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How to Know if You are Dating Someone with Borderline, Narcissistic, or Antisocial Personality Disorder

 

Does the Cluster B in your life:

 

Make you question your own sanity?

Constantly criticize, second-guess, or disparage your choices?
Create drama in your family?

Go berserk if you question them?

Ruin happy times with their selfish behavior?
Scapegoat you or another family member?


Make you feel like you are walking on eggshells?

Have unpredictable and volatile mood swings?

Try to micromanage your life?
Never seem satisfied with you?
Tell you to trust them, then disappoint, exploit, manipulate, or lie to you?
Leave you feeling worthless, incompetent and utterly hopeless?

Leave you feeling trapped, unloved, hopeless or helpless?

The cluster B personality disorders have been described as the dramatic, emotional and erratic cluster.  Whether they are being melodramatic themselves or orchestrating drama by instigating fights between family members or scapegoating a specific target they always seem to be surrounded by drama.

There is a lot of information (and misinformation) about narcissism on the web.  There are also a lot of invented "subgroups" of narcissism which do not exist in the actual diagnosis.  There is only one diagnosis:  narcissistic personality disorder.  You either are or you are not.  There is no "spectrum".  People can have traits of narcissism without being fully narcissistic.  For the purposes of this website I'm only going to post the actual diagnostic criteria for the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder.  

What is a personality disorder?

A personality disorder consists of long-standing patterns of behavior, thinking and inner experience (behavioral and mental traits) which persist across situations and time. These maladaptive traits deviate from the norms of the individual’s culture. They manifest themselves early in the person’s development, usually around early adolescence. They are inflexible and result in significant impairment in the person’s functioning. Symptoms of a personality disorder include;

  • Impairments in the person’s sense of self
  • Impairments in their perception of themselves, other people and the world in general
  • Impairments in empathy
  • Impairments in the person’s ability to establish and maintain healthy relationships
  • Impairments are persistent across time
  • Impairments are consistent across situation
  • Impairments are pathological

As we age, our behaviors and ways of thinking about things may mature and change, but our personalities do not.

 

Abusive

A lot of survivors of cluster Bs don’t think of themselves as abuse survivors. They do not feel abused. They may reason; “I wasn’t hit”, “I wasn’t molested” and think they were not abused. This is the insidiousness of being raised by someone with a cluster B disorder. Because of the incessant lying, continual manipulation and constant mind games the emotional and mental abuse inflicted by cluster Bs is profound and life altering. It changes the formation of your sense of self. It changes your perception of yourself and your view of the world. It causes you to doubt your own sanity, to lose faith in your ability to make simple decisions, to question your perception of reality. It changes how you interact with other people. Yet, because there is no physical harm it almost always flies under everyone’s radar.

This is also why it is so hard to get help from other people. When you try to seek help from professionals or talk to friends or family members about what is being done to you, what do you tell them? Your mother is lying again? Your father denies taking your video game? It seems so petty. But it’s not the lie or the theft that’s the issue. It’s the lifelong assault on your character, your sanity, your person that’s at issue. They rationalize their behavior. They blame you for their behavior. They deny their behavior and insinuate you are insane if you believe they did that. They carefully time their abuse, avoiding public settings and putting on an angelic smile when others are around. They warn you not to expose them in public, “Don’t air our dirty laundry in public!” They wear two faces. If they are disparaging you to other people, they couch it in terms of caring, “I don’t know why Eddie got caught up in drugs. He was such a smart child. I just can’t understand why he does those things.” As a result of this secrecy and duplicity a lot of survivors of cluster B parents have a hard time getting people to believe what is happening. Adults in your life may refuse to believe what is happening, “I’m sure your father meant well.” They may advise you to overlook the abuse, “but she’s your mother”. Even therapists, many being parents themselves, may identify with the cluster B and take their side, “I’m sure he didn’t mean it like that”. It’s important to realize that interactions with a cluster B can be abusive so you can make intelligent decisions about how to handle them.

Aggressive

Antisocials tend to be very charming and seductive in their manipulations, but those manipulations have a hostile undercurrent. Narcissists and borderlines can be more blatant about it. But the aggression is there. They want what they want, when they want it, the way they want it, and you are expected to provide it. They don’t ask, they demand. They make outrageous demands. They’ll take anything they want if they believe they can get away with it. They do not take no for an answer and will resort to any means to get what they want; rages, tantrums, crying, threatening, guilting, bullying, pushing, manipulating, retaliating.

All About Them, It’s

 

"Your Crohn's disease hurts me more than it hurts you."

 

Cluster Bs manifest a near-total selfishness.  Everything must be about them at all times.  Since they have no empathy or remorse, they don’t care what kind of attention they get; angry, upset, hurt, as long as you attend to them.  They really have no idea who you are, what you like, what you care about, or what you dislike.  They often assume that you share the same ideas, opinions, likes and dislikes which they have.  When they buy you a present, they pick out what they like.  They regard others as inanimate objects to be manipulated to meet their needs.  

 

Since they lack a clearly defined sense of self, they also have trouble differentiating between themselves and you.  They will often act like you are joined at the hip and seem to think you should feel what they feel, want what they want, think like they think.  When they decide to go to dinner, you’d better be ready to go too.  If they decide to clean the house, everyone should want to clean house.  If they are upset, they expect you to be.  They hate licorice?  You should too.   They cannot understand that you have needs, wants, desires, opinions, tastes, experiences, emotions, etc. separate from them.  They do not see you as a separate person.  You are an extension of them.  

 

"We created you for the same reason we got the dog and the cat - to bring us pleasure! We don't live to please the dog, the dog lives to please us."

 

If you try to talk to them about a problem you are having they will turn it back to them, and up the ante.  Your back is hurting from the accident you were in yesterday, theirs hurts worse.  You had a wreck on the way home today?  They coldly stare back at you and wait for you to finish with your boring prattle so they can get back to talking about themselves.  An antisocial will be slick enough to pooh, pooh your ailment, then get back to themselves.  A narcissist will out-suffer you.  Or they might trivialize it, “well you’re walking fine now” or dismiss you, “suck it up buttercup”.  (See Dismissive and Trivializing, Chapter 4:  Emotional Manipulations)

 

Since they lack empathy they don’t care how you feel.  All they know is that attention is being drawn away from them.  You may be stunned when you realize how unaware of others they are.  

 

I used to work with a narcissist who would routinely cut all the overhead branches to precisely 5’4”.  Since she was 5’3” that was more than enough clearance - for her.  She didn’t have enough awareness to realize that other people might be taller.  And when it was pointed out to her, she didn’t have enough empathy to go back and cut them higher.  It almost seemed to amuse her when people got hit in the face by them.

 

----------------------------------------------

 

My dad would always call me to “catch up”.  I never really knew what he wanted, other than to have me tell him only happy things.  He actually said that, “I only want to hear happy things”.  I think he was actually using me as a sleeping pill.  He would usually call me at bedtime.  He wanted to hear happy things to lull him to sleep, but wouldn’t state that need honestly.  Instead he would say he wanted to “catch up”.  I eventually realized that when I began talking about anything important to me, anything I was struggling with or worried about he would lose interest, sound bored, interrupt me, or even say, “Well that’s about enough of that” and change the subject back to himself.  I also began to realize he knew nothing about me, mostly because he didn’t want to hear about it.  Since he couldn’t be bothered to listen to me he didn’t even know what to ask about.  So he would read off a laundry list,  “How’s your car?”  (It was five years old).  “How’s your job?”  (Seven years old.)  “How’s the dog?”  (Three years old.)  “How’s your wrist?”  (I’d had carpal tunnel surgery four years earlier.)  He didn’t even know or care enough about me to know what to ask me.

 

This near-total selfishness colors their perception of everything.  

 

My narcissistic aunt recently travelled to Spain and Morocco.  Her opinion when she returned?  She sneered at Spain and found nothing good to say about, because the people there didn’t cater to her.  Morocco?  Oh it was marvelous!  They found this travel director who took them to see all the sights and brought them into his home to feed them home-cooked meals!  He catered to my aunt and her company completely and she couldn’t say enough good things about Morocco.  Unless, of course, you asked her what she actually liked about Morocco.  Morocco has this beautiful, vibrant, ancient culture.   But my aunt couldn’t tell us about the people, the architecture, the music, the food, anything.  What she would tell you about was how much attention the tour director paid to her.  That was all that mattered.

 

You will also notice their thoughtlessness when you go to visit them.  They have no thought for your comfort.  Their bedroom will have a lavish bed with all the trimmings and a jacuzzi bathtub.  Yours?  You sleep on the couch.  If they have a room for you it will be spartan and unforgiving with the cheapest mattress possible, minimal pillows and bedding.  You may sleeping in the kids’ room.  If you are, you may notice that the furnishings in the kids’ room is spartan as well  

 

They are also thoughtless with your time.  

 

I once worked with a state official who, I swear, was a narcissist.  He lived an hour and a half away.  He told us we would have a meeting on Wednesday morning starting at 9:00 am.  This is a state official, so this meeting is mandatory. If we didn’t get the information we might flunk an audit and lose our funding.  But hey, that wasn’t his problem.  At 10:00 o’clock the office manager called to see where he was.  Oh, he said, he picked us his car from the shop at 9:30 and was on his way.  We were stunned!  He knew he wasn’t even going to pick up his car until 9:30, yet he scheduled a meeting, an hour and a half away for 9:00 am and left us all sitting there without a word?  But he insisted he he would be there any minute, so we waited, and waited.  Lunch comes and go and he insists he is coming, so we wait.  He arrives at 1 pm.  We ask about lunch.  He says, “Oh, I stopped on the way to have lunch so I’m ready to go!”   Seriously????   We sat through this meeting, starving and fuming.  What a thoughtless jerk!

 

The children of cluster B parents exist to wait on them and make them look good.  “While you’re up…” is frequently heard.  Chores are never scheduled and rewards are never given for doing chores.  Chores are to be done on demand at the whim of the cluster B.  Homework?  It can wait.  You told friends you would be coming over?  Too bad.  Meeting a cluster B’s demands will always take precedent over anything you needed to do.    

 

Narcissistic father to his adult daughter who broke her leg, "Go home and get better because I can't have you be useless."

 

Cluster Bs demand the attention even when it’s someone else’s special day. A wedding?  A cluster B mother will wear a white dress that is even grander than the bride’s.  A graduation?  A cluster B dad will complain that his son, the valedictorian, made his own graduation day “all about him”.  

 

Nor will they let tragedy upstage them as the center of attention.  A funeral?  A cluster B mourner will make a great display of wailing and weeping over someone they barely knew, or completely hated.  Or they will make a great production of “helping” the grieving family.  Someone is having major surgery?  Dramatic visitations will ensue so the cluster B can show everyone just what a caring person they are.  Or even better, the cluster B will decide they have the same illness.

 

I’ll never forget when I had emergency gallbladder surgery.  My brother, a flaming narcissist, suddenly worried that he had a gallbladder problem too.  He interrogated me about the symptoms, where did it hurt, how did it feel?  I worried about him and told him to have it checked out.  A month later I realized he no longer thought he had a gallbladder problem - because I didn’t.

 

Two years later I had to have a hip replaced.  He then decided he had a hip problem. He again interrogated me about the pain, where was it, how did it feel, where was it located?  Oh, he assured me, that’s just how his hip felt!  I totally believed him and worried about him until I realized it was a year later and he had never had another issue with his hip.  

 

Not enough tragedy to garner attention?  They will be happy to manufacture some.  Whether it is failing to care for themselves to the point that an emergency ensues, or creating an emergency where there is none, their ability to make themselves the center of attention knows no bounds.  

 

My mother is diabetic.  She refuses to follow a diabetic diet and often eats things she shouldn’t.  She won’t monitor her blood sugar or take her medications as prescribed.  She then ends up really sick and having to be rushed to the hospital.  It took me awhile, but I eventually realized that she really loved going to the hospital; the attention, the ambulance ride, the concern of the medical staff, the fear of her children, hovering around her, the attention!  She had no concerns about how much fear, anxiety, or stress she caused her family as long as she was the center of attention.

 

If they don’t get enough attention at someone else’s occasion, they will host their own, having the memorial service or the wedding reception at their home so they can upstage the deceased, or the new bride, without an ounce of remorse.  If all else fails, they will invite themselves.

 

They resent anything thing that happens which takes attention away from them.  They will even resent you having terminal cancer.

 

My narcissistic mother referred to my father’s battle with pancreatic cancer as him being in the “cancer limelight”.  She just couldn’t bear it that everyone was paying attention to him. 

 

They also have no qualms about denying your very existence if it is an inconvenience to them.  You are there to serve them, to attend to them, to make them look good.  And you should not have any needs of your own.

 

“You are not allowed to sweat! It is bad for my asthma!”

 

Apologies - Aren’t

 

“I'm sorry your nose got broken. But what you don't understand is I mean to hit you. Just not that hard."

 

Cluster Bs are never wrong.  Ever.  About anything.  As a result they never apologize.  If they do, it’s a manipulation to draw you back into the relationship.  A lot of survivors say, “They said they were sorry”.  And our culture teaches us to forgive people for bad behavior and move on.  But this is a manipulation with cluster Bs.  Watch their behavior, not their words.  If someone hits you in the head, apologizes, but continues to hit you in the head, they weren’t really sorry.  This is especially important to understand about cluster Bs.  They apologize to shut you up or suck you back in.  But they keep doing what they’re doing.  You can’t forgive someone who isn’t really sorry.  You can’t forgive someone who keeps doing it to you.   

 

Appearances, It’s All About

 

From my narcissistic mother to me and my new girlfriend,  “If you two come to church, they'll get to see you finally got a girlfriend.”  Because that’s what church is for, right?

 

Boredom

 

Cluster Bs do not tolerate boredom well and constantly have to be doing something.  Because their sense of self at best seriously impaired, and often missing completely they have little or no ability to amuse themselves and do not tolerate their own company well.  They largely understand themselves as they see themselves reflected in the eyes of others.  



Boundaries, No

 

Boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.

Wikipedia

 

“What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.”




  • Because there is no “You”, there are no boundaries separating you and them because there is no “you”.  You also have no rights, which are what boundaries are.  You have no right to privacy, they will prowl through your things, invade your space, take your belongings as if they are theirs, insert themselves between other people in your life, as if they are theirs.  Your cluster B mother may flirt with her daughter’s boyfriends.  Your cluster B father may act like your athletic win was his.
  • What they want, everyone in the family should want
  • What they don’t like, no one should like
  • Won’t take “No” for an answer, Quora reader telling father not to feed her dogs people food, only dog food, he does it anyway
  • Intrusive, in your space, your feelings, your emotions, your belongings, your other relationships
  • Limits, Setting Boundaries, Drawing Lines, Saying No
    • It becomes their life mission to push past that limit or break that line
    • They will push, push, push from then on
  • Why? 
  • Enmeshed relationships, “we” have to do everything together, like my clients who were a couple and WN couldn’t go anywhere with CR.  Like Cheryl and her kids.  Like Mom.  Like Neal.
  • They don’t take No for an answer.  They push and push for what they want.  If you set a boundary, that makes them push more (like Dad when I told him he couldn’t park his car in my carport or come in my house, it just made him push it more)
  • Set a boundary, tell them no.  If you get narcissistic rage, if you are devalued, if you are manipulated -  run.
  • Make you responsible for their emotions.  Mom told me if I had told her about my hips she would have worried.  Always about her.

They violate your boundaries. You feel like an extension of them. Your property is given away without your consent, sometimes in front of you. Your food is eaten off your plate or given to others off your plate. Your property may be repossessed and no reason given other than that it was never yours. Your time is committed without consulting you, and opinions purported to be yours are expressed for you. (“He LOVES going to the fair!” “She would never want anything like that.”  “He wouldn't like kumquats.”) You are discussed in your presence as though you are not theirs.  They may keep tabs on your bodily functions and humiliate you by divulging the information they glean, especially when it can be used to demonstrate their devotion and highlight their martyrdom to your needs ("Mike had that problem with frequent urination too, only his was much worse. I was so worried about him!") You have never known what it is like to have privacy in the bathroom or in your bedroom, and they go through your things regularly.  They ask nosy questions, snoop into your email/letters/diary/conversations.  They will want to dig into your feelings, particularly painful ones and are always looking for negative information on you which can be used against you.  They do things against your expressed wishes frequently. All of this is done without seeming embarrassment or thought.

                      

Any attempt at autonomy on your part is strongly resisted. Normal rites of passage (learning to shave, wearing makeup, dating) are grudgingly allowed only if you insist, and you're punished for your insistence ("Since you're old enough to date, I think you're old enough to pay for your own clothes!") If you demand age-appropriate clothing, grooming, control over your own life, or rights, you are difficult and they ridicule your "independence."



Example:  

 

"I'll respect your boundaries when I'm dead!"




Callousness



"Everybody wanted him gone. I don’t know why everybody is acting so upset about his death...their house looks like a mausoleum"

 

If you're going to break down crying, can you go upstairs so my friends don't hear you?

 

"There's no reason you can't be job hunting while you [plan your mother's funeral]!"




-----------------------------

 

A narcissistic stepfather’s response to his 15 year old daughter cutting her wrists:  

"Next time go down the road, not across the street."
Referring to cutting sideways instead of opening the main vein
What my N stepdad said after I cut my wrists. I was 15 and I will never forget that moment. That was the moment I realized that, even though he raised me and insisted I call him my father, he didn't love me. I don't self harm anymore but they insisted it was "for attention" and "what do you have to be depressed about?" and etc.




Conscience, Lack of/A Swiss Cheese Conscience

 

    • No conscience, callous disregard for the truth
    • No regards for the rights of others.  Have no consideration for others for things that bother them.  Mom vacuuming when I was trying to sleep, who screamed bloody murder if you rattled a door knob when she was trying to sleep.  
    • Narcissists do not care what kind of reaction they get, as long as they get a reaction
    • Never read his books, though claiming he was his best friend. (Sometimes I wasn’t sure he even knew me; the usual signs of recognition weren’t there. He remembered my wife’s and children’s names and that I was a writer, but not much else.)  Kirn, Walter. Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade (p. 140). Liveright. Kindle Edition. 
    • Clark said, “Oh that.” He said “Oh that” a lot, but only during a jailhouse meeting with him after the trial did I grasp the phrase’s function. It offered him one and a half seconds to think, which is all that a brain like his requires to summon up a casual-sounding lie.  Kirn, Walter. Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade (p. 144). Liveright. Kindle Edition. 
    • Two sets of rules, one for them, one for everyone else
    • No conscience - they will stiff you on the dinner bill and feel no compunction about it whatsoever.  The next time you go out to eat with them, they will do it again.  They feel no obligation to make up for the last time, they will not apologize and they will do nothing to make it right - ever.
    • No sense of fairness.  Neal could accept Dick and Kay’s home to stay in, repeatedly, and feel no compunction to reciprocate.  They will let you pay the bill, every time and feel no compunction about it
    • Suzanne, stealing ideas. Poo pooing them, then, six months later stealing them and calling them hers
    • Casual, compulsive Lying
      • They tell lies that make no sense and seem to serve no purpose.  But Clark lied to lie, it seemed, like songbirds warble.   Kirn, Walter. Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade (p. 219). Liveright. Kindle Edition.
  • I lied, and said I’d look into the agent thing. He seemed to believe me, which I found interesting. Pathological liars, I’d heard somewhere, could not be lied to, but I’d soon learn that the opposite was true, that they were avid consumers, not just producers.  Kirn, Walter. Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade (p. 199). Liveright. Kindle Edition.
  • Confabulation
    • he lies to avoid the grandiosity gap, the gap between how he sees himself and how he really is
    • he lies to avoid taking responsibility for his callous, or bad behavior, ineffective, his defects in being able to fake the right behavior
    • he lies to avoid repressed material
  • They will cheat you and think nothing of it
    • They go out to eat and Clark stiffs him for the bill claiming to have forgotten his wallet, or just letting him pay, every time.  He assumes the next time they go out Clark will pay to even things up.  Wrong.  He never does pay.  He’d burned me before. The “stipend.” I should have known. But strangely, I thought his mistreatment of me before meant that he’d want to square things now. That’s how I would have done it. Weren’t we both gentlemen?   Kirn, Walter. Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade (p. 150). Liveright. Kindle Edition.
    • Trump forcing himself on the reporter
  • They play on your manners and your sense of fairness



Contempt

 

    • They hold you and your empathy in contempt because they can manipulate you
  • My thank-yous always come out rather labored. I often don’t give them at all. People do what they’re supposed to do and then wait for you to pile on the appreciation— they’re like frozen-yogurt employees who put out cups for tips.  Flynn, Gillian. Gone Girl: A Novel (Kindle Locations 6060-6062). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition. 
  • “I’m the king of Palm Beach,” Trump told the journalist Timothy O’Brien for his 2005 book, TrumpNation. Celebrities and rich people “all come over” to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s exclusive Palm Beach estate. “They all eat, they all love me, they all kiss my ass. And then they all leave and say, ‘Isn’t he horrible.’ But I’m the king.”
  • Condescension
    • The sneering, “where’d you get that” or “where’d you hear that” if I had an idea which contradicted his

 

Control Freaks

 

  • Manipulate to control, to get their way
  • Control freaks

 

Crazy Making, They are

 

They try to make you look crazy. If you try to confront them about something they’ve done, they’ll tell you that you have "a very vivid imagination" (this is a phrase commonly used by abusers of all sorts to invalidate your experience of their abuse) that you don't know what you're talking about, or that they have no idea what you're talking about.  They will claim not to remember even very memorable events, flatly denying the event ever happened, nor will they acknowledge any possibility that they might have forgotten. This is an extremely aggressive and exceptionally infuriating tactic called "gaslighting," common to abusers of all kinds. Your perceptions of reality are continually undermined so that you end up without any confidence in your five senses, your intuition, your memory or your powers of reasoning. This makes you a much better victim for the abuser.

 

Narcissists gaslight routinely. The narcissist will either insinuate or will tell you outright that you're unstable, otherwise you wouldn't believe such ridiculous things or be so uncooperative. You're oversensitive. You're imagining things. You're hysterical. You're completely unreasonable. You're over-reacting, like you always do.  They’ll tell you they will only talk to you when you've calmed down and aren't so irrational.  They may even characterize you as being neurotic or psychotic.

 

Once they’ve constructed these fantasies of your emotional pathologies, they’ll tell others about them, as always, presenting their smears as expressions of concern and declaring their own helpless victimhood. They didn't do anything.  They have no idea why you're so irrationally angry with them. You've hurt them terribly.  They think you may need psychotherapy.  They love you very much and would do anything to make you happy, but they just doesn't know what to do. You keep pushing them away when all they want to do is help you.

 

They simultaneously absolve themselves of any responsibility for your obvious antipathy towards them.  They imply that it's something fundamentally wrong with you that makes you angry with them and undermine your credibility with their listeners.  They play the role of the doting parent so perfectly that no one will believe you.





Defensive

 

  • Quick to being aggressively defensive if you call them on any deficiency, fault or responsibility

 

They are Defensive

 

They are insanely defensive and is extremely sensitive to any criticism. If you criticize them or defy them they will explode with fury, threaten, storm, rage, destroy and may become violent, beating, or otherwise engaging in some form or forms of abuse.   This is often where you will witness Narcissistic Rage.  



Denial

 

This is closely related to gaslighting and it may be difficult to distinguish between them.  Denial is more about what happens in their own mind.  They are in denial about the majority of their behavior and refuse to acknowledge within themselves that there is a problem.  

 

Their ability to deny their behavior is staggering.  You just can’t believe they would deny something so obvious.  They will deny they said something which was witnessed by a roomful of people.  They will claim they didn’t say something which you have in writing.  They will deny doing things which have been captured by photo or videotape.  Even after you show them the evidence, they will continue to deny it.  

 

One of the questions I’m often asked if whether they know they are wrong.  I used to think they didn’t, until I saw how defensive they are.  People don’t defend a position which doesn’t need defending.  The fact that they become defensive tells me they know, on some level, they are wrong.

 

When my mother’s father died she was extremely distraught.  There was a long drive to the cemetery which was out of town and she drove one of the cars.  During the drive she got upset and tried to run the car off the road, with some of children in it.  If my aunt hadn’t wrestled the wheel away from her they all would have died.  Mother denied this out entire lives.  She maintained, “that didn't’ happen”.  When her mother died and we were deciding who would drive, Mother announced she would.  Her children decided to band together and try to confront her about it.  We told her she would ride with one of us.  She started to protest, saying she could drive herself.  We interrupted and asked, “remember Grandpa’s funeral…”   “OK!” she answered and the subject was closed.  I then realized that it did happen and she did know.  She had known all along.



Disparaging/Eviscerating



Example:

 

" My highlighter is brighter than your future"

 

"When I Go to Heaven, I Won't Remember You."

 

"Why would we get a pet? We have you"

 

"I pray you catch a fever so you take that hat off your head."




Disparity

 

The disparity between what they do for themselves and what they do for others.  Crisselda’s mother’s closet full of sequined gowns and dressing table full of lotions and cosmetics while her children all slept on a sponge mattress on the floor in the same room and had no soap.  The Cokes in the refrigerator for her, but none for her children.  Cheryl’s bedroom and living room compared to Jake’s bedroom and the guest room.  Clark’s guest room if I can find it. 

 

Drama

  • Drama - the defining feature of a cluster B personality disorder is characterized by personality styles that are impulsive, dramatic, highly emotional, and erratic.  They use this to manipulate. 
  • Walking on eggshells
    See:  Emotional lability
  • Provoke jealousy and rivalries while maintaining an air of detachment or innocence

 

My narcissistic aunt posted this on Facebook.  I almost had a heart attack when I started reading it.  I thought she was saying she had cancer.  That’s how it read.  But when I read the rest of it, oh, yeah, she just wants to see if you are paying enough attention to her.  I should have known...

 

Fighting!!! Big C !!! Well, I'm going to watch who cares some of you won't but if you have lived it as I have or you have watched a loved one succumb to the Big C I will take notice! Now I'm watching the ones who will have the time to read this post until the end. This is a little test, just to see who reads and who shares without reading! If you have read everything, select "like" so I can put a thank u on ur profile! I know that 97% of you won't broadcast this, but my friends will be the 3% that do.  Please, in honor of someone who died, or is fighting cancer, or even had cancer, copy, and paste.  Write "DONE" in comments when you're finished!!

 

It’s also interesting to note the attempt to manipulate people’s empathy.  If you don’t copy and paste it’s because you don’t care enough or because you aren’t really a friend.  And the hubris of requiring someone to select “like” so they can put a thank you in your profile.  Yeah.  Unfollow.



Dysfunctional Parents


Cluster B parents regard their children as inanimate objects to be manipulated to get their needs met.  They may view them as a blessing (if they make them look good, or bring attention to them) or a burden (if they are just average children who have needs of their own).  

 

Individuals with a Personality Disorder are frequently parents. However, they are frequently dysfunctional parents. Personality Disorder parents often see their children as a burden to their personal goals, are often jealous of the attention their children receive, often feel competitive with their older children, and often attempt to obtain their personal goals through their children. Personality Disorder parents control their children through manipulation, with little concern for how their parenting behavior will later influence the lives or the personality of the child. Personality Disorder parents are often hypercritical, leaving the child with the feeling that they are incompetent or unworthy. In extreme cases, Antisocial parents criminally neglect, abuse, or exploit their children — often teaching them to become criminals. Criminal parents often use their children to steal or carry drugs to avoid criminal charges as an adult, allowing the children to face the legal charges. Spouses with a Personality Disorder are often jealous of the attention their partner provides to children in the home, frequently targeting the child for verbal abuse in their jealousy. The narcissism and shallow emotions in a Personality Disorder parent leave the children feeling unloved, unwanted, unworthy, and unappreciated.

 

Easy to Manipulate




  • Amy was never a person with any sort of bullshit detector. If you said she looked beautiful, she knew that was a fact. If you said she was brilliant, it wasn’t flattery, it was her due. So yeah, I think a good chunk of her truly believes that if I can only see the error of my ways, of course I’ll be in love with her again. Because why in God’s name wouldn’t I be?” “And if it turns out she’s developed a bullshit detector?” “You know Amy; she needs to win. She’s less pissed off that I cheated than that I picked someone else over her. She’ll want me back just to prove that she’s the winner.    Flynn, Gillian. Gone Girl: A Novel (p. 475). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition. 

 

Emotional Lability



  • Walking on eggshells
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Short fuses
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Argumentative
  • This can vary based on which flavor of cluster B they are.  Borderlines tend to be much more labile that antisocials, with narcissists falling somewhere in the middle
  • Their emotions are highly reactive to what you are doing, saying



They make you responsible for their emotions.  If they are unhappy, it’s your fault.  If they had a bad day at work, it’s your fault.  If they had a wreck on the way home, it’s your fault.  If they are generally unsatisfied with their life, it’s your fault.  And it’s your responsibility to make them feel better.  

 

This will be important to understand when we start talking about their long-term effects on you and your adult relationships.   

 

Emotional Manipulation

 

Emotional manipulation is one of the defining characteristics of cluster B personality disorders.  Their interactions with you are rife with manipulations and their repertoire is immense.  Their manipulations of you are often what cause the most psychological damage.  They are crazy-making and inflict incredible harm to your sense of self.  These manipulations can make you doubt your sanity, impair your sense of self,  leave you traumatized, believing the world is a very chaotic, unsafe place and leave you doubting your ability to make the simplest decisions.  If you are raised by cluster B parents,  the damage to your sense of your own sanity, your sense of self and your sense of well-being can be profound.  

 

Identifying the manipulations that are being used against you is the most important part of your healing.  Because a cluster B’s list of manipulations is so long, and because this topic is so important, I have dedicated the next chapter solely to the discuss of emotional manipulation.  

 

They manipulate your emotions in order to feed on your pain. This exceptionally sick and bizarre behavior is so common among narcissistic parents that their children often call them "emotional vampires." Some of this emotional feeding comes in the form of pure sadism.  They do and says things just to be wounding or they engage in tormenting teasing or they needle you about things you're sensitive about, all the while a smile plays over their lips.  They may have taken you to scary movies or told you horrifying stories, then mocked you for being a baby when you cried; they will slip a wounding comment into conversation and smile delightedly into your hurt face.  You can hear the laughter in their voice as they pressure you or say distressing things to you.  Later they’ll gloat over how much they upset you, gaily telling other people that you're so much fun to tease, and recruiting others to share in their amusement.  They enjoy their cruelties and make no effort to disguise that.  They want you to know that your pain entertains them.  They may bring up subjects that are painful for you and probe you about them, all the while watching you carefully.  This is emotional vampirism in its purest form.  They’re feeding emotionally off your pain.

 

A peculiar form of this emotional vampirism combines attention-seeking behavior with a demand that the audience suffer. Since narcissistic parents often play the martyr this may take the form of wrenching, self-pitying dramas which they carefully produce, and in which they are the star performer.  They sob and wail that no one loves them and everyone is so selfish, and they don't want to live, they want to die!  They want to die!  They will not seem to care how much the manipulation of their emotions and the self-pity repels other people. One strange behavior that is very common to narcissists: their dramas may also center around the tragedies of other people, often relating how much the narcissist suffered by association and trying to distress their listeners as they cry over the horrible murder of someone they wouldn't recognize if they had passed them on the street.   

 

Narcissists are masters of multitasking as this example shows. Simultaneously your narcissistic parent is:

  •       Lying.  They know what they did was wrong and they know your reaction is reasonable.
  •       Manipulating.  They’re making you look like the bad guy for objecting to their cruelties.
  •       Being selfish.  They don't mind making you feel horrible as long as they get their own way.
  •       Blaming.  They did something wrong, but it's all your fault.
  •       Projecting.  Their petty, small and childish behavior has become yours.
  •       Putting on a self-pitying drama.  They’re a martyr who believed the best of you, and you've let them down.  How could you mistreat them so by calling them on their bad behavior?
  •       Parentifying. You're responsible for their feelings; they have no responsibility for yours – or theirs.

 

Why do they manipulate you?  Because it works.  It’s really that simple.  Why play fair and risk not getting what you want when you can manipulate someone and almost ensure success?



So I ask you for something and you say no.  I ask you again, you say no.  Then I tell you a sad story about how I was abused as a child and how that makes this thing so important for me to have, and you give it to me.  Why would I just ask for something and risk getting denied when I can manipulate you for it and know I will get what I want?

A self-identified psychopath

 

Empathy, Lack of

 

This is characteristic, and the lack of remorse (discussed below) are the hardest things to wrap your mind around when it comes to dealing with cluster Bs.  It is hard to grasp because all humans have empathy.  You have empathy.  So it’s hard to grasp that the person you are interacting with; your mother, your father, your sibling, your spouse, your partner feels absolutely nothing for you.  They do not care that you are in pain, they do not care when you hurt and they feel nothing for you, no compassion, no sympathy, nothing.  

 

It’s important to grasp this concept in order to be able to interact with them in a healthy way.  Most people spend a lot of time and energy trying to appeal to a cluster B’s empathy.   They try so hard to reach the cluster B, to try to make them understand.  But their appeals fall on deaf ears and they assume it is because of some flaw in them.  This is especially true if the cluster B is your parent.  You grow up thinking there is something wrong with you if you cannot get them to love you.  What you must understand, if you are going to heal, is that they are not capable of loving you.  They do not have it in them.  

 

You were left hungry because "you eat too much."  You always went to school with stomach flu because "you don't have a fever. You're just trying to get out of school." (They resent having to take care of you. You have a lot of nerve getting sick and adding to their burdens.) They refuse to look at your bloody heels and instead the shoes that wore those blisters on your heels are put back on your feet and you're sent to the store in them because "You wanted those shoes. Now you can wear them." (You said the ones they wanted to get you were ugly.  They liked them because they were just like what they wore 30 years ago). The dentist was told not to give you Novocain when he drilled your tooth because "he has to learn to take better care of his teeth." (They have to pay for a filling and they’re furious at having to spend money on you.)

 

Example:

An antisocial acquaintance once spoke honestly about his lack of empathy:

My best friend died last year.  At the funeral, people said they expected a reaction from me.  I watched people who barely knew him breaking down, crying, upset.  I was upset, but it wasn’t apparent, it wasn’t anything special or different.  

I realized this was one of those moments.  So, I did.  I cried.  I cried a lot.  The entire time I was thinking this was a strange reaction.  They asked me to say a few words.  I refused.  It seemed really lame and weird speaking to someone who was dead.  They thought it was strange I wouldn’t so I guess we’re equal.  This guy was the closest anyone had ever been to me and I just felt nothing.

Example:

 

I worked with a narcissistic colleague in an outdoor situation.  She would routinely cut the overhead branches to accommodate a 5’3” person, her height.  When it was mentioned she continued to do it.  Everyone above 5’3” got hit in the face.  I think it amused her.  

 

    • No empathy
    • Clark casually lets the paralyzed dog get hit by a car and seems to feel nothing about it.
    • No regard for the comfort of his guest.  The Rockefeller hosting style, from what little I’d experienced of it, disdained guests’ appetites and physical comfort in favor of the pleasures of proximity to private family goings-on. I felt duly privileged, but I needed food.   Kirn, Walter. Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade (p. 147). Liveright. Kindle Edition.
    • Empathy is what they manipulate.  See:  A Note About Your Empathy section below
    • They hold you in contempt, they are contemptuous of you, you are contemptuous to them because you have empathy, because they can manipulate you with it, because they are able to manipulate you

 

They’ll occasionally slip and say something jaw-droppingly callous because of this lack of empathy.   It never occurs to them to think about your feelings.  An absence of empathy is the defining trait of a narcissist and underlies most of the other traits described here.  Unlike psychopaths, narcissists do understand right, wrong, and consequences, so they are not ordinarily criminals.  As a parent, narcissists would beat you, but not to the point where you went to the hospital.  They are much likely to engage in mind games and mental/verbal/emotional abuse.  They left you standing out in the cold until you were miserable, but not until you had hypothermia.  They put you in the basement in the dark with no clothes on, but they only left you there for two hours.  

 

Entitlement

 

Cluster Bs are absolutely convinced they rules do not and should not apply to them.  They are special. 

 

  • Feel entitled to enthusiastic and appreciative approval, adoration, agreement and obedience

 

Exploitative, They are

 

Cluster Bs view you as an inanimate object to be manipulated to get what they want.  They will manipulate you to get attention, money, favors, work, special consideration, 

 

They’re exploitative.  They will manipulate to get work, money, or objects they envy out of other people for nothing.  This includes their children, of course.  If they set up a bank account for you, they were the trustee on the account with the right to withdraw money.  As you put money into it, they took it out.  They may have stolen your identity.  They took you as a dependent on their income taxes so you couldn't file independently without exposing them to criminal penalties.  If they made an agreement with you, it was violated the minute it no longer served their needs.  If you brought it up demanding they adhere to the agreement, they brushed you off and later punished you so you would know not to defy them again.

 

Sometimes the narcissist will exploit a child to absorb punishment that would have been theirs from an abusive partner.  The husband comes home in a drunken rage, and the mother immediately complains about the child's bad behavior so the rage is vented on to the child.  Sometimes the narcissistic parent simply uses the child to keep a sick marriage intact because the alternative is being divorced, having to go to work or having to pay child support.  The child is sexually molested but the mother never notices, or worse, calls the child a liar when she tells someone about the molestation.



Facade - The Facade/The Mask of Normalcy

 

  • Faking human, the facade, the mask
  • Can’t be alone.  In relationships, they line up the next one before they leave this one.  
  • They read you, they’re watching every facial expression, every glance, every body movement so they can emulate it
  • Jodi Arias looking around and realizing everyone else was reacting differently to the picture of her partner’s corpse than she was, then amending her behavior to match theirs

The Facade is one of the hardest things to comprehend about cluster Bs.  The thing you have been interacting with is not real, and it’s not them.  It’s a facade, a fake being they erect to emulate a fully functioning person.  

The Facade is also what makes it so hard to leave them.  If you are in a relationship with someone who is a cluster B, you fell in love with the Facade.  And the Facade is what you grieve for, it’s what you miss, what you long for.  Breaking up with someone who is a cluster B is especially difficult because you grieve for the Facade you fell in love with.  And it’s almost impossible to fathom that they are not that person, because they are so good at playing the part of the Facade, at creating the Facade, at erecting the Facade.

 

Fan Club

 

People with cluster B disorders often have a fan club or groupies of followers who have been taken in by their drama or manipulations or facade.  

 

Feelings - Their Lack of Feelings

 

I have heard it said that cluster Bs only feel anger and fear.  I believe this to be largely true.  Especially in antisocials, the fear will even be blunted, but the anger is palpable.  Their lack of other feelings, especially their lack of empathy and remorse, is stunning once you see it.  It is like talking to a cold-blooded reptile.  

 

Their lack of feelings pervades their life and leaves them feeling unsatiated and in need of stimulation.  Our emotions are how we experience life.  

 

And they are aware of this deficit on some level, because they attempt to cover it up, or fake it.  This is caused the Mask of Sanity or the Mask of Normalcy and will be covered later.  



I had a narcissistic friend who sat through an entire night of comedy and did not laugh and would not applaud while everyone else was rolling on the floor.  She refused to give them the attention and why didn’t she laugh?  Lack of empathy?  Look up humor and psychopaths  

 

  • immune to contagious yawning. The researchers from Baylor University in Texas said people with psychopathic characteristics are less likely to yawn after seeing someone else yawn than people who are empathetic. The findings, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, noted how yawning after spotting another person yawn is associated with empathy and bonding, and is observed in many social animals.
  • Nothing.  They just stare back at you with those reptilian eyes
  • Superficial only
  • The facade of feeling
  • Feel only anger or fear
  • Bugs and Suzanne, she never understood that bugs were creepy to people until she saw other people shuddering when she picked one up
  • Suzanne sat through Esther’s follies and never cracked a smile.  She also refused to applaud.  She found their theatrics an attempt to get attention and was annoyed by it?
  • She resented the attention given to the dead volunteer
  • Sally’s client, the father describing how his sons refused to see him.  When I asked how that felt, he intellectualized about who caused them to do that, so I asked him twice more how it felt until I got; “It felt like someone hung on a wall in a torture chamber watching someone being burned alive in front of you”.  (Notice that even in his imagination of how such pain would feel, the pain is actually happening to someone else.) He carefully watched my expression and, when he saw (though I struggled mightily not to give it away) my reaction he tried again, (I can’t remember what he said this time - like being burned alive by the sun, or something equally over the top).  This guy couldn’t even relate to not seeing his sons, he felt nothing, he experienced nothing.  
  • Neal and Taj go to Istanbul and say nothing upon return.  They feel nothing, so they experience nothing since our emotions are how we experience the world.
  • PacMan, moving from thing to thing trying to feel
  • Faking emotions, lots of gestures of crying and sounds of crying and motions of crying, but no tears




This may be one of the most important concepts to grasp, especially when dealing with narcissists and antisocials.  Borderlines and histrionics don’t do this as much, or not in the same way.  The mask of sanity is a mask personality disordered individuals don to cover up their deficiencies.  In the case of a narcissist or an antisocial, they are missing empathy and remorse.  So they feel nothing for other people and they feel no guilt when they hurt people.  As a result their responses to emotional situations or people who love them can be cold and callous.  People see this and realize there is something wrong with them.  As a result of this feedback that they are not behaving as expected, narcissists and antisocials will don the Mask.  They watch how other people respond to given situations and emulate their behavior.  By the time they are adults, the have created a full facade of a normal person.  

 

Why is this important?  Because the “person” you are interacting with is actually a facade.  You are not interacting with the real person, you are interacting with a facade of a person.  The only time you will see the real person is when the mask slips.  This is usually when they are tired and forget to fake normal or when they are in a novel situation where they don’t yet know how to fake normal, so their true self shows through.  

 

The mask can take any shape or form.  They can present themselves as a loving, care Earth Mother who is vigilant about going green and recycling everything.  They may be the powerful, successful CEO.  They formulate the facade to match the image they are trying to project, which reflects what they think people want to see, or what they want people to believe they are.  

 

Example:  I had a narcissistic friend once who was caring for her aging mother.  I spent two years listening to her complain about how disgusting her mother was to her, what an inconvenience it was to care for her, etc.  When I had to put my own mother in a nursing home, I turned to her to listen.  As I was talking, I looked across the table and realized, “she feels absolutely nothing for me”.  She stared coldly back at me, an almost reptilian stare, bored and without compassion.  Though she had spent the past two years dealing with the same issue, she could not relate and she felt no empathy - and she was too tired and too bored to even attempt to cover it up.

 

Example:  I saw an interesting example of this while watching the trial of Jodi Arias.  Arias was convicted of savagely killing her boyfriend, Travis Alexander.  During the trial, the prosecution displayed enlarged photos of the crime scene.  At one point, they displayed a photo of Travis’ brutally battered body onto an overhead projector in the courtroom.  Arias stared blandly at it, not reacting, for several seconds.  No reaction.  The rest of the courtroom was visibly disturbed by it and one of Alexander’s family members gasped and had to leave the room.  Upon hearing the disturbance, Arias, still not reacting, turned to see what was happening and realized the effect the photo was having on people.  Only after that did she appear to react to the photo.  It was a telling moment when she appeared to have realized the mask of normalcy had slipped as she quickly manufactured an appropriate response.  

 

A note about borderlines.  They too may don the mask, but they are more likely to morph into whatever their partner wants them to be, rather than creating an entire facade of a normal person.  They too have no inner compass to guide them, but since they are manipulating for love rather than attention, power, money, etc. they are totally focused on becoming what their partner wants them to be in order to keep them.

 

Jealousy

 

  • Rarely say, “Thank you” or “Congratulations”
  • They are never happy for you
  • They are jealous of your ideas (Suzanne poo pooing my ideas, then stealing them)
  • They are jealous of your heart, your laughter, your friends, people who care about you, the goodness inside you, that you are normal, that you have what they don’t

 

Listen: They Don’t Listen

 

For the most part, cluster Bs cannot comprehend that anything you have to say could be important or interesting.  They resent you for talking at all.  They will let you know very quickly if you are boring them or not living up to their conversational expectations.

 

I grew up thinking I talked too much and I was boring.  The cluster Bs in my family were always quick to let me know when I was boring them, “you already said that”.  My father would make it clear that he only wanted to hear positive things.  He didn’t want to be bothered with me being hurt, or sad, or worried, or stressed, or tired.  My mother didn’t want to hear anything that would worry her.  They would yawn, interrupt me, let me know it was time for them to go if I talked about myself too much.  I always thought I was boring and repeated myself too much.  

 

So I learned to listen to them.  As a result I grew up listening to other people.  As I spent a lifetime listening to other people, I began to realize that other people are “boring”.  They aren’t talking about their adventures as an astronaut or a concert pianist.  They are talking about their lives, which, for most of us, are pretty ordinary.  And they repeated the same stories over and over at times.  And I listened to the cluster Bs who could lament the same misdeed over and over and over, for years.  I also noticed that the cluster Bs could tell me it was late and they had to go, but if I changed the topic back to them, they would talk for another hour.  So I eventually realized I didn’t talk more than other people.  And I wasn’t more boring than other people.  I was just like other people.  It was my audience that was wrong.  They were only interested in themselves and they only wanted to hear things which entertained them.  But most of all they wanted to talk while others listened.

 

Lying

 

They are Liars

 

Whether they are denying their bad behavior, instigating drama between other people, or purposefully misrepresenting something to get what they want - they lie.  Narcissists will tell outrageous, grandiose lies that so completely deviate from reality they are unbelievable.  Antisocials will create lies so cunningly and so smoothly executed you will watch people become mesmerized by them.  The person they present to you is a lie, a facade created to emulate the person you want them to be, to lure you in.  They’ll lie one way without outsiders and another way at home.   They will tell one lie to one person and a totally different lie to another.  They will lie seamlessly, effortlessly, and without compunction.  

 

They are the masters of spin - and spin control.  They lie by innuendo.  They lie with a roll of their eyes.  They lie by omission.  They spin what you said.  Their lies are carefully crafted to enable them to deny culpability.  “All I said was…”  

Deny culpability

 

They’ll lie so blatantly it will take your breath away.  They will deny saying things which are in writing, i.e. in a text or sent by email - even after you show it to them.  They’ll rewrite history and deny doing something they obviously did. They will deny doing things for which there is a roomful of witnesses.  They have selective memories and “That didn’t happen” is frequently heard.  

 

And for all of this they feel absolutely no remorse.







Mirroring

 

Mirroring is the behaviour in which one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Mirroring often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family. The concept often affects other individual's notions about the individual that is exhibiting mirroring behaviors, which can lead to the individual building rapport with others.  Wikipedia

 

They mirror your hopes, dreams, ideals, and insecurities like a chameleon.   

 

Example:  

 

My favorite example of this was a narcissistic colleague who was raised in Hawaii and southern California.  She then relocated to the south.  When she would talk to someone she was trying to get something out of or win over, she would adopt a good ‘ole boy attitude and a Southern accent to boot.  It failed miserably..  She would suddenly become overly friendly, act really smarmy, and talk with a noticeable drawl.  The minute we left, she reverted to normal without a hitch.  What was really bizarre was when she would suddenly adopt it with people she already knew and who knew she didn’t talk that way.  She really thought she was so clever no one could see through it, but they knew she didn’t talk that way.  It was really interesting to watch them being taken aback by her suddenly morphing into a Southerner.  

 

Mercenary/Miserly

 

Cluster Bs give nothing; not a smile, not a congratulations, not a thank you, nothing.  If they do, there is a catch, an ulterior motive.  They only do something for someone if there is a pay off for them.  They do not give, they invest.  

 

Cluster Bs are so devoid of empathy and their gifts so loaded with ulterior motives, adults survivors sometimes distrust kindnesses from others.  



I've struggled with this a lot. "Oh my gosh, someone is doing something nice for me, what do I do?  Why are they doing that?  What do they want???”

 

But I've been learning to take a deep breath, say “thank you”, accept their help and realize no one's forcing them to be nice to me.  It's not a trick. It's not a game.  It’s not a manipulation.  They aren’t trying to get something out of me.  Some people are genuinely nice - for no reason.  I still freak out a bit over it. It makes me nervous, because my dad would do something "nice" and then use it to guilt me or hold it over my head from then on.  

 

-----------------------------------

 

When people are nice to me I feel so awkward, I don't even know what to say.  We have a saying in my family, “this old thing?” because my grandmother, when complimented on how nice her dress look would respond, “Oh this old thing?  I’ve had this forever.”  We all do that.  If you say something nice to us we deflect it with something self-deprecating.  “Really?  I didn’t notice”, “Oh this, I got it at the thrift shop”, “Oh I got it really cheap”, and so on.  

 

I always did this until, one day, someone did it to me.  I felt like an idiot for complimenting them on something they considered to be worthless.  That was the first time I had the tables turned on me.  I got to see how it felt to be on the receiving end of “this old thing”.  I was determined never to do that to someone again.

 

But learning to just say “thank you” and accept the compliment was really hard.  I had to seriously bite my tongue.  It has gotten easier, but I still feel the struggle.  

 

------------------------

I’ve always had trouble receiving gifts.  Even at Christmas or on my birthday.  And if someone gives me something at other times, my early warning system goes off - “why are they giving me something?”, “what do they want?”, “why are they being nice to me?”.  When I see it now, I recognize it for what it is and it’s really sad.  




Moody

 

Cluster B disorders result because of the underdeveloped sense of self.  Because they are lacking this inner compass their sense of well being, their sense of themselves often comes from external sources.  This is why the borderline clings to you so tightly, why the narcissist needs your undivided attention, why the antisocial garners power or money to shore up their fragile self esteem.  

This causes Cluster Bs to be very, very volatile.  You often feel like you are walking on eggshells with them, never knowing when you will do, or say something which sets them off.  They may erupt in an all out rage or they may snipe at you with a scathing, catty remark aimed to wound.  Their moods often rule the house and you will find yourself learning to read their mood in order to know how your day is going to go.  

 

Since nothing is ever their fault, they will typically blame their mood on you, so knowing what their mood is becomes even more important in order to keep yourself safe and be ready for the assault. 



Narcissistic Supply

 

This term is specific to people with narcissistic personality disorder, but important to understand.  Narcissistic supply is often a person, a person who feeds their ego, provides them with the attention they crave.  Whether it is a spouse or a child or a colleague or an underling, narcissists require a constant supply of attention.  Supply can take many forms.  It can be positive; fame, adoration, adulation, applause, accolades, awards or it can be negative; revulsion, anger, fear, infamy, notoriety.  The narcissist craves attention, they do not care what kind.  This is important to realize if you are dealing with a narcissist.  They have no empathy, so they do not care how you feel.  They feel no remorse, so they don’t care if they hurt or upset you.  They must have your attention, and they do not care what kind.  Therefore, if they cannot get positive attention from you; love, adoration, respect they will take negative attention; anger, tears, frustration.  When they are texting you incessantly and you lose your temper and text back how mad you are at them, that’s what they want.  They have your attention.  They are pushing your emotional buttons.  You are providing them with narcissistic supply.  And your angry responses to them are just as reinforcing as your loving texts.  It doesn’t matter to them.

 

Never Wrong, They are 

 

“I have no idea why you think it's okay to criticize me no matter what mistake I made!

 

Cluster Bs are never wrong.  This is also important to understand.  When you are trying to make them understand how much they hurt you or how their behavior is unacceptable you are wasting your breath.  They will never admit what they have done.  They are never wrong.  It is never about them.  They will lie, manipulate, stonewall, gaslight you, guilt you, project - or, their favorite defense, play the victim.  They will do whatever it takes to not admit guilt or culpability.  They will never be wrong and they will always insist on having the last word.  

 

This is why talking to people who don’t understand cluster Bs can be so harmful.  They do not grasp what you are dealing with and will offer heartfelt, but devastatingly bad, advice.  “Just tell them how you feel” or “why don’t you just talk to them about it” are often offered.  But attempts to talk to them are futile and telling them how you feel only provides them with ammunition for their manipulations.  And they will still not take responsibility for their behavior.  So you have exposed and compromised yourself and gained nothing.

 

You will waste a massive amount of time and energy and incur a huge amount of emotional frustration if you attempt to discuss anything with them.  So don’t, just don’t.  Figure out what you need to do to take care of yourself - and do it.  

 

Oppositional

 

Dad when he said, “laugh and scratch” or anything else ignorant, if you mentioned it he would do it more.

Taj and the ring.

 

Parentify You, They

 

Parentify is a psychological term which means to make someone else the parent of you.  It is typically applied to children in a family who are inappropriately made to take on parental responsibilities, especially if they are parenting their own parents.  In a home where the parents have succumbed to substance abuse, you made see a teenage child making sure the landlord gets the rent, nudging the parents to go to bed or to get dressed or helping them take a bathe.  The child may worry if the parent is eating enough or getting to work on time.  The child becomes the parent to the adult.  The same parents may make this teenage child responsible for the care of younger children.  They may even make the child responsible for their own parenting.

 

This is a behavior we often see in children of cluster B parents.  But the neglect of the child occurs because of the lack of empathy and remorse of the parent instead of substance abuse.  Because cluster B parents feel nothing for you, feel no remorse when they harm you, and make the entire household revolves around them, their children often become the parent of the household;  feeling responsible for the cluster B parent, for themselves, and for their younger siblings.

 

Cluster B parents tend to shed their responsibilities to their children as soon as they are able, leaving them to fend for themselves.  They may stop providing medical care, adequate clothing, necessary transportation, basic comforts they would never deny themselves.  

 

“My mother had a closet full of beautiful dresses, but we all wore hand me downs, almost rags.  And while she had a bedroom dresser full of creams, and lotions, we often didn’t have to bathe with.”

 

----------------

 

Once I turned 16 I was old enough to work.  From then on I was responsible for all my expenses.   Clothes, school lunches, school supplies, toiletries, makeup, I paid for everything.  That also included college.  When I turned 18, I could still live there, but I had to work and pay for college.  They wouldn’t even help me with the books.  Nor would they provide me with the W2s so I could apply for a grant.  They didn’t want anyone to have that information.  I signed myself up for SATs, earned the money to pay for them and got a friend to drive me to the testing site.  

 

---------------------

 

My mother told me from the beginning, “When you turn 18, you are cut off!  So you better have a way out of here.”

 

--------

They assign tasks to you which are not tasks for a child.  You may be responsible to caring for younger siblings.  You may even be made responsible for caring for your cluster B parent; doing their laundry, cooking their meals, cleaning up after them.

 

I had to handle the child support payments, tracking when they came in and everything they were spent on.  My parents were fighting so viciously and there was so much drama they wouldn’t trust each other to handle them.  I was only 10 years old.

 

Most of all, they groomed (see Grooming) you to be responsible for their emotions.  If they came home from work angry, the projected it onto you.  It was because you didn’t do the dishes properly or take out the trash.  If they were frustrated, it was your fault.  If they were sad or disappointed or annoyed, it was your fault.  And it was your responsibility to make them feel better.  This is one of the anomalies of a cluster B disordered person.  Since they have no solid sense of self (see Sense of Self is Impaired) they have nothing inside from which to draw on.  So they depend on external forces to modulate their emotions.  Those external forces may be fame, fortune, power, etc.  But it’s even more likely they will rely on you.  

 

This is a very important concept to understand because of the effects it will have on your adult relationships.  This reliance on you for their emotional modulation creates very poor, or missing, emotional boundaries in you.  

 

Above all, you were always their emotional caregiver which is one reason any defection from that role caused such enormous eruptions of rage. You were never allowed to be needy or have bad feelings or problems. Those experiences were only for them, and you were responsible for making it right for them.  From the time you were very young they would randomly lash out at you any time they were stressed or angry or felt that life was unfair to them, because it made them feel better to hurt you.  You were often punished out of the blue, for manufactured offenses.  As you got older they directly placed responsibility for their welfare and their emotions on you, weeping on your shoulder and unloading on you any time something went awry for them.





Petty and Infantile

 

 

 

 

They are Petty and Infantile

They’re infantile and petty.  Narcissistic parents are often simply childish.  If you refuse to let them manipulate you into doing something, they will cry that you don't love them because if you loved them you would do as they wanted. If you hurt their feelings they will aggressively whine to you that you'll be sorry when they’re dead that you didn't treat them better.  These childish complaints and responses may sound laughable, but the narcissist is dead serious about them.  When you were a child, if you ask them to stop some bad behavior, they would justify it by pointing out something that you did that they feel is comparable, as though the childish behavior of a child is justification for the childish behavior of an adult.

 

Rage, The

 

People with antisocial personality disorder (APD) often like to portray themselves as people devoid of emotions, and liken themselves to people with autism.  Though they are without remorse or empathy and their ability to accurately assess danger causes them to underreact to fearful situations, they are not without emotions.  In fact, their rage can be apocalyptic, just like their narcissistic, borderline and histrionic cousins.

 

I am specifically choosing the word “rage”, not anger.  Their anger is so intense, so volatile is goes way beyond anger, it’s rage.  Their resentment, their hostility, their contempt of you and everyone burns so white hot it is very intimidating, even for people who are not intimidated by mere anger.  And this is not the anger of someone who has had too much, or is extremely frustrated or tired or frazzled.  This rage knows no bounds.  They will threaten anything, do anything, burn the house down around themselves just to get back at you.

 

They also use their rage as a manipulation to bully you.  



  • Quick to anger if you don’t accommodate them
  • Quick to rage if you humiliate them, or more especially, if you threaten to or actually do expose them
  • You find out who people are when they don’t get their way
  • Narcissistic rage
  • Two levels of anger
  • Seething anger with themselves or their lives that is always there, they just cover it up
  • Anger over the current narcissistic insult
  • Like a five year old having a tantrum
  • Lots of projection
  • Intensity of the angry outburst, even if it is not violent physically, the intensity of the anger is intimidating and palpable, scary
  • “When I’ve reached a point where I know I can’t win, I will do anything to destroy everyone and everything around me.”
  • “Holding my anger together is something I’ve never been able to master.  I’ve just never been able to figure it out.  There are times when I can walk away.  And there are times when it’s just way too hard.”  
  • “In a relationship, the person who cares the most, has the most to lose.”
  • “I can’t look at it and care.  It’s a thing of the past.  It’s almost like a trophy of the way that I’ve lashed out.  The longer it sits there and i look at it, the better I feel.”  referring to an antique chair that the narcissist broke in a rage
  • Narcissistic injury - “you learn what a person really is when they don’t get what they want”
  • Retaliation.  When I waited a few hours before answering Suzanne, to avoid shotgun texting, she started waiting a few hours before answering me.
  • Narcissistic rage








Relationships, They Destroy Your

 

They destroy your relationships.  Narcissistic parents are like tornadoes: wherever they touch down families are torn apart and wounds are inflicted.  Unless the other parent has control over the narcissist and holds the family together**, adult siblings in families with a narcissistic parent characteristically have painful relationships.  Often, all communications between siblings are superficial and driven by duty, or they may never talk to each other at all.  In part, narcissistic parents foster dissension between their children because they enjoy the control it gives them.  It also prevents the children from allying against the narcissistic parent.  If those children don't communicate except through the parent, the narcissist can decide what everyone hears.  The narcissists love to control the spin put on things.  Narcissists also love the excitement and drama they create by interfering in their children's lives. Watching other people's lives explode is better than soap operas, especially when you don't have any empathy for their misery.

 

The narcissist nurtures anger, contempt and envy - the most corrosive emotions - to drive their children apart. While their children are still living at home, any child who stands up to the narcissist guarantees punishment for the rest. In their zest for revenge, the narcissist purposefully turns the siblings' anger on the dissenter by including everyone in their retaliation. ("I can see that nobody here loves me! Well I'll just take these Christmas presents back to the store. None of you would want anything I got you anyway!") The other children, long trained by the narcissist to give in, are furious with the troublemaking child, instead of with the narcissist who actually deserves their anger.







Remorse - They Lack Remorse

 

  • Don’t feel or demonstrate remorse
  • Can’t apologize or if do, can’t do it sincerely, it’s superficial, then they do it again
  • Narcissists do not care what kind of reaction they get, as long as they get a reaction.  They don’t care if it hurts you, as long as they get a reaction.

 

The cluster B’s lack of remorse and their lack of empathy are the hardest concepts for most people to wrap their minds around.  And they are the most important.  

 

Like their lack of empathy, someone who is a cluster B personality disorder does not experience remorse when they hurt you.  They feel nothing.  And this is very hard for most people to understand, but it’s very important.  

 

Adult children of cluster Bs often feel unlovable because they are unable to elicit empathy from their parents nor do their parents seem to care when they have hurt them.  Children will typically assume that it is their fault if their parents do not care about them and this is what causes the damage.  It is important for children of cluster Bs to realize that it is the parents’ dysfunction which causes this lack of care, not the child’s inability to be loved.

 

This is also an important concept when dealing with cluster Bs in any relationship; as parents, siblings or partners.  People waste a lot of time trying to get the cluster B to understand how much their behavior hurts them.  They are not capable of feeling remorse.  They do not care that they hurt you.  They feel no guilt, no remorse, nothing.  So your attempts to make them understand are futile - and maddening. 

 

For this reason, you cannot expect an apology from them.  Since they feel no remorse, they feel no need to apologize.  Also, apologizing would mean they are wrong.  (See:  Wrong, below)

Some have learned to fake an apology, just like they have learned to create a Facade to fake being a fully formed human.  So they may have learned to mouth the words of an apology, but it will have an undertow to it.  

 

Example:  The apology you are offered with include an insult nestled inside.

“I’m sorry you felt stupid.”

 

Example:  The apology attacks your sanity.   

“I’m sorry you believe I lied to you.”

“I’m sorry you think I made you angry.”

 

Example:  Their apology will be followed by justification or excuses why they did that.

 

Example:  Their apology will gaslight you.  (See:  Gaslight, Chapter 4)

“I’m sorry you felt that I ignored you.”

“I’m sorry if you think I made you feel bad.”

“I’m sorry if you think I was lying.”

 

Example:  Their apology will attempt to pathologize you.  (See:  Pathologize, Chapter 4)

 

Example:

 

I once worked with a narcissistic partner.  We decided to teach a class together to earn extra money.  I applied to be approved for the class.  I wrote all the material for the class.  I prepared all the handouts for the class.  When it came time to deliver the 3 hour lecture, I brought all the materials, I gave the lecture and she attended.  When the check came we split the money.  When I realized it, it mentioned to her that I was doing all this work, she showed up for the lecture, which I gave, and we split the money.  Her response?  A laugh, and, “yeah, that works for me!”  She did not care that it was unfair.  Needless to say, I didn’t keep doing that class with her.



  • Callousness - I did all the work and she took all the money, and she laughed and said, “it works for me!”

 

they have just made with justifications, qualifications or self-pity.  They will also use an apology as yet another opportunity to gaslight you.  "I'm sorry you felt that I humiliated you", "I'm sorry if you think I made you feel bad", "I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do about it", "I'm sorry you felt clumsy, stupid and disgusting", "I'm sorry but it was just a joke. You're so over-sensitive", "I'm sorry that my own child feels he has to upset me and make me feel bad." The last insulting apology is also an example of projection.  

 

Resentment

 

Because their sense of self is severely damaged, or missing all together, they create a facade to cover up the deficit.  Since they have no empathy, they aren’t able to “feel” what’s going on with you, so they have to read you.  They monitor your every move, your facial expressions, your body language, your words, your appearance, etc. in order to figure out what you’re feeling since they can’t detect it empathically.   They then project back what you want them to be.  They do this by responding to you, watching how you respond to them and tweaking their mask accordingly.  As a result, they feel resentful of having to go to all this effort to keep you appeased.  And they do view it as a burden forced upon them by you.  They rarely take responsibility for the fact that their responses are abnormal and work to fix them.  They just fake their way through it and resent you for “forcing” them to do so.  As a result, they harbor an enormous amount of resentment toward the rest of us.

 

  • Turn themselves inside out to be what you expect them to be, then resent you for it
  • They disdain what they don’t have.  Suzanne didn’t have money, so she sneered at people who did.  If they have money, the sneer at people who don’t.  If they have an education they sneer at people who don’t.  If they don’t have an education, they sneer at people who do.
  • They resent;
    • Any perceived “weakness”, such as empathy, hurt, sorrow, need, illness
    • It requires empathy, which they don’t have
    • It makes one more vulnerable and easily manipulated, which makes N contemptuous
    • Because it makes you vulnerable to their manipulation and they look down on you because they know how much they are manipulating you or,
    • Because it means something is required of them, which they resent.  Everything should be about them, for them, go to them, etc.  Anything you require is less for them
  • They go along with things and emulate the person you want them/need them to be, but they are resenting it all along

They also regard themselves as put upon because they have to create their facade of normalcy in order to manipulate the people around them.  And they view this as a burden, and, naturally, blame and resent us for their need to do it.  Instead of acknowledging that there is something inherently wrong with them, they perceive the need to pretend to be normal in order to be accepted by us as a burden placed upon them by us.  Then they resent us for it.

 

The Martyr - they turn themselves inside out to create the facade you want to see, but they are keeping score the entire time and feel entitled to whatever they want from you that they are turning themselves inside out for.  They can also feign great compassion or empathy if they are a covert narcissist or if that is what you want to see.  But, again, they are feigning empathy and they are keeping score.  

 

 They’re envious. Any time you get something nice they’re angry and envious and their envy will be apparent when they admire whatever it is.  They’ll try to get it from you, spoil it for you, or get the same or better for themselves.  They’re always working on ways to get what other people have. The envy of narcissistic parents often includes competing sexually with their children.  Mothers will forbid their daughters to wear makeup, to groom themselves in an age-appropriate way or to date. They will criticize the appearance of their daughters and daughters-in-law.  Fathers may compete with sons for women or conquests.  This envy extends to relationships. Narcissistic mothers infamously attempt to damage their children's marriages and interfere in the upbringing of their grandchildren.



Retaliate, They

 

The frog and the scorpion

In my experience, covert narcissists have revenge fantasies, but seldom carry out those fantasies. I think covert/vulnerable narcissists have a tendency to not be the risk-takers that malignant narcissists are. I’ve had two covert narcissists friends and both had revenge fantasies and both would try to encourage others to help them carry out their revenge — as if to try to distance themselves from the event. The “revenge” was almost always some sort of smear campaign. Given that I do not fight other people’s battles for them, I would always refuse to help, which irked them and, inevitably, their “revenge” was never carried out. I also think covert narcissists have a tendency to think they will someday bring their former enablers back into the fold, and may not want to jeopardize that by a negative action against the person. Just my opinion based on experience.

They will destroy themselves to get back at you

Like a scorpion stinging itself to death

 

They retaliate.  "Getting even" is a large part of their dealings with you.  Anytime you fail to give them the deference, attention or service they feel they deserve, or you thwart their wishes, they have to show you.  A narcissistic parent will even resort to a suicide attempt (actually, a suicidal gesture, they think too much of themselves to commit suicide) to “make you pay” for not doing what they want. 

 

Rules Don’t Apply to Them

 

Suzanne and her driving.  



Example:

 

I had a narcissistic friend who truly did not believe that traffic laws applied to her.  She drove 20 miles an hour, piling up traffic behind her without any concern for how this was affecting other drivers.  She drove without her seatbelt and parked in disabled parking spots.  She ate, used her phone, adjusted the radio and was generally inattentive when driving causing her to wander all of the lane.  And again, she did not care how any of these behaviors affected other people.  Because of these habits she was frequently stopped for drunken driving, for parking in the disabled spot, for not wearing a seatbelt.  Narcissists do not lie as well as antisocials.  But that did not stop her from trying.  She lied her heart out, but drove away with a ticket every time.  Did she pay it?  Of course not!  She would always say she was going to go to court to fight it.  Did she honor the court date?  Of course not!  She missed it.  Then, when there was a warrant out for her she would eventually take care of it, displaying self righteous indignation that she would be so sorely mistreated the entire time.

 

Example:

An antisocial client would frequently drive while intoxicated.  He created new off ramps for the local interstate, knocked out gas mains and ran over street signs without compunction.  After crossing a median and running into a sign, his only concern was that he didn’t tear up his car any worse than he had.  When it was pointed out to him that he could have kept crossing the median and hit someone head on, possibly killing someone, he brushed it off, undaunted.  He bought his way out of his convictions so he never went to prison.  When he accumulated too many DUIs under one driver’s license, he would get a driver’s license from an adjoining state and drive under that.  The rules simply didn’t apply to him.  

 

Selfishness

  • Near-total selfishness
  • An antisocial mother removed her child from middle school to watch her toddler so the mother could attend school

 

They are Selfish

 

They’re selfish and willful. They always makes sure they have the best of everything.  They insist on having their own way all the time and they will ruthlessly, manipulatively pursue it, even if what they want isn't worth all the effort they’re putting into it and even if that effort goes far beyond normal behavior.  They will make a huge effort to get something you denied them, even if it was entirely your right to do so and even if their demand was selfish and unreasonable.  If you tell them they cannot bring their friends to your party they will show up with them anyway, and they will have told them that they were invited so that you either have to give in, or be the bad guy to these poor dupes on your doorstep. If you tell them they can't come over to your house tonight they’ll call your spouse and try get your spouse to agree that they can, and to not say anything to you about it because it's a "surprise."  They have to show you that you can't tell them "no."   Anytime you try to assert a boundary and put something off limits, they take it as a challenge.   If they have neglected to see their grandchildren for two years and you tell them they can’t see the grandchildren, suddenly they become obsessed with seeing their grandchildren and will stop at nothing to accomplish this.

 

One near-universal characteristic of narcissists: because they are so selfish and self-centered, they are very bad gift givers. They'll give you hand-me-downs or market things for themselves as gifts for you ("I thought I'd give you my old bicycle and buy myself a new one!" "I know how much you love Italian food, so I'm going to take you to my favorite restaurant for your birthday!") New gifts are often obviously cheap and are usually things that don't suit you or that you can't use or are a quid pro quo: if you buy them the gift they want, they will buy you an item of your choice.  They’ll make it clear that it pains them to give you anything.  They may buy you a gift and get the identical item for themselves, or take you shopping for a gift and get themselves something nice at the same time to make themselves feel better.

 

They’re self-absorbed. Their feelings, needs and wants are very important; yours are insignificant to the point that their least whim takes precedence over your most basic needs. Their problems deserve your immediate and full attention; yours are brushed aside. Their wishes always take precedence; if they do something for you, they remind you constantly of their munificence in doing so and will often try to extract some sort of payment.  They will complain constantly, even though your situation may be much worse than theirs. If you point that out, they will effortlessly, thoughtlessly brush it aside as of no importance (It's easy for you... / It's different for you...).

 

 

Shallow (Superficial) Emotions


Healthy people are always amazed and astonished that a person with a Personality Disorder can quickly detach from a partner, move on, and exhibit very little in the way of remorse or distress. A Personality Disorder can find another partner following a breakup, often within days. These same individuals can also quickly detach from their family and children. They can become angry with their parents and not contact them for years. A Personality Disorder can abandon their children while blaming the spouse/partner for their lack of support and interest. Their ability to behave in this manner is related to their “Shallow Emotions”. The best way to think of Shallow Emotions is to have a great $300.00 automobile (192 euros). You have a limited investment in the automobile, and when it’s running great you have no complaints. You take the effort to maintain the vehicle as long as the costs are low. If it develops costly mechanical difficulties, it’s cheaper to dispose of it and get another $300.00 automobile that will run well. Also, if you move a large distance, you leave it behind because it’s more costly to transport it. A Personality Disorder has shallow emotions and often views those around them as $300.00 autos. Their emotional investment in others is minimal. If their partner is too troublesome, they quickly move on. If parents criticize their behavior, they end their relationship with them…until they need something.

 

 

 

 

 

projections

appearances and family secrets, the façade, the mask

The creation of a façade. Because people with cluster B personality disorders lack a fully formed sense of self, they create a façade of normalcy in order to get through life. Depending on the severity of their disorder, they will “fake normal” to varying degrees. They are astute observers of other people, watching their behavior, their reactions, their emotional expression - in order to replicate it.

I saw an interesting example of this while watching the trial of Jodi Arias. Arias was convicted of savagely killing her boyfriend, Travis Alexander. During the trial, the prosecution displayed enlarged photos of the crime scene. At one point, they displayed a photo of Travis’ brutally battered body onto an overhead projector in the courtroom. Arias stared blandly at it, not reacting, for several seconds. No reaction. The rest of the courtroom was visibly disturbed by it and one of Alexander’s family members gasped and had to leave the room. Upon hearing the disturbance, Arias, still not reacting, turned to see what was happening and realized the effect the photo was having on people. Only after that did she appear to react to the photo. It was a telling moment when she appeared to have realized the mask of normalcy had slipped as she quickly manufactured an appropriate response. This is especially true of antisocials, but I’ve also observed it in narcissists and borderlines.

no empathy

Lack of empathy. Because they have no sense of themselves, they cannot externalize that to others. So they have no sympathies for other people. They have no sense of other people. Other people are merely inanimate objects to be manipulated to get what they want. And we will see the disastrous effects this has on their interactions with others later on in this book.

This characteristic may be one of the hardest to understand. In varying degrees, people with cluster B personality disorders simply do not care how you feel. They do not care if they hurt you. They do not care if you are suffering or upset. And it is important to understand that they do not have the capacity to care. It’s truly mind boggling to look across the table at your parent or spouse and realize - they feel absolutely nothing for you. Nothing. It’s equally hard to realize that nothing you say or do will get through to them.

no conscience

Impaired morality. Impaired remorse. Antisocials are said to have no conscience, or to have a “swiss cheese conscience” meaning there are gaping holes in their morality. They will be meticulous about following some rules and totally ignore others. Ted Bundy, a serial killer, kidnapper, rapist, necrophile and burglar would not break traffic laws. He was meticulous about maintaining the proper speed and not getting traffic tickets, but had no regard for human life. You will see this in narcissists and borderlines in varying degrees. They will follow the rules in one area and flaunt them in another.

This is another characteristic that is hard for people to understand: people with cluster B personality disorders do not care they have hurt you. They feel no remorse. None. Many people will assume they just don’t “get it” or that they don’t understand. So they will continue to try to explain it to them. But their efforts are futile. There’s nothing in there for the cluster B to understand with. There is nothing to appeal to. They feel nothing.

Never wrong

blaming/shaming

near total selfishness, must have attention, Need constant admiration

arrogance/grandiosity, Grandiosity, unrealistic self-expectation

Arrogant and displays haughty behavior

Envious of others

contempt for others

Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty

Believes that he or she is special, unique and can only be understood by high status people or institutions

Sense of entitlement

Entitlement: the feeling or belief that you deserve special privileges or special treatment.

Cluster Bs are often said to have a sense of entitlement, they believe they are owed things which they are not. This may manifest itself in many different ways. They may feel they deserve; power, attention, respect, money, etc. They may feel they are owed respect though they’ve done nothing to earn it. They may even think they are owed respect despite having abused and manipulated you. They may feel they deserve a certain style of living without actually having to work for it. They may think they deserve credit for a job even though someone else did all the work. They may think they deserve payment for something they didn’t actually do. They may think they deserve the undivided attention of everyone in the room - all the time. When they don’t receive what they feel is their due they often feel justified in throwing a tantrum, making demands, creating drama or punishing you.

Impulsive and anxious

Takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

Doubts own adequacy

admiration and devaluation

 

dishonesty

Dishonesty. People with APD have no qualms about lying to or defrauding people. They have the capacity to misrepresent the facts in order to get what they want.

the rules do not apply

No regard for the rules.  People with APD frequently have a great disregard for the law and for the rules in general.  They feel they do not apply to them.  The only reason they follow the rules is because they do not care to experience the consequences, not because they believe in the ideals which they seek to uphold.  Antisocials typically deny all responsibility for any wrongdoing and either blame others or blame the system.

The rules do not apply. People with APD usually feel the rules do not apply to them and will thwart them or flaunt them if they can get away with it.

Self-Centered

We often hear the phrase “It’s All About Me”. When making decisions, a healthy person weighs the needs and concerns of others as well as their own. A Personality Disorder weighs only their needs and concerns. A Personality Disorder may use money to feed their family for their own purpose. A brother with a Personality Disorder may intimidate an elderly parent for money or manipulate a legal situation to eliminate siblings from an inheritance. In most situations, if we are contacted by a Personality Disorder, the contact is for their purpose, not ours.

Self-Justification

Individuals with a Personality Disorder don’t think, reason, feel, and behave normally. However, they typically justify all of their behaviors. Their justification often comes from their view that they have been victims of society or others and are therefore justified in their manipulative, controlling, criminal or abusive behaviors. A common justification in criminals is to blame the victim for the crime as when hearing “It’s his fault (the victim) that he got shot. He should have given me the money faster.” Healthy adults find it impossible to reason with a Personality Disorder, finding their justifications impossible to understand.

Narcissistic Supply

From Quora:
in his split view of the world there is the strong and the weak, the good and the bad, the winner and the loser and so on in infinite dimensions.
He needs to be first. He needs to feel superior. not being first is perceived as devastatingly unacceptable, like death, trigger deep fear of rejection and rage, to be vent on the critic or anyone who is perceived as safe/weak target.
Supply refers to anything that confirms him “you are superior”, you are right you are good you are special and so on, generally they have a preferred dimension, like knowledge or power or money. A lambo, a sexy girl, a Ph.D. in astrophysics, a fat bank account can all serve the purpose.
People of his gang is also required to mirror the boss grandiosity, to make him feel better is the true reason they are around, especially when life brings the bill.

Narcissistic individuals need other people’s help to manage their shaky self-esteem. Psychologists and other mental health professionals use the term “Narcissistic Supplies” as short-hand for all the varied things that tend to make Narcissists feel good about themselves. Here some of the common ones that most Exhibitionist Narcissists value:
Agreement: Narcissists love being told that they are right (and hate being wrong).
Praise: Narcissists want to be the best at everything. They love being praised: “You are the smartest person that I know.” “You were so right about…(fill in the blank).
Awards and Titles: Narcissist love public recognition in tangible form.
Winning: Narcissists want to be the best at everything. Therefore, whenever they win a competition of any kind, they feel better about themselves. Being a winner is one of their major goals in life.
Idealization: Narcissists enjoy being put on a pedestal and worshipped.
High Status: Status is extremely important to all Narcissists. They value having all markers that indicate they have high status. They will try to get close to other people who they consider to have high Status and buy objects considered high status in their group as ways of enhancing their own self-esteem.

they need a reaction, any reaction

denial

drama

Drama. People with diagnoses in the B cluster are often; dramatic, emotional and erratic, or they create drama around them. Borderlines and narcissists are more melodramatic than antisocials. Antisocials tend to drive people around them to drama, manipulating and lying until sane, sober people completely lose their temper. Because of the constant emotional manipulation, living with a person who has any of these diagnoses is toxic and their victims are often driven to the brink. Because these diagnoses tend to run in families, a family full of cluster Bs will often contain a lot of drama. Holidays, for instance, will be rife with who is not talking to who, who is mad at whom, screaming fights, etc.

Social Disruption

There is never a calm, peaceful, and stable relationship with a Cluster B Personality Disorder! Their need to be the center of attention and control those around them ensures a near-constant state of drama, turmoil, discord, and distress. An individual with a Personality Disorder creates drama and turmoil in almost every social situation. Holidays, family reunions, outings in the community, travel, and even grocery shopping are often turned into a social nightmare. The Personality Disorder also creates disruption in their family system. They are the focus of feuds, grudges, bad feelings, jealousy, and turmoil. If you have a member of your family that you hate to see arrive at a family reunion or holiday dinner — he or she probably has a Personality Disorder.

you're an inanimate object

narcissistic rage

lies/manipulation/mind games

Emotional manipulation. Mind games, lying, bullying and more are standard procedure for people with cluster B personality disorders. Will explore their methods in detail in the next session, but they typically use the same methods.

splitting

now

control freaks

Sense of Self Impaired or Missing

People with cluster B disorders usually have an impaired, or missing, sense of self. For all the grandiosity of the narcissist and the calculating of the antisocial, inside they are often hollow. And this is what they seek to cover up. It can also be what drives them, the insatiable need to fill up the gaping hole inside.

Cluster B disorders result because of the underdeveloped sense of self. Because they are lacking this inner compass their sense of well being, their sense of themselves often comes from external sources. This is why the borderline clings to you so tightly, why the narcissist needs your undivided attention, why the antisocial garners power or money to shore up their fragile self esteem.

It can also be what makes them so emotionally labile and volatile. Interacting with someone who is cluster B has been described as walking on eggshells. They are extremely reactive to everything you say and do. This is because they often define themselves, through you. Some people who are cluster B report feeling like they are non-existent. Other feel like a chameleon, changing into whatever they need to be depending on the circumstances or what they think others want from them. Interacting with someone who is guided, not by an internal compass, but by whatever is happening outside of them can feel very mercurial. Their moods and behaviors shift with the wind - and take you with them.

This lack of a fully formed sense of self often leads them to create a façade to emulate what is missing in normal human reactions. Sometimes called the “mask of sanity”, this false face they wear in public can be confusing and disconcerting, especially if you are their child. You may think you are interacting with your parent, but you are actually interacting with a façade of a parent which they have created.

The borderline seeks a partner to fill this void. The narcissist seeks attention to fill this void. The antisocial may seek power, or money, or control to fill this void. In most cases, this means you. You may be enmeshed with them and become their surrogate spouse, filling the space their spouse should fill, being their chief confidant and best friend. You may be the hero child who brings attention and acclaim to your parent through your achievements. You may be the hero child who works hard and brings money and power to them.

Whatever role you fill with them, be sure you are there to meet their needs, and only their needs. Since cluster Bs come from cluster Bs, you may be able to look back at your grandparents and great grandparents and see how this pattern has been passed from generation to generation. The important thing to realize is the effect it has on you.

If your existence is defined by contorting yourself into whatever your parent needs you to be, you will not have formed a strong, secure sense of your own self. We’ll revisit this in the Symptoms of Being Raised by Cluster Bs section below.

Personality disorders are disorders of the self. This is especially true of people with cluster B personality disorders. Their sense of self has been severely damaged, or, may be missing all together. As a result they often have a “hole in their soul”. The internal compass which guides the rest of us is missing within them. And though they may project an image of grandiosity, importance or power they are really projecting an outer image to cover up an inner deficiency.

Mark Singer*, an author who worked on a profile of Donald Trump in the 1990s wrote that his was “an existence unmolested by the rumbling of a soul”. I think that is a beautifully worded description of the damaged self of the person with a cluster B disorder.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/the-mind-of-donald-trump/480771/
Mark Singer in the late 1990s when he was working on a profile of Trump for The New Yorker
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1997/05/19/trump-solo

As a result of this identity disturbance, they live to see themselves reflected in the eyes of others. In order to feel alive they need to provoke a response in you. In order to feel powerful, they need to control you. In order to feel self-esteem, they need to be impress you with their grandiosity. In order to feel loved, they need to cling desperately to you. In order to know who they are, they need to see themselves reflected in your eyes. They are chameleons who meld themselves into whatever they think you want them to be in order to cleave you to them, then resent you for the efforts they feel they have to go to in order to keep you near them, never owning that the mask they create is not to please us, but to hide themselves. They have no internal compass to guide them and create a façade of normalcy to cover the gaping hole in their being.

“Don’t look to them for a sense of who you truly are. Everything they claim to see in you, good or bad, right or wrong, is a projection of their own behavior. And don’t waste your breath trying to convince them you are not what they claim you are. They need you to be this person who is defective, inferior, because it makes them feel better by comparison. They need you to be more wrong, more defective than they are. Only then can they feel “normal” themselves. They may need you to be defective in order to be dependent on them. They may need you to be the problem in order to avoid looking at themselves.”
Anonymous
Because they have no sense of self, they do not comprehend that you have or need to have one yourself.

To them, you are merely an inanimate object they manipulate to get what they want.

They have no concept that there is a “You”. If they are unhappy, they expect you to be unhappy too. And they expect you to make them feel better. If they have been slighted in some way, they expect you to be upset. They do not distinguish between themselves and you. If they are in the mood for a movie, why aren’t you?

“My mom was a narcissist who objected to everything I liked; my music, my TV shows, my video games, my friends, everything. I wasn’t allowed to have opinions or thoughts which differed from hers. If I did, I was berated, disparaged, even punished at time. I learned to just agree with everyone around me in order to keep the peace until I could escape. As an adult, part of me is still afraid to deviate from what others think. I feel like the world will cave in if I don’t comply, because when I was a kid, with my Mom, it would have. Any time I dared to be me, you would think the world was going to end.”

Impaired sense of self.  I think of this as a “hole in their soul”.  It’s as if the self were never fully formed and huge chunks of their humanity are missing.  This impairment in their sense of self leaves them without an internal compass, without a fully formed conscience.  Their sense of identity comes from the reflection of others.  Their empathy is impaired.  They may regard other people as mere objects to be manipulated to get what they want.  They only know who they are as they see themselves reflected in the eyes of others.  The consequences of this will be seen later as we start to discuss their behaviors.

Impaired intimacy

Impaired intimacy.  Because of their lack of an integrated sense of self, their ability to form intimate relationships is also impaired.  Impaired ability to form and maintain relationships.  People who are cluster Bs may have lots of relationships, but they are shallow and superficial.  They may have a lot of acquaintances, but few close friends.  And they usually will not stay with people long.  May appear to have long term relationships, but they cannot maintain them.

Because of their impaired emotions, especially empathy, they have a hard time connecting with other people. They typically view other people as objects to be manipulated to get what they want. They don’t view you as a fully feeling, thinking, functioning individual in your own right. And that impairs their ability to relate to you. Their emotions are typically superficial, as are their relationships. They may have many acquaintances, but few, if any, people who are truly close to them.

They may also compartmentalize their relationships. They may show you one part of themselves, but not others. They will show someone else another side of them, but not the part they show to you. And they will often keep people who know them separate from each other.
This results from their Mask of Normalcy (see below). They are chameleons who become whatever you need them to be, so they appear differently to everyone. Also, since they are splitters and manipulators, they expect you to be the same way, so they keep everyone in their lives separate so they cannot compare notes.

Entitlement: the feeling or belief that you deserve special privileges or special treatment.

Cluster Bs are often said to have a sense of entitlement, they believe they are owed things which they are not. This may manifest itself in many different ways. They may feel they deserve; power, attention, respect, money, etc. They may feel they are owed respect though they’ve done nothing to earn it. They may even think they are owed respect despite having abused and manipulated you. They may feel they deserve a certain style of living without actually having to work for it. They may think they deserve credit for a job even though someone else did all the work. They may think they deserve payment for something they didn’t actually do. They may think they deserve the undivided attention of everyone in the room - all the time. When they don’t receive what they feel is their due they often feel justified in throwing a tantrum, making demands, creating drama or punishing you.

Mask of Normalcy
People with cluster B personality disorders have a severely impaired sense of self. They are also devoid of primary human emotions like compassion and remorse. They have learned to cover up these deficits by erecting a façade, or a Mask of Normalcy in order to appear normal to others.

Example:
During her trial, convicted murderer, Jodi Arias, presented herself as a victim, always wearing the Mask or the façade and presenting herself as the devoted girlfriend of an overbearing boyfriend. But there was a day in the trial where it slipped. The prosecution was presenting crime photos of her boyfriend who she had brutally murdered. They were graphic and horrific. As the photo was beamed onto the overhead projector, Arias,

 

Remorse is Impaired or Missing

Cluster Bs often have what is called a “swiss cheese conscience”. Their morality often comes with holes in it. Ted Bundy, who raped and murdered more than thirty women would not break a traffic law. A narcissist who insists on everyone recycling may embezzle money from family members.

1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):
a. Identity: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.
b. Self-direction: Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.

2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):
a. Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate of own effect on others.
b. Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others‟ experiences and predominance of a need for personal gain
B. Pathological personality traits in the following domain:
1. Antagonism, characterized by:
a. Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others; condescending toward others.
b. Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking.
C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual's personality trait expression are relatively stable across time and consistent across situations.
D. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual's personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individual's developmental stage or socio-cultural environment.
E. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual's personality trait expression are not solely due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., severe head trauma)

Feeling you vs. Reading you

People with a cluster B disorder are very good at reading people and presenting to the person whatever they want to see. This raises an interesting question. How are they able to emulate what people want so well if they have no empathy? By watching human behavior, by reading you. They watch how you react, they watch your facial expressions and your tone of voice.

Imaginary Lives

A Personality Disorder has a strong influence on the life and lifestyle of the individual. Cluster B personality disorders often have two lives — their “real life” and the imaginary life they present to others that is full of excuses, half-truths, deceptions, cons, lies, fantasies, and stories prepared for a specific purpose. Physical abusers who were forcibly and legally removed from their children and spouse develop a story that the in-laws conspired with the police to separate them from the children they love so deeply. Jail time is often reinterpreted as “I took the blame for my friend so he could continue to work and support his family”. A major finding in a Personality Disorder is an ineffective life — reports of tremendous talent and potential but very little in the way of social or occupational success. It’s a life of excuses and deceptions. Narcissistic and Antisocial “losers” often promise romantic cruises that never take place or have a reason that their partner needs to place an automobile in his/her name. Their lives are often accompanied by financial irresponsibility, chronic unemployment, legal difficulties, and unstable living situations in the community. Their behavior often emotionally exhausts those around them — something the Personality Disorder explains with “My family and I have had a falling out.” We can be assured that no matter what “real life” situation is present in the life of the Personality Disorder, there will be a justification and excuse for it.

Manipulation is away of life

To obtain our daily personal, social, and emotional needs, a healthy individual has a variety of strategies to use including taking personal action, politely asking someone, making deals, being honest, etc. Healthy individuals also use manipulation as one of many social skills — buying someone a gift to cheer them up, making comments and giving hints that something is desired, etc. For the Personality Disorder, despite the many social strategies available, manipulation is their preferred method of obtaining their wants and needs. The manipulations of a Personality Disorder –when combined with shallow emotions, entitlement, and being self-centered — can be extreme. To obtain their goals, an Antisocial Personality may physically threaten, harass, intimidate, and assault those around them. Histrionic Personalities may create dramatic situations, threaten self-harm, or create social embarrassment. Narcissistic Personalities may send police and an ambulance to your home if you don’t answer their phone calls, using the excuse that they were concerned about you. Their real goal is to ensure you that their phone calls must be answered or you will pay the consequences. Borderline Personalities may self-injure in your physical presence. In a relationship with a Personality Disorder, we are constantly faced with a collection of schemes, situations, manipulations, and interactions that have a hidden agenda…their agenda.


Intimacy is Impaired, Relationships are Impaired or Shallow, Superficial

Because of their impaired emotions, especially empathy, they have a hard time connecting with other people. They typically view other people as objects to be manipulated to get what they want. They don’t view you as a fully feeling, thinking, functioning individual in your own right. And that impairs their ability to relate to you. Their emotions are typically superficial, as are their relationships. They may have many acquaintances, but few, if any, people who are truly close to them.

They may also compartmentalize their relationships. They may show you one part of themselves, but not others. They will show someone else another side of them, but not the part they show to you. And they will often keep people who know them separate from each other.
This results from their Mask of Normalcy (see below). They are chameleons who become whatever you need them to be, so they appear differently to everyone. Also, since they are splitters and manipulators, they expect you to be the same way, so they keep everyone in their lives separate so they cannot compare notes.

 

Manipulation As A Way of Life

To obtain our daily personal, social, and emotional needs, a healthy individual has a variety of strategies to use including taking personal action, politely asking someone, making deals, being honest, etc. Healthy individuals also use manipulation as one of many social skills — buying someone a gift to cheer them up, making comments and giving hints that something is desired, etc. For the Personality Disorder, despite the many social strategies available, manipulation is their preferred method of obtaining their wants and needs. The manipulations of a Personality Disorder –when combined with shallow emotions, entitlement, and being self-centered — can be extreme. To obtain their goals, an Antisocial Personality may physically threaten, harass, intimidate, and assault those around them. Histrionic Personalities may create dramatic situations, threaten self-harm, or create social embarrassment. Narcissistic Personalities may send police and an ambulance to your home if you don’t answer their phone calls, using the excuse that they were concerned about you. Their real goal is to ensure you that their phone calls must be answered or you will pay the consequences. Borderline Personalities may self-injure in your physical presence. In a relationship with a Personality Disorder, we are constantly faced with a collection of schemes, situations, manipulations, and interactions that have a hidden agenda…their agenda.

 

Narcissistic Supply

From Quora:
in his split view of the world there is the strong and the weak, the good and the bad, the winner and the loser and so on in infinite dimensions.
He needs to be first. He needs to feel superior. not being first is perceived as devastatingly unacceptable, like death, trigger deep fear of rejection and rage, to be vent on the critic or anyone who is perceived as safe/weak target.
Supply refers to anything that confirms him “you are superior”, you are right you are good you are special and so on, generally they have a preferred dimension, like knowledge or power or money. A lambo, a sexy girl, a Ph.D. in astrophysics, a fat bank account can all serve the purpose.
People of his gang is also required to mirror the boss grandiosity, to make him feel better is the true reason they are around, especially when life brings the bill.

Narcissistic individuals need other people’s help to manage their shaky self-esteem. Psychologists and other mental health professionals use the term “Narcissistic Supplies” as short-hand for all the varied things that tend to make Narcissists feel good about themselves. Here some of the common ones that most Exhibitionist Narcissists value:
Agreement: Narcissists love being told that they are right (and hate being wrong).
Praise: Narcissists want to be the best at everything. They love being praised: “You are the smartest person that I know.” “You were so right about…(fill in the blank).
Awards and Titles: Narcissist love public recognition in tangible form.
Winning: Narcissists want to be the best at everything. Therefore, whenever they win a competition of any kind, they feel better about themselves. Being a winner is one of their major goals in life.
Idealization: Narcissists enjoy being put on a pedestal and worshipped.
High Status: Status is extremely important to all Narcissists. They value having all markers that indicate they have high status. They will try to get close to other people who they consider to have high Status and buy objects considered high status in their group as ways of enhancing their own self-esteem.

Rage

Narcissistic rage.  

Social Disruption

There is never a calm, peaceful, and stable relationship with a Cluster B Personality Disorder! Their need to be the center of attention and control those around them ensures a near-constant state of drama, turmoil, discord, and distress. An individual with a Personality Disorder creates drama and turmoil in almost every social situation. Holidays, family reunions, outings in the community, travel, and even grocery shopping are often turned into a social nightmare. The Personality Disorder also creates disruption in their family system. They are the focus of feuds, grudges, bad feelings, jealousy, and turmoil. If you have a member of your family that you hate to see arrive at a family reunion or holiday dinner — he or she probably has a Personality Disorder.