Why We Lie – Even to Ourselves

Why We Lie

Long before research confirmed it, experience taught me why we lie. And basically, we do it for two reasons. Firstly, we do it to get something we want but believe we can’t secure honestly. Secondly, we do it to avoid pain, discomfort, or unpleasant consequence.

We lie, therefore, to manipulate our environment. And sometimes it seems to work. But in the end, lying always cost us. That’s true whether we try to deceive someone else or merely ourselves.

Self-Deception Is Not Necessarily Denial

Some of life’s realities really challenge us. And we naturally shy away from the difficult. We simply dislike what’s painful. And facing the truth can be really painful at times. But to have character you must have the courage to face the truth without denial or deceit.

Now, sometimes life deals us an unexpected and catastrophic blow. And when reality is simply too painful to consciously bear, our unconscious can put us in a state of denial. I give an example of that kind of thing in Character Disturbance.  But other times, we kid ourselves more consciously. And we do that when we’re still getting too much out of the way we’re doing things and we don’t want to bear the burden of change. The truth may not be pretty. And sometimes we choose to ignore it because we know what may be asked of us to truly reckon with it.

Honest Self-Reckoning

Ultimately, why we lie has everything to do with how difficult it can be to reckon more honestly with things. And when we don’t honestly reckon with ourselves, we dig ourselves into a major hole with respect to our character growth. All the major religions know and teach this. And the various 12-step programs include a step dedicated to honest self-reckoning.

Why we lie has always intrigued me. But it has intrigued me more to observe the tremendous growth of those who dare to honestly self-reckon. Facing the truth often requires the utmost courage and determination. And sometimes it requires a therapist’s loving confrontation. But it truly has the power to set a person free. Free from what? Free from the self-imposed character arrest that necessarily arises out of any lie. In the end, how truthfully we self-reckon determines how solid a character we build.

Character Matters

Character Matters will air live Sunday March 4. So, I can take your calls at (501) 258-8326. Last week’s program featured a rebroadcast of an earlier one. And this was announced in last week’s post. But several folks called in, only to be frustrated. So, I invite those wanting to participate or ask a question to try again Sunday. The program airs at 7 pm Eastern Time on UCY.TV.


73 thoughts on “Why We Lie – Even to Ourselves

  1. I cannot lie. It makes me very uncomfortable. It even makes me freak out to find out someone “misunderstood” what I said because I’m afraid they will think I was lying. To be this way is a blessing and a curse. I have trouble with “little white lies” also.
    But my EX of 40 years lies so naturally and cleverly that it took me years to realize he was even doing it.
    My sons – in their 30s now – don’t say much about my ex – their father – to me. I know he keeps in good contact with them. But one of them did tell me recently that his father had told him the same story at least five times and every time it ended differently. He said he’s not sure exactly what happened. Wow. Just wow. I’m not alone! I’m not crazy! It was all I could do to not break down right there.
    I let it go and didn’t comment except to say I was sorry. They love their Father and I can’t/won’t take that path with them. But when my son told me this I almost started crying because I have never received any validation from anyone. My ex seems to have them all under his spell. But this made me realize that maybe he doesn’t after all. That his son sees what’s really going on. Maybe others do also or are beginning to see it.
    This is important to me because I lost 95% of my lifelong friends when I left him – he’s an influential and somewhat important person in his profession. I think he told them horrible things about me during the divorce and they obviously sided with him. I have been ostracized and blamed. It has been a horrible experience to be in your 60’s and be forgotten and ignored by people you spent so much time with.
    To have been a person who always care deeply what others thought of her this has been pure Hell and I have had my doubts whether I did the right thing by walking away. But hearing my son say that the other night gave me a new strength.
    I hope everyone is well – I’m quiet, but always reading the board. Many Hugs!

    1. Dear Jean, I know the horror of emotional abuse but in many ways I’ve been lucky as it came from my sister rather than a partner. I was unfortunate enough to suffer narcissistic rage from her and it affected me deeply for about a year. I will never ever be able to forget what she said and I will no longer have anything to do with her. She has bullied me most of my life and always has a pity me story going on. Everything is my fault. They seek to destroy you with their lies and I know that after the abuse I suffered she contacted other members of my family with a concocted story to cover her backside. I was told that ‘no-one’ likes me which makes it pretty universal. They generalise rather than personalise. She also succeeded in isolating me which was very painful. It’s also true that they dump their shame and for a long time I didn’t feel able to contact certain family members in case what she had said was true. It can be a long painful journey out of the maze but I pray you will find the courage and strength to do so. Take heart that your sons love you. The truth always comes to light and you may find long lost friends contact you over time. I can honestly say that I experienced pure evil the day my sister took me down and it’s not something you expect from a close family member. I genuinely hadn’t realised the depths of her character depravity until this incident and she has a history of fooling many others too. God Bless. Ann

      1. Hi Ann,
        I just want to welcome you to Dr. Simons blog and thank you for sharing your story. Its not an easy road, after we have stayed so long. Jean, I think you will start to heal once you reach out and into the world. Find others you can make friends with and make a better life for yourself. You have a lot to give.

      2. Thank you for your response to what you went through. I went through this with each one of my 6 siblings as well as the help my parents offered them in banding against me. My latest was with my covert narcissistic sister of 50 yrs. She would never help me through the darkest times of my life but always “needed my help” for the past 30 yrs. I finally realized she was never going to “grow up” and be there for me, but ALWAYS there to hurt me, use me, lie to me and worse lie about me. I am trying to forgive her AND myself for trying so hard to get my sisters love but finally gave up the fight 3 yrs ago. Just removed her from my FB page as well. I actually did feel better after I did that. Thank God for Dr. Simon!!!

    2. Hi Jean,
      I am sure because your ex is an influential person in his profession that carries a lot of clout and makes him harder to see through. They have a knack for telling their lies and getting others to believe them, but it is to your credit that you love your sons enough to keep quiet about the truth about the EX. My daughter, who my EX favored very much, always wanted to defend him no matter. But my son lived with him for about two years separately from us, after I left him and he learned the truth about him the hard way, he paid consequences for his Dads actions. He moved back with us and pretty much wrote his Dad off after he saw he was never truly a Dad to him. My daughter I believe was in denial, bless her heart, she wanted a father figure so badly. But what I want to say to you is that you have what the EX could never have, integrity, character and strength. And you have what no CD can have, the ability to love others truly, your life will be better for it.

      1. Jean, Kat,

        You are right about they will learn the hard way. My daughter also wants so badly to believe her dad is a good man. I believe she suffered a nervous breakdown being badgered by him. She stood up to him in an argument and in his rage he told he kicked her out of his house, her and her three year old son, wouldn’t allow her to come back the next day to get her clothes and essentials. had to have the police meet her there to get her and her son’s things. He made up some crazy story about how the things in the house weren’t hers to come get because the house is owned by him employer. He went over the edge with it. She saw herself how off balanced he is. And came to live with me in my tiny apartment. But it’s working out ok now. I’m healing. She’d healing.
        But back to Jean. they are finding out what their dad really is. And all along they know your heart. you’re their mother. You’ve stayed dignified and they’ve seen that.
        That’s too bad about how this man has distorted things so the friends are “one his side”. Well look what kind of friend they’ve got there.
        I hope you’re getting out socially and are active somehow outside of the home.
        And of course you aren’t crazy. And I’m sure it does feel good that the sons can now see what a liar the man is.
        In many ways I like this starting over, anew, without the lying crazy SB in my house. I can make my life decisions on my own now and not have him to tear me down anymore.
        I’ve lost a lot but am finding a new way of life. And it’s good. And so will yours be. You got to quick the “stinkin thinkin” and replace those thoughts with something else – to get out of that pattern of thinking about that man. I’m working on it too. It won’t happen overnight.
        You hang in there Jean.

    3. You are sooooooooo strong!! You left! I couldn’t lie either. My NPD husband took every “truth” I told and used it to fire off statements that created doubt in my reality. 40 years also. How could I have been so oblivious to the obvious?

    4. You are sooooooooo strong!! You left! I couldn’t lie either. My NPD husband took every “truth” I told and used it to fire off statements that created doubt in my reality. 40 years also. How could I have been so oblivious to the obviouse?

      1. Andi,
        40 years. You did it too. Wild! Unbelievable how hard I worked for love and acceptance all those years. Ridiculous. But as bad as it was, I still don’t know how I had the nerve to actually leave because he had me in an an absolute wreck – AND I still loved him! It seems like a horrible distant nightmare now.

        1. Jean,
          I did the same thing, it was a difficult decision to leave. My heart said NO, but my mind and gut told me different. I believe it is our internal survival mode that turns on. We truly see the light when we do leave.

          Jean for many of us that have been in a relationship for so long, one can experience withdrawal symptoms. As time passes and you see and accept the truth you will feel better.

          In cases where your X is in a position of power and affluent, many will stick with him rather than consider you. These people aren’t your true friends. Be glad they have been siphoned off. I know you are having a difficult time adjusting and wished I could help you more.

          Just know you are accepted here and this little family of friends cares for you and wants to see you happy again. I think the more you post and interact here where you are safe the more you will come out of your shell. Our soft hidie hole, can be very comforting, they also can become our coffin.

          Jean, know this, we feel your pain and you aren’t alone. I encourage you to consider posting more. We need your input as much as you need ours. Just know, you are accepted and cared for here.


    5. Jean, I’m so sorry for the pain you’ve been through! I’m still in this crazy making web my husband’s made, mainly for my children and I know he would succeed at the slandering even more if I walked away. I am like you and read in the background, out of fear he will find this too and have another route to injure me more. Often I wish there were a way to communicate with many here in a more ‘ safe’ forum. But that’s tricky to handle to I know. I’m so hopeful your son will continue to see the true ways his father has, and open more eyes. God give you grace. Big hug.

      1. Also, looking for a word to describe that state being when you realize they are lying, have been forever and you feel fooled, confused, broken, shocked, sick AND almost no one else believes you. So you have no one to confide in or process with. I can paint vivid pictures, retell situations over and over….. But that feeling…. Just hunting for some words that say it better than, STUCK.

        1. Hi Jane,

          Welcome to Dr. SImons blog. I am glad you have your way here and are reading. Jane, always use a different name, use a name that could be male or female. Always erase your history after researching what you don’t want him to see on the net. Otherwise, this is a safe place for you.

          I started reading this blog almost 10 years ago, at first I just read as you did until I knew enough of what I needed to know in order to leave. Some think its just easy to pick up and leave, not so. Its take preparation. You may feel stuck right now, but there are ways.

          I do know what you are going through and feeling and so does Lucy. There are others on this blog who have been in your situation. Please don’t despair. You took a big step in posting, this a beginning, take your time and build up your strength, mentally, physically and spiritually. Learn as many strategies as you can that will help you in the future.

          I am sure just posting has drained a lot of your strength, just take it slow and take care of yourself. Above all you need to build up your inner strength and health. Whatever, you decide and it is your decision alone, know you will have my support.

          Keep reading and posting, you will get to know us and you will have a support system here. I would also encourage you if you can to watch Dr. Simons You Tubes. There are other good Life coaches we can stear you to that will help build up your self esteem. Just don’t overwhelm yourself all at once.

          My heart goes out to you dear one. Keep posting and grow your strength. You will be OK…

        2. Jane
          No you’re not stuck. I too suffered the same. I call it BETRAYAL. I’ve never in my life felt such agony than when I realized I’d been betrayed.
          So here I am going on nearly four years since I’d realized I’d been betrayed, am finally divorced and one with him.
          You can divorce this man. He’s already slandering and not going to stop, so really divorcing doesn’t change that. He’ll keep that up anyway.
          My guess is that he’s looking like the fool he is to his so-called friends.
          My X slandered me to the banker, the real estate brokers (three different agencies), the new company he works, through court papers, and anyone else who would listen. Nothing I could/can do about it. I frankly really don’t care anymore. It doesn’t matter.
          Our stories are so bizarre that they are difficult to comprehend to a person who isn’t familiar with this craziness. And yes people judge. We can’t help that either.
          You HAVE to believe in yourself, know who you are, and you’ll get through it. You know the truth.
          You really have to just accept the fact that this man will continue to slander, trying to make himself look like “the good guy”.
          Believe me, it’s better to me in your own place, without the nutjob, his insults and lies than under the same roof, under the black cloud.
          YOU ARE NOT STUCK. Don’t ever believe that.
          Yes, they do make you paranoid, and for a reason. They look for any little thing to twist into something that it’s not.
          The less you have contact with this man the better off you are.
          Please post more. We’ll help you here, all we can.

          1. Lucy , Thank you . He knows the very core of who I am is all tangled up inside my children and grandchildren . This is his greatest tool . He uses it , often . It means so much to feel understood . and believed .

          2. I have been dealing with an NPD for 30+ yrs now. My kids were affected by this as well. Now my grown son is trying to “teach me about loyalty” when he is the MOST disloyal person in our family!!! My grandkids love us too much so now he’s manipulating our grandson who is three to say odd and hurtful things to us. My grandson is desperate for his dad’s love so he is actually cooperating. Sad to say, love my grandkids. Will stay in their lives as long as I can for them not for me. After I’m no longer necessary in thier lives, I’m moving far away. Some of his friends know exactly what my son is doing, others are as Narcississtic as he is so they applaud his sin. No we’re not nuts!!!

  2. Ann:
    “I can honestly say that I experienced pure evil the day my sister took me down and it’s not something you expect from a close family member. I genuinely hadn’t realised the depths of her character depravity until this incident and she has a history of fooling many others too.”

    This is exactly how I felt when my now non-brother attacked me verbally. All I remember is vicious and vile diarrhea. I have never encountered anything like it in my life. My parents told me years ago “you never want to get him mad.” I wondered what they meant until his mask fell that day. I will never ever allow him in my life again.


    I smiled when you said your sons had validated you. It is such a wonderful feeling and it sure helps the healing process. I surround myself now with only the people I trust and who have validated me as well but to have your children see what you’ve known for so long is a huge moment. Yay!

    1. Hi Sydney, it’s very difficult to describe and you simply can’t explain it to anyone else that hasn’t experienced it. Not everyone that suffers at the hands of a narcissist knows pure narcissistic rage. I had never encountered anything in my life like it either and I never will again now that I have cut her out of my life. Whilst it gives me no joy to know that others have suffered this experience too, it does help to know that there are others in the same boat with a similar life experience. Thank you for sharing. Ann

  3. Ann

    Narcissistic rage to me is a psycotic episode and should be treated as such. I left every thing behind me when I got out. They scapegoat you because they have not the courage or integrity to take responsibility for their actions. They are parasitic cowards, with nothing honest to offer the world other than lies and deciet.
    They do’nt like the truth !

  4. I watched Citizen Kane. A truly brilliant film. A story of a narcissist, his rise to wealth and riches. Then his downfall and eventual fate of dying alone. You see a narcisstic rage, when his wife leaves him.
    I highly recommend this film. It was very,very good

  5. Joey,
    I saw this movie, it is excellent and agree everyone should watch it. If one understands the dynamics of the story one can learn a lot. Truly, a classic for med school students. I watched the old version with Orson Wells, really a memorable classic. I would say the separation of Kanes identity and that of Rosebud are key. Joey, what do you think?

  6. I have BPD, which in many ways, can be narcissistic by definition. But the way I think it can differ some, is that you have the ability to unlearn all of the bad habits that you were taught.

    My father’s genetics are the blessing in my case, though even that, I feel is sort of limited, he also can tend to be the “I am talking you are listening’ and though when he has been the sanest one in the group since he did work his AA program, that being his saving grace, I belive he does have the ability to grasp a spiritual answer-there can be a tendency to be a bit self-righteous. An opinion, and I am hardly one to talk. He does, have the ability to feel guilty about some of his actions.

    It is the ability to see a 12 step recovery, and to lean on the compassion, the love, etc, I learned from the family friends and doctors and nurses I was pawned off on-it was formerly a resentment on my part, but I do believe that in this case, a saving grace.

    Sometimes, we lie also I think, I know I have, when the truth can be even uglier. In my case, I think though, like a narc who is feigning love and spirituality, it doesn’t last long.

    1. JC,

      I don’t think I would self diagnose with BPD, when one is brought up and lived with a CDN parents, we can have all kinds of problems arise. However, once that person is removed from the environment, they begin to act differently. Living in a household full of narcs I never knew what would happen next and we adapt and try to live. Is it a wonder kids have problems.

      JC in cases like yours we lie to ourselves and others to survive. When danger is at every turn, we learn to adapt. Many times as you say the lie is better than the truth. Keep up the good work JC and you will come to a crossroad of where you can stay stuck or shed all those lies and live in truth.

      I believe you have been living in truth for quiet some time and do a good job of it. JC, I do not believe we have to rehash over and over in our heads all the child hood traumas, I think when we find ourselves and live in our truth those memories will mean nothing. Reliving them keeps us stuck.

      My Sis that has Schizophrenia was just in therapy for the last 3 months doing EMDR. Every-time she came back from having therapy to the facility she acted up where she never did in the past. This last week she tried to self harm and went into a hysterical fit. Well they are stopping the therapy, she claimed she wanted the nightmares she is now having to stop. In all truthfulness, I believe if they we going to put Sis in any type of therapies it would be a 12 Step.

      JC, When God is our saving grace, he never leaves, we leave him. Also, as much as we would like another to understand how we have benefited from a program and a spiritual relationship, as you know the other has to want it.
      As for yourself I think you are doing a great job, keep going forward.

      I sure hope that knee clears up, did you have to have surgery?
      Be well and God bless you recovery.

      I think you are on the right track with the 12 step club.

      1. It is a good way of living.

        There is also the Emotions Anonymous program, which I think applies to any of us.

        1. JC,

          You are right, a 12 Step Club is good for all of us. Whether we believe it or not, it sure can’t hurt.

          How are your knees?

          1. JC,

            That’s great, I am starting physical therapy too. I pray you have a speedy recovery.

          2. JC,

            I thought you said you are starting therapy? If you don’t have enough money, if i suggest watch some you tubes. You are a smart lady, you know what is hurting and your limitations. Then google and start watching. I have done this for many things that have ailed me.

            I was in a accident where the Dr.’s thought I may never walk again, well, I did. I did a lot of searching on my own and did much on my own and it truly helped. I hope you are able to do the same. I injured my knee and tore the meniscus, I chose not to have surgery and started to do exercise on my own. I also bought knee support and figured out other modalities and remedies to help alleviate the pain.

            I am more than willing to share what I have done if I knew more of what is wrong with your knees.

          3. BTOV,

            I live in the United States, which is all about “show me the money” most of the time, and I lack something called coverage-required or not, I still cannot afford it. I am hoping someone will work it out, but most of the time, if Medicare is your primary, it leads to more than a few problems.

          4. BTOV,

            Basically, BPD is an inability to self-soothe.

            When you’re raised by a mother with NPD and BPD, then there is her incapability to bond with her child, not on a core level that would teach me to do the same.

            I only had to learn to self-soothe, to relax, stay relaxed take this as it comes, and have the understanding that for her, there is no real treatment, at least I have the grasp of spirituality, can do some coping skills, if I didn’t learn them from her, or anyone else, and can at some point, I got off easy in comparison.

            A horrible way to be when you’re busy being miserable. You die alone, I do have compassion for her, and myself.

            For her, anxiety is a bad deal, her NPD is worse.

            I sent her DBT. One can only hope she does it and will benefit, decrease the occurrence of her shrinking out.

            Call it in learning what she taught me, it’s slow but does happen.

            Watch the mother and child video, called “Mirroring,” and it does illustrate this well.

        2. JC,

          I understand all this, I came from a family of CDN’s. What set me free is the day I laid it all at the foot of the cross and forgave. The negative feelings were and I decided I wasn’t going to be anyone but me. I threw away all that baggage, it wasn’t me, and I refused to own any of it. It took a lot of introspection and work and itt can happen for you too..

          It takes time and you are on your way there. Don’t ever let anyone define you and don’t give up your faith. Prayer for me has been my saving grace…


          1. I know you’re right. I know that cutting both parents out of my life actually-much as I don’t like the idea, they’re both narcs. And it seems they are doing their best to play me against one another-both do gaslighting.

            And I am looking into Celebrate Recovery. Those people, and the Wesleyan denomination-practice what the preach. I can get used to that.

  7. BTOV

    Kane was a true narcissist, he formed NO EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT TO ANY ONE HIS ENTIRE LIFE. The last thing he says, in his dying breath is ROSEBUD. The sledge HE HAD WHEN HE WAS 8 YRS OLD.

    To all
    You will see a true profile of a narcissist. Watch the film and see if you can see the traits. They are all there


      1. Syd,

        You will really enjoy this movie, there is also a longer version to watch, if you google it you will see it. It really gives one a lot to think about, including how the same things go on in our life with the CD and how others we know who interact the same way.

        I would love to hear what catches your eye and at the end what you make of it…… Thanks

        1. BTOV,

          I just finished it. The first thing that caught my eye was the mother of Charles as she was very cold.

          As far as CDs go I found it a bit of a stretch because my encounters have been so different to this. I saw Susan as obnoxious and whiny. I found Charles to be a bit self-centered but not to the extent of the CDs I have had to go no contact with. Leland seemed to have Charles figured out and so did Susan but again my experiences are completely different to what I watched in this movie. I think it would have been more telling if we had seen Charles’ reaction to the death of his son. It would have been a great opportunity to see how disengaged he was.

          I am not a fan of old movies and I watched this intently because the sound was very low. I watched the link that Joey posted and I watched the movie that ran 1h & 57 min.

          In the write-up to the movie it explains that Charles has a complex personality. When I watch something like the lead female character Amy in Gone Girl she is someone I’d consider having a complex personality. Not that the movies are even near the same I’m just making a quick analysis of complex. This said I would love to see a remake of Citizen Kane depicted in today’s society.

    1. Joey,

      I watched this clip, well done by Burgos. I am going to go back and watch more of his works. Thnaks.

    2. Joey,
      If you ever have the chance to watch The Murder of Gianni Versace as told on an “American Crime Story” you will see his murderer as a modern day narcissist/sociopath/pycho in all his glory. It’s very very good.

      1. Sydney,
        Thanks, I bookmarked it for watching later.

        I posted the Songs under Case Studies:
        The Topic was How Manipulative Characters Gaslight

        1. BTOV,

          It was Owen Campbell and I only saw one person? So Owen came out very sure of himself and totally alienated the judges within two or three words. He turned me off right away too and I could have cared less about how talented he was because he was annoying.

          Different person the second time. So he learned a lesson and apologized and carried on. I hope he can stick with that too.

          The CDs in my life would NEVER have apologized nor admitted to any wrong behavior, it would have been everybody else’s fault.

          1. Sydney,

            I think Owen is amazing and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy his music, regardless……. From what I understand Owen had quite a bit of experience playing for crowds and individuals around the world. Not that he made any significant money or notoriety.

            What I would have you go back and do is study his body mechanics and his eyes. Look at what will become the micro and macro nuances that will tell you what he thinks and feels.

            Here are the other two You Tubes, for you to compare. Then watch the nuances. When you are experienced you will pick up on these. See if you can see genuine sincerity, and is not. These are some classic studies.

            Many leave obvious and not so obvious flags and others slight tells, the highly sophisticated leave few if any. However, their arrogance will let the veil up for a moment and in that very moment that tell may very well save ones life. Neither of these individuals are highly sophisticated, however, we can train and intelligent CD individual to be cautious and cover their tracks.

            Its a two way street many times, they teach us we teach them….



  8. Sydney,

    Thanks for your input on this movie, I need to watch it again. So much is going on in a short period of time. Perhaps you could see if there is a newer version, however, I don’t ever think the old can be redone in a better. I may eat my words for that one.

    Yes, everyone’s experiences are different, there are also many mitigating factors to take into account. CD/P disorders aren’t always so cut and dry. Ones psych is an amazing place where so much happens from the time of conception to death.

    I think in the last topic or two I posted some songs done by two contestants on Whose Got Talent or a show like it. Each person had a first and second try. Both had an immense shift from the first to the second chance. Would you mind going back and giving me your take on both. Thanks

    Another classic is The Picture of Dorian Grey, George Sanders. I think you will like it.
    Also, Gaslight with Charles Boyer (spelling?)

  9. I have a hard time lying as well. That is not to say that I don’t bend the truth or avoid the truth from time to time. But someone said in the comments that it took them 40 years to figure out that their ex was so good at lying. It took me about 20 years to figure out my ex was lying. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and called it “exaggerating” but really, let’s call it what it really is. It took me another 10 years to finally get rid of him. But that was after he’d already done the damage to my character with my kids. I have one adult child that is very much like him and she has disowned me. They are really close and they “collaborate” if you will, about what I am like. They both say that all the bad things that happen in their lives are because of what others do. Ugh! So frustrating to see this.

    1. I didn’t know what a narcissist was and had I known I could have identified the behavior and my guess is you could have seen the signs too if you had been aware of what to look for. I didn’t find out what my ex was until many years after the fact when I happened to read an article about narcissism, then it finally made sense.

      1. Kat, I was the same and I had my light bulb moment three years ago when my ex-bro let his mask slip, I was so devastated by his rage that I hit the computer and eventually found this sight. I had the same reaction to two SILs in my “family” and not because of rage but because of how covertly manipulative they were. One of the two SILs was married to the ex-bro. What a mess that situation was.

        The thing is they present differently from each other so it’s kind of a different song and dance routine depending on who you’re around. My H and I have gone no contact with all three and our life is serene. This said we do have a NDIL who is a master and we have gone LC with her. Narcs are unfortunately as common as dirt. As equally troubling are the enablers.

  10. And when I realized something today, and though whether it’s CPTSD, or whatever (US docs don’t diagnose it), I think though not like my mother is, a 12 Step approach is what changed my father, good thing, but still a narc, I realized it’s an “I don’t understand what you mean.” And “you’re talking to fast (manic)”

    They both do it. That I turned out at all, i think it was people I was pawned off on, that saved me.

    1. Just talked to a young woman last weekend who was pawned off on her Narc grandma, by her Narc mother. She really has some control issues as well as other issues but so far I don’t think she herself is a Narc. She said all her boyfriends have been Narcs. She has a long road ahead to healing, I don’t believe she is one, at least I didn’t hear any mind games or word salads, but its too soon to know if she is honest.

    1. JC, sounds like it worked out for you, that’s great. It must also have been a relief to get away from them.

      1. It continues to, I began going to church locally, and can see God at work in my life.

        Eudoxia, I thought about spending the money on the treatment, EMDR based, and though I think there is wisdom in doing it, I may hold off.

        The free treatment is cutting them out of your life-walk away. A narc, run if you need to.

        Give it time and space without their influence in your life.

        I think that you find the healthy people and surround yourself with them, learn about their concept of love-and with that, about trust.

        By people who practice what they preach. I learned out how to live my life from a young age there. And thanks to the influence of people who did what they could-to ensure that nurture does have it’s effect.

        And thank God that they did, or I would have never stood a chance either.

        1. JC

          Removing narcs from our lives is paramount. It’s a huge waste of time to attempt to get them to see reason or anything else that resembles truth. This equated to trying to fish water from a dry well. Totally futile.

          The process I am doing isn’t a treatment it’s an authentic self recovery process where it compliments the previous self work I did prior to my involvement with narcs. Narcs allowed me to see all my blind spots where they can get a foothold so to speak. It’s a multi layered approach. You peel back one layer of false beliefs you get to the next our psyches are like a Sarah Lee cake layer upon layer upon layer………….

          Just like the docs article says it’s the lies we tell ourselves that lead us to danger. These are simply the false programs we’ve installed due to childhood conditioning that caused us to form false beliefs we have about ourselves that we are deeply unconscious of. It’s these false beliefs narcs latch into and how they hook us in.

          I’ve come to the part of my journey now where I can see, very clearly, how each episode of narc abuse was a direct match to a false belief I had about myself I was completely unaware of – I’ve stamped most of them out now. I got to quite a few in round one of self work but hadn’t peeled back all the layers at that stage. I’m peeling them back now it’s been nothing short of extraordinary.

          We are all on our unique sole journey’s JC what is right for one may not be right for another. It’s a matter of personal choice. You do what is right and what works for you and always trust your own inner guidance.

          The first lot of self work I did prevented me from being seriously manipulated and abused. I still was being emotionally abused but I was well aware of who and what I am and who and what I am not for them to continue to pull it off so the gaslighting failed. Don’t get me wrong I was still a severe mess after it but I new myself enough to walk early in the piece which prevented extended and prolonged damage. Sadly this isn’t the case for children who were raised by narcs.

          1. Eudoxia, at first I thought my primary struggle was anxiety, then I recognized anxiety as fear, then I realized that it was all due to negative thinking, as in the habit of negative thinking. I got into this pattern in childhood and it stemmed from rejection, abuse and neglect by one and at times both parents. So, if one is rejected by the parents, then it is easy to reject yourself. Just how is the healing of this sort of thing done? Just realizing it doesn’t seem to be enough. I am wondering, how would your program address that? I only ask because I think I have not had much success in feeling I am a person who is likeable/lovable and who is accepted by others. Some of this family stuff in ongoing with some of my family members so its not like its all in the past.

  11. Eudoxia,

    It’s most of my family of origin. And none are getting any younger.

    And they do whatever they can to create financial dependency.

    Sometimes, though, the amends can only be financial. But I prefer my self respect.

    1. JC

      There is a point of no return people reach. They cross the Rubicon and there is no going back at that point it’s what happens to older narcs. I no longer give any energy to those who have crossed the Rubicon. Just wave them goodbye.

      I found this snippet of interest last night. It’s a movie I was watching and it shows right in the beginning (the first half hour or so) how narcs control people financially even after death. I felt in the mood for a taught psychological thriller and sure found one. I wasn’t looking for narc movie but LOL they are just everywhere………………..


      Self respect is paramount – if we don’t have that how can we expect others to respect us money be damned. It’s cause more misery in the world than cancer.


    2. JC

      There is a point of no return people reach. They cross the Rubicon and there is no going back at that point it’s what happens to older narcs. I no longer give any energy to those who have crossed the Rubicon. Just wave them goodbye.

      I found this snippet of interest last night. It’s a movie I was watching and it shows right in the beginning (the first half hour or so) how narcs control people financially even after death. I felt in the mood for a taught psychological thriller last night and sure found one. I wasn’t looking for a narc movie but LOL they are just everywhere………………..


      Self respect is paramount – if we don’t have that how can we expect others to respect us money be damned. It’s caused more misery in the world than cancer and war.

      1. You’re right, though, my issue is they both play me against one another, it seems. They’re both elderly.

        1. JC, Kat,

          The most healthy thing I did was break the connection to all individuals in life, regardless, if they are family. Unless, something changes I refuse to get drawn into anything. Believe me, I know when things have changed in another person.

          I could care less if I am left anything, things just become a burden and money can/inheritance can keep you as a puppet on a string.

          The other day I thought of something in my childhood that was adverse to put it mildly. I thought that happened over 50 years ago and threw into the trash.

          I know very well who I am, I also know how others have tried to define me in life and that will never be again. The power is within ourselves to dump these old tapes into the garbage, they are lies and I know it.

          Whenever, a negative thought or memory comes I just remind myself this is not true. I also surround myself with positive people. In the end it doesn’t matter how many people say otherwise, or all the programs in the world will not work unless I am open to dismissing the lies.

          When I took charge of my life the changes I was looking for took place. We can dwell on all these and accept the inner feelings/body memory attached or to take charge and say NO to these negative thoughts. Give no energy to negative thoughts, do not doubt yourself, you know the truth, live your truth and you will be healed.

          I like that word, the Rubicon. Send those negative thoughts over to the other side of the Rubicon along with all the individuals who are over there.

          I agree, self respect is Paramount, respect your truth, you know you are valuable, if some else doesn’t think so, send them across to the Rubicon. I won’t hesitate to do it, life is to short and its your life not anyone else.

          1. Very well said. Goodbye to the negative. Be Gone. Don’t need you or it.
            My life with the X has now passed. Passed. That means it’s gone. He is now out of my life (well not entirely, we have adult children together) and I can and do move on. He hurt me and now I’m healing.

            Since the finalization of divorce proceeding my motto for this year is RESTORE. Try my best to restore what was broken, be it my checkbook, my emotional health, my spirit, my happiness, my family, my physical health, now is the time to RESTORE.
            What happened happened, it hurt me, but it’s done, and now it’s time to fix what broke.
            Got to turn those negative thought into positive. Quit the stinkin’ thinkin’. I’m looking forward to a new day, a new future, a new present. For what really matter now is my present and future.

  12. We can’t control what goes on in someone else’s mind, why don’t they “like” us, why did they do this or this, why why why. Heck, we can barely control our own thoughts and figure ourselves out. If someone is no good for us, walk away, if possible, or at least create a distance.
    Life would be much simpler if we could just be rid of negative, toxic people from our lives, not wasting energy and time on them and the situations they create.
    I’m 58 and restarting my life. And it’s not sad. It’s challenging, but at least it’s MY life, not OUR life where I lose the power and control. It’s going to be a good year.

  13. Kat

    It’s false stories we create about ourselves nobody put these in there – we did. It’s due to us misinterpreting events in our lives due to our brains not being fully online between ages 0 – 7.

    The program I am doing works for CEN (Childhood Emotional Neglect) – not all parents were bad and many of them were doing the best they could and love their children. But if we are born to parents who through generational imprinting had emotionally unavailable parents we end up with emotionally unavailable parents and we feel rejected. It leaves us with a false belief about ourselves that we are unworthy and/or unloveable and any number of other things. None of it is true.

    During round one of my initial self work I found a wound where my father took the side of one of my teachers leaving me right in between a rock and a hard place – this was at age 9 and I thought that was the wound I had cleared. Even then I knew there was some residual there I could never quite crack. That’s because the original wound went in much earlier than that at age 4.

    It was actually a primary CEN would when I was in hospital having two lots of surgery, my father never came to visit me at all and I felt totally rejected. It was also the first time I was away from home without my parents and I was actually terrified. The nurses weren’t very nice either so the entire experience was very traumatic.

    When we are small children we are totally dependent on others for our very survival. Our survival can be threatened very easily when we are incorrectly interpreting events in our life. The fact of the matter is I was safe in hospital – my parents did not abandon me or throw me out like rubbish to be cut up by monsters. I felt like I was being punished therefore I was bad, unworthy, unlovable, unwanted etc – not the situation I was in was bad I WAS BAD. This is a childhood wound.

    What were the narcs doing in my life later? I felt those exact same emotions as a result of their behaviors shown toward me. During devaluation I was feeling bad, unworthy, unwanted, unlovable. When the discard occured (in one instance) I felt as if I had been thrown away like rubbish as well as all the rest. Exact match to the time I was 4.

    But we are not cognitively aware of it at the time and may never become aware of it. We don’t come to this understanding cognitively either, we come to it emotionally and I am eternally grateful I have tracked this down and put it to rest once and for all. This is quite a process it isn’t simply a case of “oh ok I own this now and I dismiss it” It has a life of its own, it has its own neural pathway that lights up and re runs and goes into high gear with narcs and it’s what they are feeding off. Our energy, our pain, our trauma. They magically know we have this wound and it’s why they hook onto us in the first place. Initially they are demonstrating they are everything we could possibly want etc that’s how they reel us in we all know the drill here. Then the feeding frenzy starts.

    I’ll be damned if I am going to be narc bait any further and it’s already having a profound effect. What I’d suggest kat I’d is to take a look at CEN yourself. Dr Jonice Webb has written a book on this and it’s called Running on Empty and go from there she also has a web site. If you want to check out the program I am doing I’ve left plenty of links previously plus Mel runs Three Keys Workshops at least once a month which cost nothing and it’s an introduction to the process workshop style – it’s 3 hours. That will give you a feel for it. Only you know what sits right with you and allow nobody to tell you otherwise. Trust your own intuition.

  14. Thanks for the feedback BTOV, Lucy, Eudoxia. I know its up to me to value myself, I just don’t know why I am so stuck. I’m not going to be NARC bait either, no way, that was enough for a lifetime or two. You would think I intentionally hang onto this stuff instead of trying to recover. My family was male-dominated, the boys were everything. And they grew up to believe they were the important ones, and they call all the shots in the family. Its all about them, always has been and was for both parents. That makes me resentful and I know that’s a negative thing. I need to come to terms with it. One of my sisters makes me doubt myself, she thinks I should be all good with the “boys”, she is their favorite. But they never treated her like they have me, she was the favorite of my Mom’s, besides of course the boys. I sound pathetic and I don’t mean to. Self-pity rears its ugly head. I do need to stop doubting myself, that’s what the EX used as his weapon against me. I do need to start trusting my gut.

    1. kat

      Firstly you are not pathetic, please stop judging yourself. You are expressing your hurt at what occured in your family and that is perfectly ok. We need to do this in order to heal from it. We first have to acknowledge it. You should be patting yourself on the back for acknowledging your pain rather than judging yourself – this is part of our conditioning. It’s false. We lie to ourselves when we pretend we don’t have pain associated with these memories because we surely do.

      Narcs make you doubt yourself – on face value yes they do but the stark reality is we can’t doubt ourselves if we really know who we are, the problem is we rarely do due to our false beliefs etc. The doubting part comes from a false belief we have already created about ourselves – the narcs just trigger it, it’s already in there again this is due to conditioning. What we have to do is UNDO this conditioning and this is exactly what the QFH process does and what I am doing now.

      kat – when you were writing that out did you experience in your body a sensation, a tightening of the solar plexus or gut sensation or any other area where a feeling of anxiety was felt? Because if you did, this is the wound lighting/charging up. It’s talking to you but it can only communicate in somatic language and its saying “hello I’m here look at me please fix me”

      Take it to a Three Keys Workshop and uplevel it – see if the process works for you. You have nothing to lose except the wound itself. Your own experience will tell you if it works for you or not because your own experience of it will be the only measure you need.

      Our egoic minds attempt to sabbotage us by lying to us telling us all types of stories (thoughts) that will tempt us to not attend to our wounded souls. It will give us every reason why it won’t work. Why because our ego loves being in charge and fears ego death. Our ego is our own worst enemy when unchecked and it will create all manner of chaos. When we listen to our egos we become victims of circumstance when we listen to our soul we become conscious co-creators of life. Our ego is nothing but a petty tyrant.

      OFF TOPIC – I have to visit a lady today, she is yet another trauma case of narc abuse. I’m taking her over In Sheep’s Clothing and Psychopath Free. When she’s done with that I’ll be giving her Character Disturbance. I’ll also be giving her an intro into the QFH process. I unfortunately know her ex and he’s in jail. He’s a lesser victim narc – violent and abusive. She’s amazing a teacher and highly empathic and seriously damaged. The toxic tango has had it’s last dance.

      1. Eudoxia, thanks, I thought I was putting too much attention on my stuff. I never received attention as a child and so a child thinks, I don’t receive it because I’m not good enough to, and then it can fester into “theres something wrong with me”. Never being acknowledged growing up makes me extremely uncomfortable with attention. When I was writing that it felt cleansing on one hand, but then on the other hand I felt like I shouldn’t feel that way, I should have resolved it and moved on. It feels like a failure. My favored sister doesn’t get it, she was never treated as an outcast and looked down on. Shes married so that makes her of more value in my brothers eyes, shes connected to a man, plus shes very passive just like my mother and caters to them. I am more independent and definitely not catering to them. I hope the best for your friend, I’m sure she will see the light when she has the educational materials to help her see what is going on.

    2. Lay
      Sounds to me like you’re the emotionally healthy one of the family. You understand the dynamics and have reason to be resentful. That’s the tough part, forging thru the anger and resentment. Feel it, waddle in it and in its time it will dissipate. If mine did anyone’s will. On scale of one to ten my anger was a ten.

      1. Thanks Lucy, well my anger and resentment has been on a level ten and it is coming down from that, so I guess there has been some progress, maybe I am just too close to see it. One of my brothers said something very derogatory about me at my Mom’s bed in the hospital as she was passing away and I know he is a very critical person, but to criticize me when I did nothing wrong, I shocked to hear it. Apparently my crime was talking to one of my sisters as we were standing by her bedside. She asked me a question unrelated to my Mom, and I answered it, apparently that was enough for them to spread it around to the whole family how disrespectful we were. But, if anyone else had talked, it would have been ok, and others did, but I was singled out by them. I have never understood it, their attitude towards me. I am tired of trying to figure it out, they don’t want to make amends with me, they could care less. I just want to move on, that’s all I can do.

  15. Hi All

    This is a very relevant talk by a Sydney based psychologist – it is very profound and hits home to everybody wanting to truly heal and can look at themselves in retrospect. The empath’s role is highlighted in this toxic tango as opposed to the narc. Very interesting……………..


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