Posted by: Judy | April 13, 2015

Emerging From Broken post…

Darlene shared this link on FB:

I never thought to separate narcissism from narcissistic behavior. In some ways, it makes sense to me. In others, I’m not sure.

I do know NM chooses lies over the truth and has done so for so long that lies are treated as the truth.

Talking it over with my sister, we wondered how much is habit? Choosing to not change, over and over again.

Grace for my Heart posted an article on how not to raise a narcissist.

The comments on his blog were insightful. I added my own.

Feedback is welcome. I’m curious about other perspectives.



  1. Your question about how much of it is habit is a valid question. I can remember that during the time that I was actively working with my father to mend our relationship or to reach some common ground so that I could move towards a more healing place as it related to him, from the very beginning of the process I made it clear that it was imperative that he not engage in vulgarity when speaking with me. He had always used vulgarity as a way to disarm or make people feel very uncomfortable, and even though we talked about how I wasn’t okay with him continuing down that path, I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times we kept having to address this single subject. Over and over again, he would go back to what he had always done, and invariably, it would end our conversation.

    Eventually we got to a place where we both recognized that he was most likely to do this when we were discussing things that were particularly difficult or shameful, and his defense mechanism would kick in. He knew that blurting out something vulgar would shut me down. We had to really work at getting through this repeating cycle of unacceptable behavior, since it stood in the way of us making any progress. At some point, I finally realized that he wasn’t doing it in an aggressive or intentional manner (although everything we say IS a choice), but that he was simply reacting to feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable. It was hard, but we found a way through.

    I can imagine it might be similar for your NM, in that she is likely to revert to what controls the situation, especially when she feels vulnerable or like she’s on shaky ground. Rather than admit her own behavior, it is more comfortable for her to divert the conversation back to familiar territory. Interesting observation. Hope it helps you find solutions that work for you.

    • Sadly, with NM, there isn’t really a reverting because that would suggest an attempt on her part to change. She continues to violate boundaries and uses the same manipulations she’s always used. The difference is that I don’t respond as programmed. NM endeavors to push me to explode and doesn’t know what to do when I simply withdraw. The only thing that has changed is that I don’t feel guilty about avoiding her.

  2. I read the article on how not to raise a narcissists…. my impression is two fold…one it teaches the basics of healthy parenting but leaves out essential parts….second it brings to light that kids raised in healthy environments tend not to become narcissistic. The things I would add to the parenting list are the marshmallow test, learning how to wait for rewards. Teaching respect for self and others. Teach by example integrity, honor, and sacrifice. These subjects are not popular today but very needed.

    • Amen.

  3. I can see how narcissistic behaviors become habits and an automatic ‘ego’ response. Perhaps the behavior eventually becomes a habitual reaction to non-threatening stimuli. When this happens, reality keeps getting in the way, especially when others change their responses.

    • Interesting point. I know NM doesn’t know what to do when reality is pointed out or I don’t respond as expected. It’s suddenly like nothing happened. Unnerving to watch, actually.

  4. I’ve often thought people have slapped the “narcissist” label on people who were merely exhibiting narcissistic behaviors. It sort of aggravates me because I feel like it minimizes the behavior (and effects of) of a true narcissist. Behaviors can be changed if the person is not a narcissist, and it feels like the selfie culture is encouraging narcissistic behavior. But it’s not the same as being a victim to an NM.

    • I’ve noticed that as well, labeling a person narcissist simply because they have some behaviors. It’s like it’s the new flavor of the month. And you’re right, it minimizes, so the problem continues without abatement, normalizing something that isn’t normal. Maddening.

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