It is difficult to deal with a narcissist when you are a grown, independent, fully functioning adult. The children of narcissists have an especially difficult burden, for they lack the knowledge, power, and resources to deal with their narcissistic parents without becoming their victims. Whether cast into the role of Scapegoat or Golden Child, the Narcissist's Child never truly receives that to which all children are entitled: a parent's unconditional love. Start by reading the 46 memories--it all began there.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Reprocessing the memories—even when you can’t remember

Many ACoNs have trouble remembering significant portions of their childhoods. Some of us have specific periods of time inaccessible to us, others have the details of a significant event unavailable—even the significant event itself may be shrouded in darkness. Researchers believe that most people remember very little of their childhoods before the age of 5 or 6 and memories from an earlier age likely fall into one of two categories: 1) “snapshot” memories, which are more like images than a full memory, and 2) false or created memories, often caused by having heard about an event and believing one is remembering it.
People who suffered abuse in childhood, however, tend to either remember things vividly, or have little memory of their childhoods at all. I fall into the former category: clear and vivid recall. Researchers caution us that very early childhood memories that unfold in a cohesive pattern, like a movie, are most likely false because real memories formed in the pre- or early verbal stage tend to be retained in “snapshots.” They also say that females are more likely to have early recall (true recall) that males but that is attributed to the way in which their mothers interacted with them: normal mothers tend to more fulsome in their communication with their daughters, thereby creating a more colourful, complete memory in the child.
There is much about childhood memory and memory retrieval that researchers do not yet know but one thing is for certain: they have not done extensive studies on ACoNs, people who were abused by their parents—and primarily their mothers—to determine how early childhood trauma at the hand of their parents has affected the retention and retrieval of memories. What follows is NOT scientifically validated information, merely my personal speculations on the subject.

I often use myself as an example in this blog because my case, my situation, is the one I know best. My mother was a neglectful, physically and emotionally abusive parent. I have only one memory before the age of three, and it has been validated by my father as a real memory. I experience the memory in first person—like a dream—and it started out as a series of snapshots. At first they were too fleeting to actually hold long enough to explore. But over time I was able to “grab” a snapshot here and there and examine it. Finally, after a few years, I presented to my father a narrative, pulled together as an adult, made from those snapshots. And he said that it happened and that the truck I remember he sold when I was around 2 years old.
For a while each revisit of the memory brought a detail hadn’t noticed before—I knew, for example, that I was in a truck—like a semi—but I had no clear details of either the interior or exterior. Subsequent recollections of the memory revealed the truck was dark blue, the upholstery was tan and textured like corduroy, there was a knob on the steering wheel, and the air-horn was activated by a beaded brass chain that was draped like a swag from the roof of the cab. The first part of the memory I could access was me, both hands on the chain, my feet pulled up so I was hanging on the chain, and the sound of the air horn. My father later told me that I loved pulling air horn chain, I would ride with him to the sawmill when he took logs in. That piece of information—the sawmill—suddenly evoked the smell of freshly-cut lumber and the smell of pitch. Closing my eyes I saw a fat, round little pot-bellied stove with a fire burning in it and beside it a pile of pine lumber off cuts—the source of the pitch smell. None of the houses we had lived in had pot-bellied stoves like the one I could see in my mind—but the office in the sawmill did. In another recall of the memory I was riding in the truck, standing on the seat, and saw a dead cow in a ditch and it was more or less on its back, the body bloated, its legs sticking up in the air. My father specifically remembered that when I asked him about it—he knew who owned the cow and said he had explained to me that the cow would pop like a balloon if someone poked it, which I found rather gross.
Additional visits from the memory brought added clarification because once I could access it without it flitting away I could stitch together the various related snapshots and “see” it long enough to examine it. I learned I was wearing corduroy pants—dark blue—but never determined what kind of coat or shirt I was wearing. My father always wore a plaid Pendleton jacket, so I may have just stuck that on him in this memory. I realized the interior of the truck, the dash, was painted metal—grey metal—and that this was a “city cab,” i.e., it did not have a sleeper. I remember my grandmother’s house as it was then—with a chimney going up the side of the house and no picture windows and that it was painted a kind of industrial pea-green. All details my father confirmed. (We moved away from that house shortly after I turned 2 and did not return until after the house had been remodelled and the fireplace removed and picture windows installed on that side of the house.)
It was many years after we left the farm that I started having those fleeting little flashes of what I took to be either a memory or a dream (although I was awake). It took over of year of trying to capture those flashes long enough extract something my mind could hold onto for more than a fraction of a second. Once I was able to do that, however, it became increasingly easier to stop one of the snapshots as it raced through my consciousness. And ultimately, I was able to present to my father a pastiche of these little snapshots, a collage of memory fragments stitched together by reason, and get the shock of my life: it was not a product of my “vivid imagination,” to quote my mother, it was a real memory from the age of 2, shortly after my brother was born (I was 22 months when he was born).
This was not a traumatic memory and that may explain why I was able to access it at easily as I did. But when I examined the detail that I was eventually able to capture, I began to realize that I had very few memories from my childhood, most of them were bad memories, and most of them were skeletal in scope. I remembered a dress that my mother had sewed for me for a school pageant-type event, that I liked very much. For a time it was my favourite dress and then it became relegated to the back of the closet, I did not want to see it anymore, and I was glad to come home from school one day and find my closet had been raided and the offending dress had been give to the Goodwill. But I could not remember why that dress had fallen out of favour. And try as I might, I could not raise anything other than a sense of revulsion when I tried to examine what little I remembered of the dress.
Then one day, years later (2009, to be exact), I went out to my kitchen to make myself a sandwich. I made it, took one bite out of it, decided I didn’t want it after all, and took a paper towel from the roll and folded it around the sandwich in preparation for putting it in the refrigerator. And suddenly I was 13 years old again, standing in my mother’s kitchen and she had a sandwich in her hand—with one bite out of it and wrapped in a paper towel—and she was screaming at me. In a matter of seconds the whole scene flashed through my head—being hit, waking up on the floor, being terrified of being late for school—it was all there like it had just happened that morning. And I knew it wasn’t a fake memory because once it was in my consciousness, I remembered the whole thing.
My first act was to sit down at the computer and write it down. Fingers flying, I wrote as fast as I could and, right in the middle of my reminiscences, another memory popped up. I wanted to write about it next, but it slipped away. While I wrote that first memory, perhaps an hour of typing time, half a dozen more memories flitted through my mind, most of them little fragments of memory that needed capturing and examining, like my memory of the truck.
As I finished writing The Sandwich, another memory popped into my head. I had called the school nurse to help me avoid getting marked tardy—something that would get me a beating if it showed up on my report card—and having the nurse come to mind sparked another memory, this one about a toothache. I started writing about that and more tantalizing bits of my childhood emerged from hiding and swirled around in my head, each one more provocative than the one before. Some were actual memories, presented and absorbed in a single flash, others were fragments that needed chasing and teasing out: all of them were pieces of my lost childhood.
Eventually I placed a notepad and pen to the right of the computer while I wrote. While writing The Toothache I was inundated with memories, almost as if a door into my past had suddenly opened and a torrent of forgotten experiences came flooding out. I would stop typing just long enough to jot down some key words—enough to call the memory back—then resume writing on the current topic. Over a period of a few weeks I recovered 46 memories from my childhood, 46 memories that had been utterly lost to me until I focussed on capturing and examining that first memory fragment.
I have given a lot of thought to the process I experienced and discovered a few things I consider to be important. First of all, even if we think we have forgotten our childhoods, odds are that we have not—we simply do not have access to the memories. Why we can’t access them is a question I cannot definitively answer, but I believe it has to do with our emotional stability, our ability to revisit events that involve a child in deep emotional pain and not break down. Since I went through a couple of profound depressions that included suicidal thoughts (and two attempts), I believe my subconscious mind kept these events from my conscious mind until I was emotionally stable enough to revisit these events without breaking down.
Another thing I learned is that remembering these things is like a chain of events. The memories came back to me in no particular order—in one memory I might be nine years old, in the next, seventeen, and in the next, seven. They seem random until you realize that each memory had something in common with the next—and that link was not necessarily obvious. Writing about that toothache brought the nurse to mind and from that I recovered several memories in which she featured. From this I realized that the recovery of lost memories may be facilitated by taking a memory from your past and examining it closely—the more details you can recall the more chances you have of a link to another missing memory: each detail is a potential link to another memory that, in some way, shares that link.
What I found that was most important to me, however, was that in revisiting those old traumas, I became free of their emotional power. I sobbed through the writing of virtually every one of them and, re-reading them later, I cried again. And again. And then I realized that, because I was safe while writing and re-reading them, because I was not in the grip of the fear that characterized my interactions with my mother, those tears were healing. I eventually got to the point where I could read the memories from a semi-detached position: no longer feeling the pain of that abused child but feeling pain for her. It was a dramatic and therapeutic shift in my perspective.
I am sure a qualified therapist might be able to come up with an explanation for this phenomena, and her explanation may be very different from my own. But this is what I think: I think that my subconscious mind protected me from memories that had the potential to drive me to utter despair. When I no longer needed that protection, it started releasing the memories, a bit at a time, to my conscious mind. I think it is significant that the first memory to be recovered was 1) not traumatic, 2) from an almost pre-verbal time (so the memory was largely visual), 3) that the memory was literally seen from the eyes of the child (I did not see myself, like watching a movie, I was a character in that movie and could see things only from that perspective), and 4) it presented in disconnected fragments that I had to apply myself to seizing and examining. I spent nearly a year on this memory, piecing it together, confirming it with my father, examining the details like colours and textures and even smells. And then, because I didn’t know what to do to elicit more memories, the memory retrieval process went dormant. Until I inadvertently replicated a pivotal moment in the abuse I endured as a child—my mother knocked me unconscious and left me on the kitchen floor and went off to work—triggered by the shared image of a paper towel-wrapped sandwich with one bite out of it.
The value of links became instantly obvious to me. Nearly fifty years had passed since the incident with the sandwich but that image was iconic. It was the bridge between then and now—and the key to unlocking the memory of that particular episode of abuse. And each detail from each memory was a potential key for unlocking other memories.
Eventually memories just poured out of me. I didn’t need links or prompts or triggers, they just came. I had to make notes about each one so I could call the memory back when I was ready to write it down. I had 46 retrieved memories by the time their release had tapered off to a trickle. 

So what does this mean for you? It means that you can re-process the memories of childhood abuse from the perspective of an adult who 1) knows she is safe from the abuser; 2) knows how it ended—she didn’t die of shame or embarrassment or from an assault; 3) knows she will not be hurt this time around; 4) can now see, objectively, that the child is not at fault and who actually was. By revisiting these events today you can be properly outraged at an adult who would abuse a child, allow abuse of a child, encourage or abet the abuse of a child. You can see, from the more objective perspective of an observing adult, that the child was victimized and see how she was hurt and how those who did it were wrong. You can feel the feelings of that time, sure in the knowledge of the outcome. You can find parts of your childhood which are now lost to you by finding links from existing memories and reprocess them so that those memories are no longer sources of shame, pain, and terror.
Don’t expect to recover all of your childhood, however. Some things were never properly encoded by our brains in the first place and so they never went into long term memory storage. Some things your subconscious may continue to keep away from you due to their potential for causing you harm, even today. I, for example, have been terrified of putting my face in water since earliest childhood and am still unable to access the event(s) that triggered this fear. It could be the event took place so early in my existence that it was never encoded for proper memory (pre-verbal memories pretty much disappear before we reach adolescence) and since I cannot remember ever not having this fear, that is a distinct possibility. I know, from stories told me by my father and stepmother, that my father moved out of the family home, at my mother’s behest, when I was eight. He was gone the better part of a year—he had weekend visitation and saw me and my brother every second weekend during that year. He moved back in and broke up with his girlfriend when my mother decided to halt the divorce proceedings. And I have no recollection of him being gone from the home at all. I have many other memories around this age, but none of them include my father not living with us. Things were very volatile between my parents at this time so maybe my subconscious is shielding me from some devastating piece of information—and maybe my memory of this period has been conflated with a memory from two years later, when my father again moved out at my mother’s behest, took up with the old girlfriend, and never moved back in. I remember that one—I remember telling a teacher that my parents were getting a divorce, a scandalous thing in 1957, as an explanation for my being distracted in class. This I remember: the first separation I do not.
For me, the worst part of remembering and reprocessing was the realization that, at the time of the original events, I was so bound by fear that I could not make any choices other than the ones I did. I was so thoroughly terrorized by my mother that I responded mindlessly to that fear and made choices based on keeping information from her so that I would not suffer further at her hands. In making these kinds of choices I effectively victimized myself—not deliberately, of course, but those choices put me in harm’s way more than once. Growing up this way, I continued to make bad choices because I viewed myself as having only bad choices to choose from and I had even more limited goals: all I really wanted was to feel loved. And I made a lot of bad choices in pursuit of that goal.
But I find that now, years after I retrieved these memories and made myself journal them and process them, they have lost the power to hurt me. I no longer shy away from them, squirm in re-reading them, or even identify with that child. I am no longer that terrorized child, afraid of everything and nothing, perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop. I wouldn’t even go so far as to hold myself up as a paragon of healing from childhood abuse, but I would say that I have successfully figured some things out, that I have moved forward, and that I have discovered some useful tools,  like recovering lost childhood memories through seeking out linking details in those things I can recall.
You might want to give it a try…

Friday, May 3, 2019

Entitlement—you, me, and the narcissist

We all know that one of the hallmarks of narcissism is an overweening sense of entitlement, but just what does the word “entitlement” actually mean? The Oxford English Dictionary first defines it as “the fact of having a right to something[1].” That doesn’t seem very pernicious, does it? In fact, it sounds quite reasonable—don’t we all have rights to certain things, like Human Rights?
Scanning further down the OED entry, however, we come across this little entry: “The belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment[2].” Now that sounds more like the narcissist’s sense of entitlement. The American Psychiatric Association includes entitlement in its diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistics Manual. The fifth revision states: “Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert, self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others…” and “…personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement [3]” The fourth revision of the manual stated it even more clearly: “Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.[4]
To feel entitled is to believe you have a right to something. And we do have rights to some things, both by law and by the social contract of your culture in addition to the “human rights” to which all of us are entitled. The narcissist, however, believes that s/he has rights that the rest of us do not have, rights that advantage him over you, an absolute right to have what he wants regardless of the cost to others. This kind of entitlement is what I call “toxic entitlement.”
Narcissists defend this entitlement very vigorously. They get angry and indignant if you even hint that they are not entitled to whatever it is they think they are entitled to. And those entitlements can be bizarre to the rest of us: my NexH, Jack gave a perfect example when he accidentally ran a red light with a police car behind him and the cop didn’t pull him over. Jack took this as a sign that it was okay for him to run red lights and so he deliberately ran another one, the cop still behind him and, of course, he was pulled over and ticketed. When he got home, he was livid—in Jack’s mind, the fact that the cop didn’t pull him over the first time meant it was okay for him (not anybody else, mind you, just him) to blow red lights. When the cop pulled him over, Jack genuinely felt betrayed—in his mind, the cop had given him permission, Jack acted on that permission, then the cop betrayed him by giving him a ticket. He insisted that the cop had deliberately set him up so he could write him a ticket and “fill his quota.” It never occurred to Jack that the cop may have been distracted the first time and didn’t see him run the light or maybe it was the cop’s end of shift and he didn’t want the hassle of a stop and writing up a citation. Nope—in Jack’s narcissistic mind, he was entitled to run that second light because the cop didn’t punish him for running the first one, and to cite him for the second light was unfair, unjust, and police entrapment.
Jack had a lot of entitlement issues—there was the time that the Highway Patrol had set up a duck pond—very visible, with police cars parked right out in the open and officers standing in plain sight with ticket books in their hands—for drivers who were turning a one lane freeway on-ramp into a two lane ramp by driving in the shoulder. Every car that tried to access the freeway via the shoulder of the ramp was flagged down and the driver given a ticket. Most drivers were obediently staying in the marked lane while the cops were there and the few who were arrogant enough to try using the shoulder were duly pulled over and cited. Jack, of course, got cited for being in the shoulder despite seeing what was going on because he believed he was entitled to use the shoulder. Why? Because he had been using it for a year and nobody had told him he couldn’t. But the story doesn’t end there—the following day, Jack did it again—in front of the cops who were standing there with ticket books in hand—and got another citation, which made him red-in-the-face, eye-poppingly, foaming-at-the-mouth mad. How dare they give him another ticket? They gave him one yesterday, wasn’t that enough? Now, lest you think Jack was perhaps a little bit thick, the guy was a brilliant engineer with a genius-level IQ: he was just a narcissist who believed that he—not everybody—was entitled to drive that shoulder.
Narcissistic parents create the same kinds of bizarre entitlements that accrue to themselves only. My NM used to tell me “parents are entitled to the fruits of their children’s labours” as a way of justifying turning me into an unpaid servant (literally my labour) and taking and keeping money that came my way, especially money I got for singing (she put me in contests, talent shows, and even arranged guest performances at bars and nightclubs when I was between the ages of 6 and 9), money I earned picking crops in the summer, and money I earned with my after-school job. Any objection I raised (in those rare moments when my indignation was stronger than my fear of her) was met with a smug “Who do you think paid for all those singing lessons [that I didn’t want] or the roof over your head and the food you eat?” That, of course, is irrefutable, since she did pay for all of those things but, being a child, I had no idea that I was actually entitled to those things and she was not entitled to recompense off the sweat of my brow.
Perhaps the worst entitlement that a narcissist parent puts on their children is the never-ending entitlement. From my earliest childhood, from the very day I learned that I could be legally free of her once I turned 18, that was my goal in life—to be 18 and get away from her. What I could not have anticipated was that, in her narcissistic mind, she was free of her obligations towards me but I was not free of my obligations to her. Many of us bump our noses on this particular bit of narcissistic entitlement, the idea that our Ns are entitled to remain in our lives, in whatever capacity they choose, for as long as they choose to be.
An ignoring NM, like mine, will let you go—sometimes for years—without popping back into your life until there is something they want from you. I got married six weeks before Christmas and moved into my own place, just 17 years old, and that year I received nothing from my mother—not even a phone call or a Christmas card. In fact, I didn’t receive so much as a letter from her for several years and she showed no interest in me and mine until a situation emerged in which I had something that she desperately wanted. Then she became my mother and a doting grandmother to my kids.
Despite their feelings of entitlement, most narcissists are not stupid enough to think that everybody else agrees with their entitlement. This is where manipulation comes in: they manipulate situations, perceptions, and information to support their feelings of entitlement. If manipulation doesn’t work as well as they had hoped, they will tell outright lies, fabrications that will bring about the desired result. All of this stems from entitlement: they believe they not only have an absolute right to whatever they want, they also believe they have an unfettered right to do whatever is necessary to get what they want because you are in the wrong to withhold it from them. This is key: you are in the wrong when you prevent a narcissist of from getting what she wants and that, which the narcissist takes as fact, is what allows the narcissist undertake the most awful actions without a shred of remorse or sense of wrongdoing: they believe what they are doing is not only right, they believe they have an unfettered right to do it.
When you, yourself, do not feel an inflated sense of entitlement, when you don’t know what that feels like, it can be difficult to grasp what it actually means. I often hear people say things like “I don’t know how she sleeps at night…” or “her conscience must be eating her alive” when speaking about the behaviour of a narcissist. When we do that, we are projecting how we would feel—we would find it difficult to sleep at night, our conscience would interfere with our sleep—onto a person who does not share those feelings with us, who may actually be incapable of sharing those feelings of conscience and remorse. What we don’t understand is that the narcissist feels just as entitled to fuck us over, to manipulate us, to take what she wants from us, as we feel entitled to receive a pay check at the end of a pay period. The fact that she did not earn that right like we earned the pay check is immaterial: she feels just as entitled and believes her entitlement to just as valid as you feel about your pay check. And if someone stands in her way, she feels just as indignant as you or I would feel if we found our pay arbitrarily shorted.
Your narcissist truly believes she has a right to anything she decides the wants, including things that belong to others. Ordinary people like you and me take our sense of entitlement from our culture and its rules: our laws and our customs tell us what we are entitled to and, by and large, we accept that. We know that it is wrong to steal, for example, and even thieves know it is wrong to steal, they just choose to do it anyway. The narcissist thinks differently, however. The narcissist believes she has an absolute right to have or do whatever she wants, even while acknowledging that other people might think it is wrong. Peculiar to the narcissistic mind, the narcissist believes the rules apply to you and me and that we are wrong to violate them, but she, the narcissist, is the exception: she sees herself as literally above the rules of her society and culture. In the narcissist’s eyes, you and I need to abide by those rules because 1) we are not special like she is and, 2) it makes us predictable to the narcissist, giving her the advantage of being able to fairly accurately predict our behaviour and reactions. But they don’t need to abide by them because they are special, they are above the petty rules of society—they are entitled.
But they aren’t stupid—they know that there are penalties for violating the rules, assuming they are caught, and so they manipulate. Lying is an effective form of manipulation and they use it without a hint of conscience. Your own mother can, with a straight face and sincere expression, tell your grandmother that you are a prostitute or a drug dealer or mentally ill or a host of other horrifying things that will not only turn your grandmother against you, it will make Granny worry about the safety of your children. Your mother can tell these lies to a judge, jerking out a tear here and there for effect, along with a big lie about how she worries for your children, what if they get up one morning and find you dead on the floor with a needle in your arm? The fact that this kind of thing has actually happened and been featured in news reports all over the globe doesn’t help you—even though the strongest non-prescription drug you take is the occasional aspirin—and it alarms your FOO to the degree that there is a good chance that your narcissist can enlist one of them the lie and give false evidence against you in court, rationalizing that it is ok to break the law against perjury in order to save those innocent little kids from the trauma of finding their hooked hooker of a mother dead on the floor one morning.
Narcissists have no conscience. If getting custody of your children is her objective, she not only honestly believes she is entitled to have custody of them, she also truly believes that she is entitled to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. And, as much as we don’t want to admit it, there are narcissists who use the sexual assault laws to punish people who don’t bend to their will or who do not behave as the narcissist expected, believing themselves entitled to do so because that is what was necessary to get what they want. Nothing is off the table for a narcissist, as long as she can maintain plausible deniability or shift blame onto someone else. The woman who falsely accused my friend of sexual assault in order to escape conviction for assault and property damage, laid the groundwork for shifting blame even as she testified against my friend. She blamed her late filing of the complaint on “bad advice from another [conveniently unnamed] lawyer” while she was in jail, thereby creating plausible deniability if someone later accuses her of misusing the sexual crimes laws for personal gain: that unnamed lawyer told her she had a case, otherwise she wouldn’t have filed it.
What is important for us to remember when it comes to narcissists and entitlement is that narcissists do not see things the same way we do. They honestly believe they are entitled—they have a right—to have whatever they want and anyone who tries to stand in their way is wrong and, if they succeed in keeping the narcissist from her goal, deserves punishment. It never occurs to the narcissist that she is not entitled to what she wants any more than it would occur to you that you were not entitled to take a walk around your block if that appeals to you. And, just as you would feel wronged if a couple of thugs tried to prevent you from walking on the public sidewalk, the narcissist feels wronged if you try to prevent her from having what she wants, whether it is your husband, your children, credit for your idea, or your time, efforts and expertise.
Being special and entitled, the narcissist truly believes she should not have to pay for your services, whether you are a wedding planner or an accountant or you bake and decorate beautiful cakes as a hobby: you should be honoured to give them to her for free. She does not feel obligated to respect you or anything about you, from your marriage to your parental rights to your ownership rights of everything from your earrings to your clothing to your car and home. A narcissistic mother will rearrange your kitchen cupboards, closets and furniture, a narcissistic sister will “borrow” your clothes and jewellery, a narcissistic “friend” will seduce your husband and blame you, saying it’s not her fault that you can’t keep your man satisfied… They will do these things—and more—believing that they are doing nothing wrong because, while they acknowledge that society has a set of standards, they do not accept that those standards apply to them. In fact, it is not uncommon to hear a narcissist say something like “Well I have my truth…” that truth being what serves the narcissist, even if it is diametrically opposed to the objective truth. Narcissists have their own sense of right and wrong and what serves them is right and what does not serve them is wrong. The narcissist is just as convinced that she is entitled to whatever she wants and those who obstruct her are wronging her as you are convinced that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.
It is called entitlement and it is a sincere belief that the entitled person has an absolute right to whatever s/he wants and any action taken to secure the entitlement is justified by the existence of the entitlement. You and I know that is just so much convoluted, self-serving bullshit but the narcissist doesn’t see it that way: she’s not kidding, she’s not even over-the-top: she is entitled and will break every rule in the book—and every person who stands in her way—to get what she wants because she believes in her entitlement and will move heaven and earth—often in small, passive-aggressive and painful ways—to get it. And any hurt you suffer is just collateral damage for which she takes no responsibility.
It is important to grasp this, to wrap your head around the idea, that his narcissistic mistress truly believes you are in the wrong because you aren’t the wife she thinks he should have—as such you are not entitled to anything beyond the roof over your head (and she will work to deprive you of that) while she is entitled to champagne suppers and expensive sparklies. She will have no sense of guilt that your kids are deprived of music lessons or a trip to camp because the money was spent on her—she will only feel bad that she had to give up on that Christmas trip to Aruba because he decided to spend the money on his kids. Your narcissistic co-worker will not feel bad about stealing your idea and presenting it to the boss as his own and he has no compunctions against calling you a liar when you tell the boss the truth: your co-worker has his own truth and that is that he thought of it first, even if you were the one who voiced it first. Your narcissistic neighbour doesn’t care that your lawn is pocked with yellow spots where his dog pees, or that his cats use your carefully-tended flower beds for litter boxes, digging up your newly planted greenery—he is pleased that he doesn’t have to clean up after them himself and proud for having found a way to make you do it. For the narcissist, life is a series of triumphs, of getting one over on the next guy, either to advantage himself or to relieve himself of something onerous. She doesn’t care if your brother goes to prison for three years on a bogus sexual assault charge, just as long as she isn’t convicted of assaulting him and damaging his car. She doesn’t care if your business goes belly-up because she failed to pay for the goods and services you provided to her and now you can’t pay your suppliers. It doesn’t affect her so she simply does not think about it and, when she does, she is pleased with herself for having succeeded, for her cleverness, for her superiority. She is, after all, entitled to it all...

1.      Oxford English Dictionary. “Entitlement.” First accessed April 25, 2019.
2.      Ibid.
3.      American Psychiatric Association. “DSM-IV and DSM-5 Criteria for the Personality Disorders” First accessed April 25, 2019.
4.      Ibid.