So I found this in my search terms, along with “narcissist bullshitter” and “the narcissist cookbook.” Could be something funny here – do you think?
Are narcissists bullshitters? Do they bullshit about cooking? Or are they busy cooking up bullshit? With Yop yogourt? Yuck. Now there’s an unattractive visual. Maybe the searcher was looking for Gordon Ramsay’s cookbook.
My ex-narcissist was the biggest bullshitter when it came to his cooking abilities. And everything else. But when it came to recipes for the narcissistic line, he was yops, er, tops.
What recipes would The Narcissist Cookbook contain? Let’s take a quick stroll through a potential table of contents.
1. Appetiser – The “I love you because you’re perfect” Smoked Oysters.
2. Pasta – The “I can’t live without you, precious” Farfalle with Creamy Truffles.
3. Meat – The “I really need a quick loan and will pay you right back” well done flank steak.
4. Fish – The “will you marry me” Cedar-Planked Salmon with Arugula Salad.
5. Palate Cleanser – The “you’re such an annoying person but anyway will you buy this suit for me” Eye-Watering Lemon Sorbet.
6. Dessert – The “I’ve fallen out of love with you but you still need to buy these tires for my car” Curdled Creme Brulee.
7. Cheese Plate – The “I know you want a divorce but you’re gonna have to pay me” Squishy Grape and Smelly Rotten Cheese Platter.
8. Very Expensive Civet Coffee with Petit fours.
9. Free-at-last Digestive (recipe not included in cookbook but necessary in order to recover from meal-induced heartburn. Don’t worry. It goes away.)
10. (Next day) Tummy-soothing Oatmeal with Brown Sugar, best consumed with good friend.
Good question. I’ve thought about this a lot. If you look up narcissism, there is a tremendous amount of stuff about its roots.
Is it genetic? Is it caused by environmental factors? Is it caused by a combination of those? Is it triggered or does it develop slowly?
One thing that I’ve found irritating about everything I’ve read about narcissism is the tendency to blame mothers for it. This just seems too simple to me. To say nothing of the scapegoating that seems to be at work …
Women seem to be taking a disproportionate share of the responsibility for creating narcissists. And perhaps that topic is for another post. Part III?
Logically, it seems to me that narcissism doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all cause. Different people function in different ways and what may be a trigger for one person may not be a trigger for another. Additionally, I believe that there likely isn’t a single trigger at work at all. As well, the trigger(s) may only get pulled when various environmental conditions are right.
And what about the narcissist who develops very slowly over time?
So much goes into what makes a person behave in particular ways that I can’t believe that academic circles are still having this argument.
We’re all narcissistic. Humanity wouldn’t have survived without it. It’s the degree that matters, and I believe that narcissism can be placed on a spectrum with “normal” narcissism at one end and sociopathy/psychopathy at the other. Where one crosses over from being “rather” narcissistic to having Narcissistic Personality Disorder is again, a matter of degree. And, I would also say that it is perhaps also a matter of age and experience.
Much of what I’ve read on the subject tends to say that narcissism declines or levels out with age. I don’t necessarily believe that. Perhaps this is true of some narcissists. However, all I have to do is think of the narcissist to whom I was married. Harry is much older than me and was 62 when we met. I last conversed with him when he was 66. At that time, his narcissism showed no signs of abating and, in fact, was probably more sophisticated than it ever had been since his experience with me allowed him to improve it further.
Two months ago I received an email from him – I did not respond to it – where he bragged about his “new” life, “new” girlfriend with whom he is living, and the “new” city to which he recently moved.
He wanted to re-establish contact with me, again. Now, this email demonstrated his narcissism in several (possible) ways:
– everything was “new” – he was clearly idealizing the city, the girlfriend, the life. At some point, this will wear off and he will enter the “devaluation” phase of this relationship.
– he has had so many people run to get away from him that establishing contact with me proves that that’s not really true. Twisted logic, I know. But that’s how narcissists think.
– has he already entered the devaluation phase of his present relationship? Is that why he was trying to re-establish contact with me? They are always trolling for someone to build them up (and I really don’t know why he would think I would do that, but any port in a storm, I guess).
– it still stings when he thinks of how I dumped him. If there’s one thing that narcissists can’t stand, it’s being dumped by someone else. They, of course, can walk away from a relationship any time they please. He may have been trying to reel me in so that he could give me the boot.
– he ended the email by saying that he often thinks fondly of me and still doesn’t understand why we couldn’t have worked things out. He is completely clueless as to the damage he caused me, both financially and emotionally. To him, we can just pick up where we left off!
That comment, more than anything else, shows the degree of narcissism that lives inside him. Did he ask how I am? No. Ask after my family, my job, my dog? No. No. No. Because those things don’t matter. It’s always, always about him.
I think that Harry has a very polished act. Very polished. It’s taken him years to shine it up. He will never give it up, no matter what it costs him. And there is nothing and no one who will ever be of more value to him than his act.
So, how did Harry get there? Stay tuned for my take on the development of narcissism.
Where do you think narcissism (or any other human trait) comes from? Is it nature, nurture or both?
I don’t really do new year’s resolutions. Sometimes, I’m definitely tempted, but I know what will happen – nothing.
I’m one of those people who has to be ready to do or not do whatever it is; an arbitrary due date that forces me into trying to change some awful behaviour or other will only result in failure, at least for me.
It’s much better for me to think about what I won’t do rather than about what I will do. At the very least, it’s the kind of whimsical bullshit that puts me to sleep at night, so it does accomplish something.
As a result, I have created the list that none of you has been waiting for – the top ten things that I resolve to not do. I can now bask in the rationalization that sometimes, making new year’s commitments is very hassle-free.
1. Go parachuting. The only way I would do this is if the airplane is on fire and James Bond is not available to rescue me.
2. Pierce a body part. I pierced my ears when I was 17. That was enough. Starting a personal relationship with Hitler would be more attractive.
3. Get a tattoo. That whole fad is starting to get ridiculous, especially among the oldsters, who are making themselves look older by trying to appear younger. If you ain’t where you are baby, you’re nowhere, and that particularly applies to age.
4. Join Facebook, again. If you want to see narcissism in action, Facebook is the place to go. The oneupmanship/mea culpa crap is nauseating. The idea that we want to know your every move and your every lame thought – well, don’t strain yourself. I don’t need to know that it burns when you pee. Just quietly visit a doctor and quietly inform the source of your “Burnin’ Love.” Otherwise, this information is not important, and neither are you. In fact, I would rather eat a bug than read your stuff.
5. Eat a bug. I’m not planning on joining a reality tv series situated in some remote jungle where the only food sources are bugs, eyeballs and leftover toenails. Or something else that’s equally gross.
6. Enjoy shopping for a new bathing suit. Now, those of you who “know” me know that I hate shopping. Shopping for a bathing suit? Stuffing a pine cone up my nose would be an easier task.
7. Climb Mt. Everest. I gave up backpacks when I left the army. Ditto tents, cold beans and ropes. Doing that same crap in -50 while the wind is howling and you’re about to run out of air sounds about as logical as performing brain surgery with a pair of pliers. Just because “it’s there” doesn’t mean you have to do it. Cars are “there.” I don’t jump in front of them to see if their brakes are working.
8. Start eating Kentucky Fried Chicken. M calls this stuff “the dirty bird.” That is descriptive, isn’t it?
9. Open my own shoe store. I only like comfortable shoes and hate it when my feet hurt. I would never try to make people feel like they have to wear the crap that supposedly keeps them “fashionable.” Have you noticed those shoes that make a woman’s foot look like a hoof? Giant ugly platforms with squared toes that especially on petite women, call to mind Henry VIII’s armour. The feet, not the codpiece. Anyway, I’m relieved to see that they are starting to wane.
10. Run for public office. I don’t think that I’m suitable. Really. I’m not narcissistic enough, deluded enough, disrespectful enough or suffering from megalomania enough. Now, if only the rest of the world would listen to me. After all, I have all the answers. And remember, it doesn’t matter how you get there, only that you do.
See, that was easy, wasn’t it? Do you have a list of stuff you know you won’t do? Share your thoughts, please!
I’ve been nominated for the “Liebster Award.” Twice. I’ve also been nominated for the “Versatile Blogger” award. I would be lying if I didn’t say that this made me feel all warm and smiley. It certainly did. All three times. However, I would also be lying if I said that I would be comfortable in accepting them. So, I just wind up in a real conundrum. I want to acknowledge and thank the people who have nominated me, but I also don’t want to jump through the hoops of acceptance and put up the badges, either.
If I have it correctly, the “Liebster” works like this (the “Versatile Blogger” award is similar): if you’ve been nominated, you can nominate others who have less than 300 followers. They answer some questions about themselves and then they nominate others who have to answer new questions developed by the latest nominees. And on it goes. It reminds me a bit of a chain letter or chain e-mail.
I can see the advantages of participating. If you’re relatively new it spreads word of your blog around and may encourage people to take a look. This is tempting to me because my purpose is to get the word out, as widely as possible, about all those narcissists out there.
However, I wouldn’t be comfortable answering the questions and I definitely wouldn’t be comfortable displaying the badges. I don’t want to get too much into my personal life for obvious reasons. My ex-narcissist, like most narcissists, is volatile and vengeful. If he were able to verify the author of this blog, I’d be in trouble, even though I’ve also protected him. Not that he would get anywhere much, but he would probably try to sue me, something I could really do without. He’s about as litigious a person as you could ever come across – in fact I would say that if he’s anything to go by, it’s a characteristic of narcissism. For that reason, I’ve been careful to keep the identifying features to a minimum. I don’t want to say what I do for a living or where I graduated from high school or how many children I have.
There’s also the fact that I’m just not comfortable, generally, with sharing that sort of information or with displaying badges. I would like to acknowledge, however, the people who have nominated me.
First of all, Project Southsea. He’s a good young writer with a wonderfully dry sense of humour who does manage to get himself into some interesting situations. I very much admire the fact that he’s willing to share these awkward experiences with the rest of us.
Secondly, there’s trophydaughter. She was very kind to nominate me and also offered to let me dump the rules! She’s dealing with a narcissistic mother and writes fluidly and candidly about the frustrations and difficulties of handling with that situation.
Thank you both. You honour me.
I also want to suggest an alternative to the blogging awards, however. Teeny Bikini, author of The Jiggly Bits, passed this idea on to me, which is to nominate people for the WP Reader’s Choice Awards. You can nominate a favourite post – an excellent idea. And by the way, if you haven’t visited Teeny’s blog yet, you are really missing out. She’s funny and edgy and completely wonderful. Take a peek.
There are so many good writers, artists and poets on WP, and I really enjoy all the people on my reader, but here are some particular favourites, in no special order:
1. Narc Raiders – Betty does excellent commentary on narcissism.
I’ve to some extent discussed before how narcissists fly red flags signalling who and what they are. The problem is that most of us can see that the wind is blowing something around but we don’t know what it is. If you’re like me, and raised on a sound diet of Hollywood movies, you’re going to set caution firmly aside, walk right up to this thing that’s blowing around and, sighing in relief, say, “It’s okay, it’s a pair of underwear!” Now, if you’re a lot like me, after a moment you’re also going to say, “Actually, it doesn’t really look like a pair of underwear, it might be a flag.” And then you’ll promptly talk yourself out of it because you can’t believe that there would be a flag blowing around, unattended, in the middle of the bald-ass desert. Which is where you’re going to be if you don’t start recognizing that it’s a flag, and that really, there’s lots more than just one of them. And anyway, why would it be more logical for a pair of underwear to be blowing around?
I knew you’d want to know. It’s because we want it to be a pair of underwear. Underwear blowing around? That’s funny. You can speculate endlessly on who owned them and how they got out there, all with humourous intent and lots of giggles and baa ha ha -ing.
But a flag? Everyone knows about flags. Alert: this is mine, all mine. You don’t belong here. Danger: if you don’t leave, I’ll throw a rock at you. Or something worse. Aggression: I’m bigger and better than you. I’m going to mess you up and take your stuff.
Flags carry an incredibly heavy emotional load and all of it is personal. I recently watched an Anthony Bourdain show about Madrid where the status of the Spanish flag was discussed. Until Spain won the World Cup of Soccer in 2010 and started to view their flag as a positive symbol, they were careful with it. They had viewed it as the flag of Francisco Franco, the dictator they were stuck with for 40 years until 1975 and therefore did not see it as a symbol of national pride.
Essentially, what the Spanish did for 35 years was either ignore or minimize the importance of their flag. It set off alarm bells, caused bad memories to re-surface and drove them into an uncomfortable place. That’s what red flags do, too.
So, even though our biology is telling us to be cautious, to be aware, we are just as capable of ignoring or minimizing those warnings. When it comes to narcissistic red flags, how far will we go to subvert our own better judgement?
Pretty far, if my own experience is anything to go by. For example, very early on I saw Harry’s ability to flip-flop, and that’s how I saw it, too. What I was ignoring were the first signs of his instability. These signs got lost in how brilliant he was at courting me – showering me with compliments and small presents. This was me: “Was that a red flag? No, it can’t be! Let me look at all these compliments instead …” I saw the flag but chose to turn it into a pair of underwear instead.
I also saw his sense of superiority and arrogance, too, but I chose to see them as indicative of a sort of bohemian intelligence a la Jack Kerouac. I came to realize how narrow his interests were – despite his protestations that he is a great reader, he reads only one author who writes mystery/suspense novels. I later saw that Harry likes to envision himself as this author’s central character – he is much more Walter Mitty than Jack Kerouac.
The fact that he owned very little while at the same time carrying an enormous debt load should have been another red flag and in fact was a red flag. I just got busy and rationalized it. He had explanations for everything, explanations that seemed logical at the time: I live in a travel trailer because my work takes me all over the place. I have a lot of debt because of the lawsuit (some of you may recall that there were actually several lawsuits including one against him) – this followed by a diversionary discussion of how the two women he sued had ruined his life and how I was making it better. I certainly was! I had started paying out money for him, including paying one of his huge debts.
He claimed to be a great cook and in fact often was in the kitchen, but his abilities in that area were very narrow and adolescent. He kept making and eating the same things, most of it junk food. He was obsessed with fruit pies and kept making pastry over and over again and throwing out the results. He threw out lots of other things, too. My grocery bill kept rising and he made no attempt to contribute. I put it down to his culinary perfectionism and chose to listen instead to the siren song of his compliments.
Almost everything that he owned was in poor condition, although saying that he “owned” these items is fanciful, at best. The bank and various credit card companies owned them, and that’s part of the reason why they weren’t well maintained. He didn’t really have any investment in them. He soon started treating my possessions with the same degree of disrespect and also for the same reason. To off-set any concerns I might have he kept saying that he would “soon” start contributing financially, but that never did happen.
There didn’t seem to be anyone in his life except me. There were no phone calls back and forth between him and his “friends” and his daughter didn’t generate any contact either. He kept telling me that I was the only person who understood him and I chose to start believing that.
During the first year of our relationship we were rather isolated. He had no interest in meeting my friends or family and in fact tried to avoid them. I thought it very affirming that he seemed so focussed on me.
He had no interest whatsoever in my family or family background except as it suited him – he chose to take my surname when we married. I thought that was a lovely tribute! He was just trying to re-invent himself while at the same time escaping some of his creditors.
He wanted to get married as quickly as possible.
With respect to our relationship he at one point told me that I “should be careful what [I] wish for.” He later soothed me by saying that he had just been in a “down mood.”
Before we started living together I seriously considered breaking it off with him, but I had never been much of a “no” person – I lacked personal boundaries – and I was also afraid of being the “bad guy.” Like many women, I wanted to maintain a friendly relationship with him, not cause a bitter split and treat him like the women of his past had treated him. Great, huh? He had so convinced me that I was different and special that even as I was thinking of getting out, I was still buying into his idealization of me. If that’s not master manipulation, I don’t know what is.
Do you see yourself here? Is there a pattern for you? Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t delude yourself. Don’t be afraid to look. Because if you see yourself here, then you’re flagging, and you really will be flagging unless you chose to see the flags and not the underwear.
Get out. It won’t be easy and it won’t be pretty, and he (or she) will try everything, and I mean everything, to stay in your life. There will be crying, howling, cajoling, bribery, lying, threatening, shouting, sobbing and screaming. There might even be “suicide attempts” or “suicidal ideation.” None of this is real. It’s just a stage show designed to get you back so that he (or she) can continue to use you. So you have to get out, either now or later. Don’t wind up regretting that you ignored the flags.