The Making of a Psychopathic Narcissist

evil_queenA post on Lucky Otter’s Haven, entitled Where does this silly idea that covert narcissism is the most malignant come from?, is spot on, in my opinion, about the differences between covert and overt narcissism. However, I believe there are some exceptions to Lucky’s observations. My mother is a case in point.

It seems to me that my mother’s narcissism is a mixture of overt and covert. When she has plenty of narcissistic supply, she is much more overt. But without supply she becomes covert, very down on herself and deeply depressed.

My mother was the “bad girl” scapegoat in her family of origin, while her only sibling, a gorgeous, smart, “good girl” younger sister, was the golden child. Even when I was very young, although I did not understand it in psychological terms, it was obvious when we visited my grandparents that my mother was an insecure wreck around them. While they openly doted on their vivacious and glamorous younger daughter, my grandparents’ attitude towards my mother was that nothing she did was ever good enough.

But when we were away from my maternal grandparents, which was most of the time, my mother was self-confident to the point of being overbearing. An overt narcissist.

I believe my mother’s overt narcissism was her way of compensating for a deeply rooted feeling of inferiority. I suppose this may be true of all Narcissists. However, the underlying inferiority complex seems much more apparent in my mother than in the “typical” narcissist.

After my mentally ill father tried to kill my mother (because he believed she’d had an affair with his best friend, which I suspect was true), my mother’s self-esteem hit rock bottom. Alienated from their church friends (my dad was a minister, and so was the married man my mother allegedly had an affair with), my mother was left with no one but me to lean on.

During the summer between my sixth and seventh grades in school, our only car was repossessed and our home went into foreclosure. This happened because my dad had been arrested, then put in a psychiatric ward, after almost murdering my mom. (He had come so close to killing her that I had believed, for several terrifying moments, that my mother was dead.)

While my father was in the hospital he was fired from his job, because his boss said my dad had stolen some very expensive equipment. With no income whatsoever, the six of us quickly ran out of money and food. I was twelve when this happened and my much younger siblings ranged from ages one to five. (My dad believed the baby wasn’t his. Again, I believe my dad was probably right.)

With no high school diploma, no viable work experience, no car, and four preschoolers, my deeply depressed and traumatized mother didn’t even attempt to look for a job. I was very naive at the time, with little understanding about how the world worked, so I had no idea that there were charities and government agencies available to help families in our situation. After we ate the last scrap of food, knowing there was no money left, I believed we were all going to die of starvation, just like those heartbreaking ads I had seen of skeletal children with bloated bellies and big sad eyes.

I remember wondering how long it was going to take for my family and me to die.

After about a week with no food, my mother swallowed her pride and called her parents for help. Until she called them, I was so shell-shocked by the nightmare our lives had become, that calling anyone for help hadn’t even occurred to me.

My maternal grandparents immediately came to our rescue. Grammy flew to Missouri from the west coast island where my grandfather was working in a federal prison. She bought my mother a car, signed us up for welfare and food commodities, and within two weeks she had closed on a house in a nearby city that my grandparents would eventually retire to. She helped us pack and paid for a big truck and crew to move us out of the foreclosed house into the new house. My grandparents let us live there, rent free, for the next two years.

Wonderful grandparents, right? BUT… in the process of saving us financially, my grandmother further damaged my mother emotionally by making her eat a ton of crow. My grandparents had never liked my dad. Now that he had failed my mom in the worst way, leaving her stranded with five young children, my grandmother did not spare the “I told you so!” attitude.

I felt no love, no compassion, and no empathy from my grandmother while she was “saving” us. Her attitude was that we were a huge burden she deeply resented, while also patting herself on the back for being so “wonderful” to her undeserving daughter and grandchildren.

This, of course, further wounded my mother’s already decimated self-esteem.

MY MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER flew back to the west coast and, for the next several months, my mother did very little besides sleep and cry. During this time, I was the one who fixed the meals, cleaned the house, and looked after my four little siblings.

My dad was released from the psychiatric hospital shortly after our move to the city. He came by to visit and told my mother that he had rented an apartment across town.

One night my mother told me that she was going to ask my dad to come back to her. “No man will ever want me, at my age, with five kids and all these stretch marks,” she said. “And I can’t live on welfare and stay in my parents’ house forever!” Then she bathed (for the first time in weeks), fixed her hair and makeup, put on a pair of sexy high heels and her prettiest dress, and drove over to my dad’s apartment…. where she found him with the head nurse of the psychiatric ward. (My dad later married the R.N, right after my parents’ divorce was final. How unethical was that, on the nurse’s part?!)

THIS WAS WHEN my mother’s narcissism flipped into full-blown psychopathy. This was when my mother tried to gas us all to death while my brothers and sisters and I were sleeping in our beds.

It was the ultimate suicide attempt. The ultimate gaslight. And the ultimate “F You” of a painfully insecure, psychopathic narcissist against the people who were supposed to love her, and never did.

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27 thoughts on “The Making of a Psychopathic Narcissist

  1. animalangels March 19, 2016 / 6:33 pm

    thank you for sharing your story. I wish you healing & blessings.💓
    stay strong!💪

    Liked by 2 people

  2. survivednarc March 19, 2016 / 6:53 pm

    What a heartbreaking story. I am amazed that you have made it through all of that and are still alive and living and blogging… I also believe that narcissists can be a mix of different traits/subtypes.. and that certain life events can make them “flip” into more “psychopathic” individuals..
    Thank you for sharing and I hope that writing it all out does you some good.
    Take care and be well! Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 19, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      Thank you. You know something… the more I share my story, the more amazed I am that I am still here, too! I am sure it is because I had some good people along the way who helped me.

      Liked by 3 people

          • survivednarc March 20, 2016 / 5:11 am

            I am like that too! 🙂 I am sure there is some reason… I had pretty hard pressure on me to be “perfect” in school, and so on… I suspect that is why I can rarely believe “compliments”…cause I am not “perfect”.. Perhaps something from your past too, influences you… could be. I say we try and leave that behind as much as we can. We deserve compliments! Hugs. 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 20, 2016 / 8:35 am

            Oh yes, you are exactly right, it’s a holdover from the past in my case, too. I’m with you on leaving that behind. You are a great encourager… OK, spell check says encourager isn’t a word. Whatever, you are one, nonetheless. So thanks, and ((HUG)) back. 😀

            Liked by 2 people

          • survivednarc March 20, 2016 / 8:46 am

            🙂 Haha, I had to laugh when I saw “encourager isn’t a word”. I love when people create new words, like that. 🙂 Hugs.

            Liked by 2 people

  3. luckyotter March 19, 2016 / 7:22 pm

    Hi Linda, you make an excellent point here (thanks for the shoutout, btw!) and I agree with you, that like your N mother, some narcissists do switch back and forth between the covert and overt type of narcissism depending on how much supply they are getting. In fact this is something I have always believed. I think this distinction is important enough that I will reblog this post. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. luckyotter March 19, 2016 / 7:25 pm

    Reblogged this on Lucky Otter's Haven and commented:
    Linda Lee makes a very important distinction here, one I’ve always believed. I agree with her that, like her mother, many narcissists switch back and forth between the covert and overt subtypes. When supply is abundant, they tend to become more aggressive and grandiose (this is why my ex was harder for me to deal with when things were going well for him) but when supply is low, they switch to the more covert form. Whether or not someone is “covert” or “overt” might have more to do with their life circumstances than a real difference in the type of NPD they have. NPD is NPD and it’s all pretty much the same at it’s core.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 19, 2016 / 8:08 pm

      Brilliantly explained, dear Lucky. You have an awesome way with words. It took me nearly all day to write my post, but you knock ’em out like it’s nothing. I admire that. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. katiesdream2004 March 20, 2016 / 12:00 am

    Wow, what an incredible lot you survived.What strength!

    I was struck with the manipulation of the grandparents having seen similar things about “help”. I’d just listened to a youtube last night about narcissists and money. Those strings attached, those good deeds done without love are a trap and confusing. It seems loving to help someone survive, but when the price is apologizing for your existence to someone that is gloating about your failure it becomes something other than loving generosity.

    The sister thing too… all relationships are disordered in narc families I think…

    My mother had a gorgeous petite sister, blond blue eyed, vivacious, social, admired by all the other relatives. She, herself was large boned, and the exact physical opposite of the adored petted sister. And while they were closest in age my mother absolutely hated her sisters guts. She despised her, and it was confusing to see friendliness to her face and then hear ranting rage about what a bitch the woman was when she got home.

    I heard at least weekly a rage filled rant about my mother’s sister for 5 decades while the rest of the extended family had no clue. It was stuff from 50 years before when her sisters dance card got filled and hers didn’t. My mother’s ace was to get rich and flaunt and withhold her wealth from the rest of them till they died off. She wouldn’t allow them to visit except a privileged few and when they came she adopted insufferable superior airs. I think she had them come just to make them feel bad about themselves. Narcissists have special ways of exploiting people with money.

    I’d watch them fall all over themselves thinking they could get friendly with my mom for financial gain while my mom exploited them (and gave them nothing, that wasn’t actually ever going to happen). I then watched my brother who got all the family wealth because that is how it goes in narc misogynist families, use those tactics to exploit people. ” Hey, how about you do this for me, I’ll send for you to join me on my trip to Europe.” You do the requested thing, work your heart out, then he comes back with “you loser, I’m doing squat for you”. In one situation he then elaborated for 45 minutes what a worthless piece of garbage I was for expecting something from him (after months of hard work on my part) Narcs and money, they use it as a power tool to drill holes in people.

    I once saw him offer the wedding photographer of my niece some free helicopter rides in one of his aircraft. I asked him “when are you going to take the photographer flying” he said “never, I just told him that because I want really good pictures”. Because I was nobody he could admit that to me, He wouldn’t admit it to the church leaders he had in his pocket because he exploited them too. As long as he was going to drop 20K in an offering plate here and there they were going to pat him on the back when he brought his mistress to church. (fundamentalists no less)

    Sorry I’ve digressed—its just that there are so many tactics that comes from the narc playbook that are similar… And the nurse from the psychiatric hospital—wow….

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 20, 2016 / 2:01 am

      I read your blog posts earlier, Katie. Excellent, and so very needed. I especially loved the Psalm at the end of your second post. Psalm 35, right? It’s been quite a few years since I read that one. A perfect Psalm for survivors of narcissistic abuse.

      It seems to me that the heart of the matter is spiritual. Not physical and not mental, although physical and mental problems grow out of a bad spiritual root. Ultimately, I think it’s about spiritual warfare. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Pharisees like whitewashed tombs.

      When love is missing, evil reigns. Without the Lord and His love, we are nothing but putty in the enemy’s hands.

      Yes, about the nurse, she was a trip. And she got trippier as time went on. Until she and my dad divorced and then, the last time I saw her, she was tripping off to never never land. Literally. Definitely high on something. A very sad woman, she was. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to find her since the internet age began, but couldn’t find a trace. I suspect she is no longer living. I hope she turned her life around before it was too late.

      Liked by 3 people

      • katiesdream2004 March 20, 2016 / 4:37 am

        Yes, about spiritual warfare in fact, I just wrote another blog about that about that tonight. Your note here is a confirmation that I ‘m hearing something in my spirit and it is the direction I need to take. That is right, it is the Lord that can free, and transform and make those broken places stronger. May God bless and anoint and help you as you bring the light on this subject.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Scout March 21, 2016 / 3:16 pm

    Hi Linda! I have just gotten my new blog going so hope I can catch up reading blogs soon. Hopefully I can reconnect with my favorite blog friends from the healing blog-mandy (I’ll be going by Scout).

    Liked by 2 people

      • Scout March 21, 2016 / 6:59 pm

        Aww! Thanks, Linda. This’ll be a one day at a time thing–I look forward to spending more time reading blogs. I’m so grateful for the people who stick with me in spite of my disappearing acts! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 21, 2016 / 11:14 pm

          I’ve done several online disappearing acts since I first discovered social media and the blog world. So I get it. Online bullying precipitated most of mine. Hateful a-holes are a big old hairy painful trigger for me. But I am toughening up. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Scout March 22, 2016 / 12:44 pm

            Yes, you do get it! Arghh. I didn’t want to let anyone stop me from doing what I wanted, but after a while you need to do something different. Usually the people who try to silence us are the ones with the most to hide…Every time I get back on the horse, I know I’m toughing up, too 😀

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Tamara Kulish March 31, 2016 / 10:15 am

    Wow! Thank you for sharing your story! Kudos for surviving! The healing process we need to go through after having been decimated by the narcissists in our lives is complex and takes time!

    Wishing you well on your path!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 31, 2016 / 2:00 pm

      Thank you, Tamara. I love your name, by the way. Almost named my daughter Tamara. 🙂


  8. Pamela Spiro Wagner May 31, 2016 / 11:55 pm

    Wow so much of what everyone wrote here resonates with me and is so similar to the facts of my life and my mother’s life it is extraordinarily eerie! If it were not so late I would write more about this but for now will only say that I find that the less I deal with the past and all that I went thru and the harder I try to stay present to the present moment the happier I am. This cannot erase my earlier suffering or the knowledge of it, but opening and re-opening all those wounds seems never to serve anything but to cause me more pain. I may never forget it, no, but I cannot let the past and memories or even thinking about it control me any longer. I no longer need or want to rehash it because I guess it just feels like it does me no good only makes me more angry and less — something– I dunno! Less able to truly move on and enjoy what life has to offer now.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee June 1, 2016 / 3:16 am

      Hi Pam! It’s great to see your comments here. Right now it is after 3 in the morning my time. I am usually asleep long before now. But stormy weather and a crisis with my cousin has kept us up. Anyway, I am too tired to think of a coherent reply… just thanks for being here. ((HUG))


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