Those of us with- narcissistic parents- do you attract narcissist friends?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Signorina, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    This is kinda backing up to Midwest Mom's post a few weeks ago. And others have also posted about having demanding/narcissistic parents.

    My boyfriend FOREVER(since 16!) is a narcissist. I realized that I am avoiding answering playing her VM because I just don't want another conversation centering on her and the 100x magnified wrongs in her life while she fails to even recognize the HUGE emotional things going on in my life. (Now, it's easy when it's a bff - because we have lots of other positive aspects in our relationship - plus we don't live near each other. ANd she would bail me out of jail. Enough said)

    Yet - I've attracted (or chosen?) quite a few other narcissists in my personal life. Sometimes, I think I RAISED difficult child to be a narcissist. Not that I am sure he is - but he certainly is a prima donna (primo donno?) But he is also a 20 yo MAN - which may be part and parcel. I actually said to my brother a few weeks ago - "I was raised by a Prima Donna and NOW I HAVE RAISED ONE."

    Anyway, I think it's because I learned from my earliest experiences that things went A LOT better when I accommodated my narcissist parent. I am not meek or mild by any means - but I think I am way too accommodating to people when they display narcissism. I want to to be "their golden child" maybe? I don't know why this is striking me today - probably because my boyfriend was leaving me a voice mail as I was listening to my mom tell me all about her luxury cruise to Europe. I have a TON of things going on in my life - yet the few people closest to me have no idea. They may ask "how are you? What's new?" but never pause long enough to let me really answer.

    That said - I feel bad because I think I sometimes end up taking it out on H because he is around and he is not a narcissist. I am so hyper sensitive to him showing me a glimpse of entitlement or selfishness or a "me first attitude" that I pounce when he does.

    I don't know why I am posting this - just needed to get it off my chest, I guess.
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Vent away. Many of us here have to deal with narcissism on a large scale. My mother is one in her own right and everything in the world has always been about HER. She thought I should put her and her needs above those of my difficult child children. Yea, like that's gonna happen. When I do tell her what's really going on in my life, she calls me a liar. When I don't talk to her for my own sanity, I'm the one being a b****. She feels slighted (and even accuses me of "hiding" stuff from her) when I don't tell her things. When difficult child 1 had that reaction to the Prozac and ended up in the psychiatric hospital, she had just had back surgery and was absolutely appalled that I "abandoned her in her hour of need". I have learned to just not talk to her any more than I have to. She can call me selfish but hey, me and my kids come first.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well, my Mom is not "officially" a narcissist, but she does tend to behave like one often enough, or did when she was younger, especially during my childhood years.

    Actually, I've found that I have a lack of tolerance for the behavior........and that lack of tolerance has intensified as I've aged. Which is causing conflict with Katie. Because she tends to have some narcissistic behavior of her own due to being a very spoiled only child, and it truly peeves me off instantly. I have not seen where it is deliberate behavior, so I do try to have patience with it, though it's hard. She just can't seem to grasp that while she was the total focus for her bio mother (and still is), with me she is just the eldest of 4 children and I can't give her my undivided attention even if I wanted to do so.

    Bff was a narcissists, probably the only one I ever friended that lasted any length of time, mostly because she had plenty of other outstanding qualities, until the drugs/alcohol took their toll. It did tend to drive me nuts, and there were times when I deliberately avoided her simply because I didn't want to listen to her garbage. And I never really played into the behavior either. I have to chuckle because she was sooooooooo narcissistic that she'd admit it whole heartedly 5 mins after meeting you. Now that's bad. lol
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I hear you!
    I believe that my mom was on that spectrum, and that she also suffered from depression, and self-medicated with-alcohol.
    My former bff is definitely "all about me."
    Several other close people are, as well.
    I have learned that there is a spectrum, and that if they're way over the edge, I just walk away.
    If they're functioning (and the top three who come to mind are workaholics) and they're interesting and fun, then I can handle it. I just have to totally lower my expectations when it comes to warm fuzzies.

    Vent away!
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I think this is one of those areas in life where being an Aspie has helped me.

    My father is a narcissist (and a sociopath, but that's not the topic here). When I was growing up, my mother and brother constantly sought his approval, did his bidding, and let him ride roughshod over them to keep the peace and stop his relentless bullying of them. I didn't. I didn't much care for his approval one way or another. Strangely, I was sort of his favourite (if someone who loves only himself can have a non-self favourite), and was subject to far less bullying than the others.

    There are a few narcissists in my life nowadays, but they seem to understand that I don't need or want their approval. And they have experienced me getting up and walking out in mid-sentence when they cross my boundaries, so they don't tend to push me too far. Strangely, the few of them seem to be trying in their various ways to get MY approval, which I find funny since I'm in no way responsible for them or their decisions. I guess they have to be under or over, but can't just be happy at equilibrium. Since I refuse to be under, they seem to want to occupy that space, which also tries my patience.

    Maybe this is why I'm a hermit...

  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I completely understand what you are talking about. And, I agree that it is something that impacts one's adult relationships. I can offer my take on it and if it makes sense to you, great, if not, just disregard......

    It was explained to me like this: If your experience is the shape of a pie and let's say 1/4 of that pie is "contaminated" (that was the word used) by an unhealthy parent, if you do not heal/acknowledge/recognize/understand (insert whatever word works) that relationship you will re create that 1/4 of the pie in your future relationships in the same way. It's pre-verbal learned behavior which is generally out of our awareness, but can actually run the show.

    My early experience shaped my personality to be that accommodating person you speak of, with people who are narcissistic or just plain ole selfish and self serving (or mentally ill) and once that personality is forged, we're spring loaded to react in the same ways. It takes conscious awareness and the desire to change that makes a difference.

    I had to back out of my connection with my boyfriend from the 7th grade (entitled, selfish) because our entire relationship was based on that unhealthy balance. For her to be able to really "see" me and the needs I have would have entailed a personality transplant and it was just not impossible. Finally, it became obvious to both of us and I had to make a choice and I did. It's a tough scenario because once I became aware of that, I did not want to be 'invisible' any longer and that awareness necessitated changes which I wasn't all that willing to make, it was painful and involved losses. It was across the board too, with all of those I had forged this "harmonious neurosis" with, and I had to let go of all of them. The imbalance became obvious and it hurt.

    I also raised a narcissist. We don't know any better when we're younger and we train those around us to treat us in a certain way. And, when we pop out of that reality as adults we can see that it no longer works for us. In fact, it's now become hurtful to us. Sigh. The good news is that you've become aware of it.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    You ROCK, Trinity!

    Recovering, I have to keep re-reading your note ... :) It is helpful.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My father is a classic narcissistic, not a malignant one, but a narcissistic anyway. Any conversation in which he is not the center of the conversation bores him so much that his eyes glaze over. He has always been only about himself. I find just the opposite of you, however, Sig. I can't stand being around people like him and run for the hills if anyone displays any narcissism. If anyone I meet dominates the conversation with "I, I, I, me, myself, I did this, I did this" without listening to anything anybody else says, I'm so gone...

    My father actually did not get what he wanted from the people in his life. My mother fought him and finally left him (no stroking of his ego at all and he never forgot it. She's dead a long time now, but he's still furious at her). None of his kids tried hard to please him or had particular respect for him...I think we all figured out that he was not very interested in us...that if we didn't do something that he could brag about, he had no interest in us at all. None of us were close to him and he's 88...we stay in touch...but he is always complaining that we don't do him proud. None of us pay too much attention to what he says. None of us really ever did. I was far more traumatized by my mother because she was calculated and mean, which I found far worse.
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    While neither of my parents would qualify for NPD, and neither have ever have any personality disorder diagnosis I know of, I so get what you are talking about. I do believe my dad has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and my mom probably had at least traits of both Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and histrionic personality disorder and they were both selfish. In the other hand they were also charismatic, intense and talented people. My mom passed away several years ago, she got better when she was older and in the end we had quite positive relationship and I do miss her terribly. My dad is alive but he has hurt me too many times for me to give him much a role in my life.

    I'm, more or less, drawn to people like them still. If I would let my ovaries decide, I think I would likely have quite a many relationships with men with personality disorder or otherwise challenging behaviours and personality patterns behind me at this point. Luckily I didn't listen to my ovaries too much and made sure to marry a guy with very different, laid back and nice, personality. I also try to socialize with nice people otherwise. To certain point I succeed, but as I said, I am drawn to difficult people and few of my very best, closest friends belong to that category. I try to keep my boundaries clear, but at times I may take more than I should from them. But as with your BFF, there are so much positive aspects in those relationships I'm not ready to call them quits.
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Well, I would ask this question differently - "are you attracted to narcissistic people"?

    Not so much anymore. But I'm older now...
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I had a best friend about 11 years ago who I thought was my absolute soul mate as far as friends go. She ended up being some form of personality disorder though I am not entirely sure which one. She played me for a complete fool because I was so desperate for a friend. She told me everything I wanted to hear for a couple of years and made me feel important but I realized over the years that she never called me or got in touch with me unless she needed something from me. This was either me fixing something from her with money in the beginning and then when I had no more of that, it was for me to listen constantly. I never was able to tell her my problems without her breaking into the conversations to tell her even if I was really sick. She had sworn over and over again that when I got sick that she would be her to help take care of me and she had an excuse. This was when I had my hysterectomy. She had promised she would be here to help out so Tony didnt have to take off work. She simply didnt show up even though I had done that for her time and time again. In the end I just let the friendship die when I figured out that it was all about her and never about me, even for one single minute.
  12. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    My dad was a narcissist. The only person who ever mattered to him was my mom because she totally sublimated herself to him, most likely because of her own issues. It must have been tough to know that her mother never wanted her and got pregnant only because the doctors told it was the best way to get rid of fibroids (this was in the 1920's) and that her baby would be born dead. The doctors were half right - my mom had a stillborn twin. Anyway, she was perfect prey for a charming narcissist like my dad. My sister and I were afterthoughts, accessories acquired because in the 50's, everybody had kids and very few people were childless by choice (other than all of my dad's 4 siblings!). My aunt, his older sister, who is 91, has enlightened me recently on how much my dad was favored by their mom. In the Depression, the other children went hungry while Grandma lavished all on my dad. Grandma chose me in the next generation but my basic personality is not narcissistic.

    I swore that I would never marry a man like my dad so I chose a husband who is a different religion, ethnic background, has different hobbies, etc. The only thing they have in common is their political affiliation because I could never marry a man from the other party. I chose wrong - my H is not a full blown narcissist but he has many of the traits.

    The one trait that my dad had that my H lacks is faithfulness to the wife.

    I realized in marriage counseling after my H's cheating bout that all of my boyfriends were NPD to some degree. If I ever get around to dumping H, I'll never marry again because I seem to be drawn to NPD types. I'd rather be alone than go through it again.

    The one good thing is that i don't seem to have raised any narcissists. Oldest boy was on his way there but it was because of mother in law. She did it to H - treated him like the living incarnation of G-d and ignored her D, who is now a useless, worthless, substance addled 60 year old who is financially dependent on her mommy. She tried to do it to my son, but I actually managed to convince H that we couldn't let it happen. H told mother in law to take her money and shove it when she said she wanted to leave it to oldest boy and ignore the other 4 kids. I will give H props for being a good parent, which is why I'm still with him.

    Other than men, I do seem to have steered clear of narcissists in my life.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911

    WELLLLLLLLLLLL enough about ME ..........what do YOU think about me? Narcissist....? I ....well ME for instance,,,,,myself.....can ONLY speak about me.

    I believe that we find attractions in our adult life to either things that are familiar to us, or things that are POLAR opposits to us. It just depends on our brains, our logic, our surroundings, our thought processes at the time, our choices, our consequences, our abilities, and.....our mapping inside our minds.

    It may not be so much that you are attracted to them or them to you - but what if it just seems 'normal' in your life to have that type of thinking in your life - and without it - as RA stated - a piece of your pie is missing??

    Personally? I can attest to the pie theory through therapy - I changed a lot of things from my past that I did take into my adulthood and was raising my children in like-so fashion. It wasn't "heritage" it was going to be hermit-ing. When I realized I did NOT like where I was, WHO I'd become, the people that I'd chosen to have around me? I did something about it - and it's never EVER too late.

    Matter of fact - all the people that I had in my life when Dude was a baby are almost nearly dead from some type of abuse. Even their children are now third generation drug addicts - MY son - while not the cream of the crop decision wise -is not a drug addict.

    So your choices to make CHANGES in your life at ANY TIME - ARE worthy of review - whenever you are not satisfied with the current results.

    DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEM......don't just wonder for another 10 years if this is as GOOD AS IT GETS.