toward the compassion side.  I don't think this is wrong.  I feel we need mentors that display extraordinarily good qualities.  However, it's important to realize that they are human also, and are not perfect.  

I actually knew a former catholic nun (an intermittent aquaintence through work) about 10 years ago who acted much like Mother Theresa.  She was such a GOOD person, yet she seemed lonely and sad much of the time.  I didn't know her well enough to know the root of her sadness, but she did so much good for the community and really poor people, and she was very sincere.

(break - no connection between prior paragraph and next one smiley

I know that I began adulthood at age 18 operating with several narcissistic qualities as a result of being raised by two .. heavily narcissistic people.  Surprise, surprise.  I've been addressing undoing all those behaviors since age 20 when I read 'Adult Children: Secrets of Dysfunctional Families'.  It's been a gutwrenching, messy journey to accepting my whole self.  But without a lot of examination, therapy, and help, I would likely be operating much like one of my own parents now.
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« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2012, 10:17:24 AM »

Your father seems very proud he is going out of his way to act 'religious'.

I imagine it's no fun if he doesn't somehow make people understand he doesn't believe but is going through the motions for (insert reason here).  Do you think he does that?

It's like people who are sooooo humble- and proud of it too!

I hope I am making sense, it's hard to explain.
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« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2012, 02:42:32 PM »

Your father seems very proud he is going out of his way to act 'religious'.
I imagine it's no fun if he doesn't somehow make people understand he doesn't believe but is going through the motions for (insert reason here).  Do you think he does that?
It's like people who are sooooo humble- and proud of it too!
I hope I am making sense, it's hard to explain.
That's why I didn't think he was a narcissist--he doesn't announce e he's an atheist and doesn't confront people with his good acts.  But he's silently proud of it and feels superior for it. He tends to talk negatively about others and compare as a way of building himself up (rather than talking himself up).  Shame-based.  He acts shameless and perfect and by comparison he feels better about himself.
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« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2012, 05:50:19 PM »

Haven't read all the posts here, but thought I'd chime in since I'm the product of a BPD/NPD double tag team;)

What I found in my situation is that my NPDd has gotten better with age, whereas my BPDm has gotten worse. This meant a world of difference when I confronted them. My Dad essentially disagreed that I had a right to be angry about his abusive behavior, but he did acknowledge that he hurt me and apologized for it. We're somewhat LC now, which is OK. I think love is a complex emotion, and I feel that I half love him, and he loves me to the extent that he can. That feels resolved.

But my mom raged and we haven't spoken in a year. That doesn't feel very resolved. But I have to say, after a year I don't really miss her at all. Sad, but true. I'm not sure how it is for everyone else, but it seems as thought the narcissists  are a tiny bit easier to deal with.

Good luck to you, and don't let the man bring you down!
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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2012, 06:06:27 PM »

That's why I didn't think he was a narcissist--he doesn't announce e he's an atheist and doesn't confront people with his good acts.  But he's silently proud of it and feels superior for it. He tends to talk negatively about others and compare as a way of building himself up (rather than talking himself up).  Shame-based.  He acts shameless and perfect and by comparison he feels better about himself.

Woah!  You just rocked my world.   Thought  Now I think my dad is NPD!  I never thought of the martyr being a Narcissist, but my dad totally plays the martyr roll and is proud of it!  He thinks it's his ticket into heaven.  Lately, he's been all preachy on the phone, like he has more wisdom than anyone else.  Of course, younger me has never been able to teach him anything.  All the other families in church used to look to us as the perfect family they wanted to have.  It's all about looking good to others.  I'll have to give this some more thought.  Thought  Thank you!
« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 06:20:32 PM by Rebb » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2012, 06:07:30 PM »

That's why I didn't think he was a narcissist--he doesn't announce e he's an atheist and doesn't confront people with his good acts.  But he's silently proud of it and feels superior for it. He tends to talk negatively about others and compare as a way of building himself up (rather than talking himself up).  Shame-based.  He acts shameless and perfect and by comparison he feels better about himself.

Woah!  You just rocked my world.   Thought  Now I think my dad is NPD!  I never thought of the martyr being a Narcissist, but my dad totally plays the martyr roll and is proud of it!  He thinks it's his ticket into heaven.  Lately, he's been all preachy on the phone, like he has more wisdom than anyone else.  Of course, younger me has never been able to teach him anything.  All the other families in church used to look to us as the perfect family they wanted to have.  It's all about looking good to others.  I'll have to give this some more thought.  Thought  Thank you!
« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 06:21:02 PM by Rebb » Logged
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