A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

A Study in Narcissism

UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.

***

This is an important training exercise. It is a study in narcissism. Please watch the following link and then comment to inform us which one of the characters (hint: it is one of the middle two) is the narcissist. [Ignore any ads or other trailers  that YouTube throws in – who knows where they might take you] —

44 Comments

  1. Ellie

    NPDs love chaos and go a little nuts if others are getting positive attention.

  2. How did you get a video of our rehersal?

    • haha Jeff S that is really funny 🙂

  3. That is great! LOL

  4. Mary Lloyd

    The one that administers to the narcissist the smack in the face is the exhausted spouse, lol, that is my next plan of action, hehehehe.
    Hugs from Mary

    • Jeff Crippen

      Mary- Yeah, that’s what I thought about too!

  5. 2nd from the left. It is all about control with him.

  6. 2nd from the left. Hated someone getting attention. He was supposed to have the melody line and the one next to him stole his thunder in his mind.

    • Heather 2

      Yes, my thought exactly. At first he was going along with the flow, nice guy and all. The other guy was just a clown, but the narcissist considered him as stealing his thunder. Then the smack, out of the blue!
      That’s what happens….

  7. KingsDaughter

    Lets see… everyone else is (content) doing their own part. The second from the left is not only not content he is concerned/annoyed by someone not doing what he expects and seems to feel justified in administering justice (punch in the face) to the one who steps out of line.
    I’d have to say its the second from the left. Its HIS show and everyone better play along, or else.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Good diagnosis, KD! It’s really funny in this little cartoon, but in real life, well……

    • Jeff Crippen

      There are MANY people like this and most churches have one or a few in them running the show. Isn’t it interesting how we, in the name of supposed “biblical” peace, unity, love, patience, etc cower and yield to these types in those settings. It isn’t so easy to stand against one if you are married to them and have to suffer their wrath, but what I mean is it is amazing how in a setting like a local church, one person can so dominate everyone else. You can feel the tension the moment they enter a room. Years ago we phased out “special music” for the most part in our worship services. We aren’t at all opposed to someone singing a solo, vocal or instrumental, but back in those years the worship service became a stage for these egocentrics to perform on. Life was pretty miserable for some while when we made this change and some real tantrums were thrown.

      Someone once said that when Satan fell from heaven, he landed in the choir loft. In many cases there is some real truth in that.

      • KingsDaughter

        I’ve recently been mulling over the “special music” value in our own church. For the most part it really seems exactly like you described. I know it is supposed to move the congregation to worship and allow the singer to use their talent for God, but it just doesn’t seem to accomplish this in most settings. I have been in churches where, when used appropriately, thoughtfully and prayerfully the special music delivered a real message and inspired worship towards God. However, my experience as of late does nothing of this sort. Actually, sadly in our church and others I’ve visited, most of the worship leaves me rather sickened. For example, it seems to be used as a filler. It fills the time of offering so everyone can get their tithe together, it fills the transition time for children to be dismissed, it is an indicator that service is about to begin. Ick! Ick! Ick! (There really are two separate issues here. one about the reverence of the structure of worship time and the other about the sincerity of the ones leading or monopolizing that time)
        I recently pondered how in one church the worship could seem so vain and empty but the message delivered could speak so well (after visiting a few different churches with the same experience). My thought is that it has to do with The Bible. The pastor must spend time in The Word preparing the sermon (and we know what The Bible does to us), but the worship leaders and choir have no such responsibility and I suspect they might be spending more time developing their talent than growing in The Lord. How can we magnify The Lord when we spend so much time focused on ourselves? It is a very challenging battle for someone in such a position to maintain a pure heart and to minister with great humility. A challenge that perhaps is too often overlooked? Another thought, we must be very careful to examine the character of anyone we put in front of the congregation to make sure they are qualified to represent it. Having the ability to sing like an angel, does not an angel make! Just my thoughts…

      • Interestingly enough, my concern with worship leaders has been that they’ve been so focused on being ministers that they don’t do a great job with the musical concerns. It’s a tough line to walk because you have to focus on being good musically as well as focused spiritually. But really, this is no different from the preacher, who has to work on delivery as well as spiritual matters.

        The line between music as intrinsic value in worship vs background noise while transitions take place is a tough one. But FWIW, I’m a fan of a Pre-worship “let me know we are about to begin” song that gets people focused. For some it lets them know we are getting started, while others really do focus on the song and being to prepare for worship. It’s also a good way to introduce worship music that people don’t know yet (one of the largest issues with modern worship is doing too many songs the congregation isn’t comfortable with) so when we do it the following week they will be ready to participate.

      • Memphis Rayne

        I can remember my wedding, not that anything about it was an outstanding event, but my Mom, took all the money my Dad had given us to get things together for it…of course she wanted to help throw it together, but I soon found out that I had NO say…she pout if I did not choose the right cake, she pouted if I thought people may want wine at the reception, on my wedding day she made such a continued fuss (because it was REALLY all about her) she was annoyed, and irritated with me because I was trying to take my time, I ended up locking myeslf in the bathroom to get away from her drama, she could barely be quite during the service (which only lasted like 10 minutes) then afterwards, I was in like two wedding photos, and she just wanted pictures of her and the visiting family members…haha….at holidays if she is NOT the center of attention things go from bad to worse in a hurry….since I can remember if we were together, and I ran into a friend or something, if I stopped to pay any attention to them, she would fall into a mope and walk away….all eyes must be on her at all times…alot of her controlling, manipulative behaviour reminds me of the MIW..even when I had my kids, she refuse to lift a finger if I need help(like the MIW) she would pout or mope if I asked her to sit, for example if I wanted to just go be by myself, shopping even for baby clothes always turned to what she needed or wanted, I actually remember high school clothes shopping she would mope and pout about because us kids were in need of neccessitys and she couldnt stand it not being about her (gee I almost feel guilty, because its my Mom, BUT we are talking about a behaviour, and she is the clearest example I have of what I think a narrcisist is?).. I remember when puberty hit, she offer no clear direction of what the heck was going on? She refuse to buy me the “things” I needed because she said “”she did not have them when she was younger” thank God I had friends that helped me KNOW I was NOT dying and that there were “things” for this issue…..years ago I took the woman to Disneyland with my then two very small children, she sat in a corner and read???? She did not like that Disneyland was mostly for their enjoyement….she moped, and pouted, and it was like I was there with an extra child all on my own. Growin up I never correlated this to much, but it just got so bad once I got older…..I use to think she just had bad manners, or was being rude? Or had low blood sugar? Her excuses for my Dad mistreating us growing up, were always the same A) He is JUST tired B) He is just hungry C) He is JUST over worked……When we would complain that he did not love us as he should, she would point out “”Your Father puts a roof over your head” as if that was all the proof we needed to feel his love. By the time I was 14, my brother had tried to kill himself twice, my Mom abandon us (mid life crisis, she need to live her life) and we were stuck with this JUST tired Dad. Before my Mom left, I remember telling her when she was trying to make excuses for him, she would say “He is just this or that””and I would say “Really? I think he is just an asshole?” (sorry, can I say that?)…..they divorced I think I was 16 or so? Still in high school, but I was stuck with him….and a brother that spent his life on the sofa…NOW they are “back together” about four years ago they came to visit my kids and I, and we spotted them holding hands (I threw up in my mouth a little)….I could handle as an adult seeing them seperately, but NO shocker there, 15 some years later, there they are, in the EXACT same relationship from HELL and of course, my Dad is the same animal….just older, and more aware that if he touched me or my kids, I could most likely break him in half……no doubt he has the same financial control over her, and everything else, and any relationship I had with him as an adult is NOW gone, because my Mom did not like that we even talked with each other, so she needed to be the center is the only one who communicates with us, this way she can put her spin to them, and her spin to us and remain in the center. Is she ABUSIVE? Or is she a victom that has never made it out of the fog? She has read the Lundy books, she claim to understand, but then she I believe is TOO narcissistic to claim any responsiblitly. If she said something rude to somebody and they called her out on it, she would coil into…””why is everybody picking on me” mode, she would pout, and fall into a stooper until somebody let her off the hook, she is allowed to say anything she wants, and if it hurts you, then you become the problem? What is this exactly?

        She is alot like Marie off of Everybody Loves Raymond, minus the helping with the kids, and the cooking, and cleaning, and nurturing part. We are Italian? I see alot of my family in that show, minus the good humor (except me, of course) = )….

        Honestly its a small miracle that we survived our chilhood? I use to not think she was so bad? But then again, I think I was like her in my thinking, always making excuses for somebody elses bad behaviours, rationalizing, mimimizing the damage.
        I did all those things when it came to her, because she was my Mom and at least was a better parent than my Dad who I never talked to or touched growing up because I was terrified of him.
        Sorry that was long.

      • Mary Lloyd

        Wow! I never even thought to apply this little scene to the church.
        Applying this to my situation, the guy with the party squeaker is the narcissist: he is not attempting to be in any sense part of the group (the family): not harmonising, not empathising, not caring what everyone else was supposed to be doing…just going ahead and doing what HE wants and stuff the rest. Here was this little one on the side with an appropriate, albeit leading and genuinely tuneful harmony to sing, trying to do it, battling against the narcissist’s atonal , arrhythmic, kaleidoscopic look-at-me blast on the party squeaker that was so obviously contrary to the given group rules of mutual respect, being so oblivious to the “significant other’s” irritation: here he was going right ahead regardless, to the point of foolish individualism, and to the detriment of the song production of the group. No doubt he was charming in his way, and the “children” either side seemed oblivious to the selfish song he alone was trying to perform and to get away with. God love them, may they always remain as innocent! But to the one I call the spouse, probably the longsuffering wife, there is a point when you have to stand up and smack them one, right between the eyeballs. That Goliath that is so selfish and so huge and so ungodly that it cannot see that the family is a beautiful gift from God, but thinks it is a construction of puppetry for its amusement alone.
        Thank God I am going for therapy, haha.
        If I was going to see this in a church situation, it would be the ego-centric pastor who could not let go his grip of control on the meeting enough to let the Holy Spirit lead, so that all would be blessed. It would be the man who so loved the sound of his own voice that he could not bear to even consider that there were other voices equally as important as his, in the church meeting. He would say when how and why we do things his way and would be rigid in his rules, never allowing the voice of another to open up and sing worship to the Lord, for fear that his own song would be eclipsed by another’s spirituality, and by their tender and accurate grasp of the holy wishes of a loving and merciful God.
        I wouldn’t last long in a place like that. I suppose I wouldn’t smack the guys lights out but I would really really REALLY want to.
        Thanks for making me think!
        Love, Mary

      • KingsDaughter

        Memphis,
        I hear you on the Mom issue! I love my mom and our relationship has certainly changed over the years, thanks to some very strong boundaries. However, I can remember holidays growing up when us children would misbehave she would complain, “You are not going to ruin MY holiday!” We heard this at almost every holiday, vacation or family function. They were Her’s! Actually at my wedding when we cut the cake, instead of smashing it in eachothers faces we smashed it in hers (because it was her wedding afterall!).. My sister who was much more in tune to what was going on around us picked up on the fact that all of Mom’s loving actions were never about us, if she was offering love it was about making her feel good or look good. To this day my sister has a very hard time receiving kindness or affection.
        Another thing I related to your story was the divorce. In my pre-teen years, after 18 years of marriage my mom suddenly had to find herself, started partying, divorced my dad and pretty much abandoned us kids. I lived with her for a little while but after finding drugs and parties going on until all hours of the night I chose to move (uninvited) with my dad and wicked step-monster. Although she was pure evil to me, at least I could get a peaceful nights sleep and had food!
        Another thing you wrote about your mom not providing the “things” you needed because she never had them growing up, SO reminds me of my husb. only he will go as far back as to his grandparents, if they lived without it, what kind of spoiled brat was I to ask for it! I assume his parents drilled this into his brain?
        There really is so much to process in order to heal and as women we are generally external processors. Don’t apologize- if its too long for someone they can stop reading whenever they like 😉

      • Anonymous

        You know Ps. Crippen, I actually heard a teaching once, that Satan was involved in the music in Heaven and he became very prideful and hence his descent! I have often wondered if that was really true, but have not studied it on my own. I will say this. People who are gifted in music, or who “think” they are gifted in music, tend to be very prideful, jealous and pushy and can run over you in a milli-second. It is one thing that people who are gifted, really need to watch out for in their own lives. It is really easy to fall prey to arrogance or taking over and that is why music can be so dangerous. I remember being asked to sing once in a four part ensemble. One woman became so angry, that she was going to speak up and tell the director what she thought of me being asked to do it, over her. I just lost my interest after that. I also used to be a worship leader for years, and I loved praying about the music and putting it all together. I don’t do that anymore. Maybe it was wrong all along for me to do that, as a woman, I don’t know. I see the pride in so much of that industry today and even in the local Church, and I just have sort of lost my desire for it. I want to know that when I sing, it is truly for God and nothing else. No other reason, but to bring Him glory and minister to the hearers. Who wants to be like Mr. Second from the left in the trailer or even sing with somebody like that?!?

    • So I’ll just say from the experience of leading a bunch of volunteers in making music, it’s a TOUGH job if people aren’t willing to listen to what the leader says and decide to do their own thing.

      From the cartoon it depends on what the expectation of roles are. Obviously punching is going too far, but it might represent a lack of restraint more than Narccissim (since it think part of the humor is he’s only doing what everyone else kind of wishes they could do- only in an over the top way).

      If there is a leader, it’s important that he lead in a way that is life giving, not power draining (punching is not life giving!), but it’s equally important that everyone follow his or her direction so they can work together as a team. I once had a woman leave the church where I was a worship leader because I asked her not to song during a part of a song. She stormed out of practice so I told her that she needed to take some time away from music ministry. She left the church. I was sorry for this, but I think her reaction was over the top, especially since I had worked hard to give her some feature spots to sing in some songs.

      As a leader, I try to let everyone give their input and leverage their ideas as much as possible, but I do expect at the end of the day for them to trust my judgement and go along with my decisions. And if I am not leading, I try to extend this same attitude toward whoever IS leading.

      • Memphis Rayne

        KD, thank you. Something just sparked my memory when you mention the things we could do with out. For the MIW, we were as he put it from the “Land of Plenty” and the two major things that made him certain of that were….when the kids and I needed milk, and when the kids and I needed toilet tissue. Of course we were considered selfish heathens for needing these two things……yet he used them??????

        I had gotten lectures about the ole hankys in the old days and how they were to wipe with whatever they had…..so I invited him to use his own hand, or if that was too messy his own TSHIRT….. seriously, it was just something else to contribute in his mind to us SPENDING all HIS money!!! I mean I for one am all about waving your own freak flag, but this bo-yo wanted us to wipe with WHAAAAAAT?

        My daughter laughs at me because of the supply of “things” I give her…and when it was her time I was sooo involved, she had to politely say “I got this Mom”. haha and for my kids its always my joy to see them have the things they need, and when we can afford, the things they want….they deserve everything. To this day my Mom is the same, as she was 30-40 years ago, its too bad but thanks to her I have a stronger relationship to my children, and Lord willing I will be here to be a gramma…

        I am alway afraid to talk about her, because I hate that I may sound too critical, or a whiner, but now that I am grown, with my own kids, I am just shocked at some of the things as children we had to tolerate, I guess in a way, rationalization works as a defense mechanism to protect yourself from things that may other wise have broke your spirit…..I think as kids thats what we did.

        Lots of Love to you KD!!! oxoxo

  8. Mama Martin

    Very interesting that even here in the comments we cannot decide which character! We are seeing one situation – and in real life you need to see the pattern over time. We also have no words so we cannot check who is doing what they say and who is not (an abuser’s words do not match with their actions). Only when you discover the mindset of being central, being deserving, being in control, being superior, and thus being ‘special’ can you determine who is the abuser and who is the victim. It is not easy and it requires wisdom, and usually time to discover the truth.

    • Jeff Crippen

      MM – Yes, I suspected that is how the comments would go. There are a couple of angles to look at in those two characters alright.

    • KingsDaughter

      “and in real life you need to see the pattern over time”

      That’s wisdom, MM!
      We need to look at a pattern over time. Abusers love to take one isolated incident where the victim reacted to their constant degrading in an inapropriate manner and tell THAT story over and over to whomever will listen. OR, as in my case they also add to it the terrible behaviors of a depressed and trampled on wife as further evidence of their “right” to be abusive. (“My abused wife is SO unloving! She never does her hair or special things for me! She refuses to do hoesework just to make me miserable and blames it on her “depression”. I’M the one who should be depressed having to live with her! She’s so controlling! Can’t you see how distant and cold she is towards me? Oh and let me tell you how lazy she is! She sleeps in every day, on purpose because she knows how it bothers me especially when i have something important to do, but she jumps out of bed when SHE has something to do! I can never talk to her because she is so oversensitive and emotionally unstable, just talk to her and see how she tears up! Don’t you see her crying every Sunday at church! She does that just to get back at me and make me look bad! I don’t know how I’m ever going to live with her! One time she even cursed at me and threw her wedding ring in my face! How out of control and abusive! Could you imagine living with her? Maybe you could talk to her and help us? I know I have let her constant nagging drive me over the edge, but wouldn’t you?”)

      • Mama Martin

        Thank you, King’s Daughter. I’m sure you learned the same way I did – long, hard experience from years of hard work and not knowing and trying to be better. Proverbs 19:2a Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, (NASB)

      • King'sDaughter

        “My abused wife is SO unloving! …”
        When I wrote this last night, it was the first time I had really thought of the specific ways my abuser had played other people against me. I knew he was doing it and thought the other people were terribly foolish and nearsighted to believe him, but after writing this little sarcastic quote from his perspective I must admit I am a little frightened. I am frightened at how believeable an abusers story can seem and how easy it is for them to “justify” their anger and “outbursts”. I want to cry because I believed that somewhere maybe in the very back of their consciences, people did believe me but maybe were just ill-equipped to step in. I did it again, made my own little fantasy world where everyone is good and just at heart but have difficulty in following through (this is the same messed up thinking that let me stay with an abuser for so many years- “He really is a good person, but he has issues”).
        I really want to CRY because I see the likelyhood of these waters ever becoming “untainted” as nearly impossible. I believed if people could just see what is really going on, they would step in and help, help me and help him with accountability. They don’t see, they don’t believe and trying to convince them and answer their judgements is only tearing me up. Again I feel very alone. The “hope” well is running dry. Maybe its time to grieve those losses and move to the next step?
        I know I’m preaching to the choir, but this REALLY really stinks.

      • KD, I understand where you are coming from. It’s hard to understand that some people just function differently and aren’t interested in working toward what is good for you. I struggle with this and tend to think “if only they could see”, but sadly it isn’t lack of information. People are operating under a different set of motives and goals. It makes me shudder.

        (I still believe in my heart that my church, who hurt me badly, did so from a lack of understanding, not a lack of caring. I believe this partly because of my tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt, but also because there were some errors they could have made but did not. I don’t think Jeff C is so lenient on them, though).

      • Mama Martin

        The amazing thing is, King’s Daughter, that as you make choices that allow you to be free of the abuse, as you live your life with the integrity that you have always had, and as your words line up with your actions, people who are wise and discerning will see. It may take time because motives and thought patterns come out not in individual actions but in patterns – and especially if someone is working against you, it may take extra time. It is amazing how often, when the truth is spoken and acted upon, the abuser starts to give himself away because he acts out as he tries harder and harder to regain control. (It may not happen, but often it does.) You need to act in truth working towards freedom and let bystanders be bystanders. Some will also come to know the truth.

    • Memphis- I know what you mean about thinking my childhood was “normal” until I had children. Then I was the same- wondering why/how they could have treated us like that. More like severe neglect than anything else- I remember never asking my parents for anything-because the answer would always be no. When I started my “lady times” (as my girls call it) I never even mentioned it to my mother, because I knew she would be no help at all. I had to prove to her that I needed a bra- and she made the whole thing humiliating. None of us girls were allowed to wear makeup or panythose- so we just eventually stopped asking and started wearing it anyway.
      One time I passed out in the bathroom and hit my head on the hard edge of the sink-once I came to- all my folks did- was give me an aspirin and go back to watching tv.

  9. MyDelightIsInHer

    I have enjoyed reading these comments! I took my clues from the performance before the smack. Yes, the third from the left has one eye and a party squeaker. But it is the second from the right that gives the dirty looks and grimaces during the performance. He is annoyed during the entire performance. The two on the outside do not react to the one with the squeaker, making me believe that his part was intentional and for enjoyment. To me, the second from the right looks to have issues of control. When his dirty looks and grimaces did not stop the squeaker, he used his fists to gain control and knock him down. Narcissistic people love to be the center of attention, but the prevailing motivation that shapes their behavior is the need to control others. For me, I saw that from the second from the left.

  10. Ken

    Well, there is certainly nothing right about punching someone who annoys you–ever, but my narcissist vote goes to the little, myopic (can only see one dimensional), horn tooting guy who ended up commanding ALL of my attention for the whole song, and diverting my attention from the very talented singing of the other three. Narcissists are offended at the talent, community, relationships, even simply pleasure, of others, if those qualities do not someone clearly reflect back value and honor to the narcissist. Also, again, not to make excuses for the guy doing the punching at the end… narcissists tend to evoke very strong reactions in people who they have disrespected, devalued, or simply ignored. Those responses are often intense, hard to understand, and even criticized as inappropriate by the rest of the group…which (sadly) often strengthens the narcissist’s case that he/she is generally mistreated/misunderstood, and should rightly receive more attention and love. Okay, a cartoon when and made me get all psychological….I admit it!

  11. Ellie

    So I think it’s the horn tooter. He’s not participating in the performance. He is diverting attention from the talent. He is creating chaos. I can see the argument for the soloist having NPD for the reasons others have mentioned. Can we get Dr. Simon to chime in? Perhaps it’s really covert aggressive or something we’ve overlooked…

  12. Mary Lloyd

    Really enjoying all the comments!
    I love this little cartoon, it makes me laugh. It allows me the fantasy of punching someone as a solution to their constant horn-tooting (5 feet 4, never punched anyone in my life and never will).
    There is a difference between a soloist and a horn-tooter for sure. A soloist has an individual, undeniable talent of genuine value, which is worth something to the community, to give pleasure, to assist worship, to sound beautiful and to transport others to a positive psychological place.
    A horn-tooter is self-consumed, “blowing his own trumpet”, doesn’t give a hoot for anyone else but himself….but cracks right on with it anyway ad nauseum. The horn-tooter to me has to be the narcissist because he needs to make a big noise to convince others he has some magnificent talent, when in fact there is none. He is in love not with his real self, who is tuneless arrhythmic and spoiled, but with the IMAGE of himself that he has created, the reflection in the pool, like the original narcissist. YES I have been studying! The gap between appearance and reality is a painful hole to fall down.
    If I was asked five years ago who was who in the line up here, I would have had a different take on it. I would have said about the horn-tooter, aww love him, let him blow his little horn, just because it doesn’t sound too good doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some value, shouldn’t we be celebrating our differences and loving each other just as we are?
    And this is how come I have lasted 25 years in the relationship which actually has been a big lie. While I was letting the horn-tooter blow his own trumpet all the time, I trusted that it was his trumpet and his right to blow it. I didn’t know it was a total falseness, this image of the upright, caring, generous partner who never did anything wrong in my eyes. I believed his lies. Facts of serial homosexual infidelities delivered me of the misconception somewhat suddenly and it all came crashing down, when he had trodden on the rosy spectacles once too often.
    But here, I am getting better. I can laugh. I have grieved bitterly for far too long. I am angry! I am angry like the little soloist, but I learn that anger is a necessary part of grief, and that grief is a necessary part of healing. It isn’t me who is the one-eyed horn tooter! So I am going to be OK. The narcissist, unfortunately, is stuck with it.

  13. Anonymous

    We know that the narcissist is one of the two middle characters depending on one’s angle, and the other middle character is the victim…

    So, who are the two characters on the ends? The two characters that while they are all performing together (all attend the same church) don’t acknowledge the two in the middle (ignore the very obvious fact that abuse exists in the church), are physically standing a step away from the two middle characters (distance themselves from domestic abuse situations) and have no reaction to the end punch (and refuse to help abuse victims)…

    • Anne

      My thoughts exactly… I know those characters on the ends very well.

  14. King'sDaughter

    Great Lesson, Pastor Jeff!
    Here’s my great big fat takeaway;
    Just as all of our personal experiences have led us to “judge” who the NPD is (and we all seem pretty passionate about our choices), others’ personal experiences lead them to judge our abusive situations. Our abusive controllers are astute at manipulation and they know how to portray us and them in such a light that we will have little support in holding them accountable. That just reinforces in me the “audience of one” theme. If we are looking to our spouse, pastor, friends or any person other than God for approval and value, we put ourselves in great danger of being manipulated, getting hurt and hurting others.
    IMHO…

    Oh and again, Mama Martin had some great wisdom on this, we must look for a pattern of behavior, otherwise we are as myopic as our little cyclops (NPD or not).

  15. Good point about the two on the outside: standing away from the two in the middle. They’re not only away, but standing slightly in front of the other two, so they are not seeing the shennanigans that are going on between the ones at the back. And therefore they are not going to be discerning any pattern or any tiny red flags that would reveal any underlying dynamics of power and control … so after the punch is thrown, they won’t be able to work out who is the real rat bag.

    I can interpret either of the middle characters as a narcissist, but for me the horn tooter is more likely to be the NPD. He has his hands in his pockets the entire time, which suggests he never pulls his weight — he’s lazy.

    If the horn tooter were a child or a person who has an intellectual disability, I’d not think of him as a narcissist. But if he’s a competent adult crassly hogging the attention to himself, I think he’s a narcissist.

  16. And Memphis and KD and Jody, I hear you about your mothers and your ex-es and I think its fine for you to share you stories like that, when they have been sparked by something else that has been said in a thread (so long as there is not tooo much divergence from the thread’s main topic, which in this case there wasn’t – all you stories were about the narcissists you’ve had in your lives).
    That’s one of the things I love about this blog: how our readers pour out their stories and in the pouring there comes realization and insight and processing and recognition and re-thinking and grieving and contemplating and moving forward, each at her or his own pace, with no-one should-ing on anyone else. 🙂 XXXOOO

  17. Ellie

    For me the giveaway is the last toot. The tooter is tooting to entertain himself. He has no regard for anyone around him or even the pain others dish out to try to make him quit. “TOOT! hahahaha” I can hear it now, all these rude mean vicious remarks that make my NPD stbx laugh, just him, no one else. But just him is enough. So for me, it’s the tooter.

  18. Mary Lloyd

    “No-one ‘should-ing’ on anyone else”: I love that Barbara. I had a load of that from the church I was in, and I still get it from the NPD significant other. In his case he is ready to give me the benefit of his vast knowledge on any subject, which would be OK, except his so called knowledge is a fiction, not borne out of experience. This I have discovered somewhat painfully and over a long time.
    Sometimes it is comical! Recently I was sowing some green beans and thinking aloud, said “I can’t remember which way you have to put the seed in”. His response was, “oh I usually put two to a pot and sow them on edge”. There was a short silence, and then I said “when?” and laughed out loud. In 30 years of knowing him, and 25 of them married and single-handedly running our garden, I have never seen him get within a mile of sowing any green beans. But his remark made him sound like the world famous green bean expert of the horticultural society.
    Now I have seen the BS for what it is, to some extent I can laugh at it. It helps me, but it is very serious really, and no laughing matter. When I called him on this fiction he was creating, he called me a name and walked off in a huff with a big black cloud hovering over his head. Interesting! there’s that gap between appearance and reality again, but this time I didn’t fall down it.
    But regarding the church situation, can you have corporate NPD? There seem to be some similarities. The church (some but not all) does the smiley handshake thing at the door and says endearing things to you until you fall in love. And then when you are hooked on them like a drug, they start to abuse you, very subtly at first, but then, when you really really need them, they do that should-ing thing and make you feel like the bad guy, for “being inferior” by suffering and having needs in the first place.
    By and by you begin to believe you ARE inferior as a Christian, for struggling and going through trouble, because everyone else on the outside is doing the smiley thing, saying all the right sounding spiritual words, making out all is hunkydory, seeming like their Christian walk is wonderful. And if you are vulnerable, when they start that “you should-ing”, you take it on board because surely they wouldn’t make out they knew what to do if they didn’t? Hmmm.
    My rescue from church abuse was in reading Jesus’ words for myself. He tells me that if I truly want to follow Him I will receive some of the bad stuff He did, but that there is a point to the trouble we pass through. This makes total sense to me. I can cope with that. If God has His hand on me, then I know He will bring good out of it somehow.
    But that isn’t the message the church often gives. I had not bargained for the possibility that brothers and sisters in Christ might want to kick me when I am down. That is abuse indeed. It’s a wierd one, eh.

    • As Memphis says, it’s the SHPS (shiny happy people syndrome) in so many churches . . .

  19. Annie

    I figured out my husband was a narcissist before I figured out he was an abuser.

    The other day one of the kids was injured after playing a sport outside. Said kid told me later dad came to talk to him. I said “Did he ask about your injury” Kid: “Yeah.” Then I said “I bet he spent the rest of the time talking about himself and times he got hurt.” My kid nodded his head and kind of laughed. Sad to say the kids and I have come to a point where we laugh (to ourselves) while giving knowing looks to each other when my husband gives us lectures (that are all about him but we’re supposed to gain some great wisdom from).

    It really is amazing how SKILLED he is at turning any and I mean ANY situation into something about himself. If he doesn’t have a situation from his life that matches up that he can drone on about he will grace us with his expert knowledge on whatever the topic is (or use the experience of someone else from his life or even tv). For example, he’s not a farmer, never been on a farm, in fact ,he hates vegetables but the fact he once had a client that made a part that went into a piece of farm equipment has qualified him to speak about farming and farm equipment at length. This would be annoying in itself but combined with the attitude that he can dish out abuse when ever he sees fit it’s an awful combination. So this means he can abuse me and then spend hours telling me why I deserve it and he’s really the victim.!!!

    I have a narcissistic brother who is very, very narcissistic but would never hurt anyone. He actually believes everyone is dying to hear all about himself!

    • Annie your comment illustrates that there is a difference between what I call a ‘benign narcissist’ (one who doesn’t hurt others, but is just wrapped up in himself) and a malignant narcissist (one who wickedly abuses others)

      • Annie

        And I can’t believe it took me soooo long to understand the difference!

        I always knew my brother was self-centered and loved to talk about himself (he’s pretty entertaining) but it’s gets tiresome after awhile. He’s been that way since he was a little kid. The family just rolls their eyes. And when he calls to talk we put the phone on speaker and continue doing whatever as he goes on and on. 😉

        I can’t believe when I first starting trying to research and learn what was going on in my life and with my husband I didn’t think he was a malignant narcissist! It wasn’t until I started reading posts here and thinking about comments that I reconsidered and realized he was one!

  20. Round*Two

    Annie,
    your husband sounds like my stbx! He always bragged he was ‘in much better shape then most men his age!’ And, how he has SO many talents…he could do ANYTHING better than most men…blah blah blah, yeah? Then how come………???? (Don’t want to give myself away!) 😀
    Barbara, I’m pretty sure I was married to a malignant narcissist!

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