My disastrous relationships with others (Narcissists included)

I've started a new thread because replies disappear in old/long threads.

Do we attract Narcissists, because we are gullible and vulnerable?

I was going to write a book about my distant cousin ( on my father's side), Miss B who is an extreme example of a sociopath/Narcissist.  Here I will give a few examples of my experiences with her in no particular order.

She's not all bad, by being around her and observing her social skills in manipulating other people.  I learnt a lot about dealing with people on a day to day basis.

I first met her when she was 16.  when she came to our family for a holiday and her extreme traits were visible even then.  Such as vindictiveness, never turn the other cheek, lateral thinking in getting your way or your own back ( even if it hurts the innocent),  blatant lying, being positive to the point of living in a fantasy world. Greed for money.

In Feb 2005 she came for her fifth visit.  At the time I was my mother's full time carer,  my father had passed away a couple of years before.  She wrote a letter  to my mother informing her of her arrival.  My mother wrote back twice asking her not to come. It was winter, weather was terrible, we both had flu's and colds, maybe wait till summer!

She came anyway, moved in with suitcases and refused to say why she came or how long she was intending to stay.  Just laughed when we asked.

Soon she told us about how her family had persuaded her to take out a mortgage on a flat in a new complex being built.  And since they were now part of the EU. Property prices were expected to rise rapidly and she needed £50,000 to pay of the mortgage.  Every day she was talking about needing £50,000 to pay off her mortgage.

After two weeks the atmosphere in the  house was getting worse and worse.  All she talked about was the 50,000 she needed to pay off her mortgage.  And accusing us in a temper of 'what kind of family are you!' who won't help!, Yelling at us that if my father was still alive, he would have given her the money by now, and she wouldn't even need to ask.

Shouting at my mother that all she does is sit on her backside all day watching television, getting a pension to live on and other people do everything for her!

We asked her to move out.  She refused and told us that it was up to us to find her a job, find her somewhere to live. Pay her rent and all her expenses.  Otherwise she won't go.

After a couple of months she left.  She and a friend moved into a flat share with two others.  She was very very positive on how wonderful life was, how wonderful the flat share was. How great and generous every one of her flat mates were.   All, very very positive and over the top flattery!!!!!

A month later, around 10pm she turned up, dishevelled, eyes red.  And asked me to pay her monthly rent.  It turns out that her flat mates had spent days asking her for her share of the rent.  And if she didn't pay up, then her suitcases would be out in the street in the morning 

I reminded her how she had told me a month ago how the four of them had agreed to share the flat, the rent and expenses, splitting everything four ways.

She explained that, that she never made an agreement and that was a joke.  When she made a verbal agreement to split the rent and bills. She was only joking.  That her fellow flatmates were a bunch of nutters with no senses of humour, who couldn't take a joke. And she wouldn't pay a penny for living in that f-__#@ s@#£&hole.

To cut this story short I paid the next three months rent for her.  To stop her moving back in with us.

She eventually did a runner from that flat owing several months rent and all bills unpaid.  This was repeated several times.

She did move back in with us the following year and that stay was even worse.

Breaking now for breakfast.

  • Crikey - that sounds like an awful experience.  I was going to say that she sounds a little like my sister-in-law, but even she's not that bad.  But yes... vindictive, manipulative, deceitful, well-versed in ways of besting people even when they're in the right.  If you believe something that she disagrees with, it's not that you simply hold a different point of view.  You're just wrong.  We've had several nasty fights in the past - for which I've usually ended up apologising, even though she was the instigator.  And, of course, that makes me even more vulnerable to her.  She can't forgive and forget.  She harbours grudges.  She's always on the lookout for ways to get her own back, or to justify her standpoint.  When I was mum's full-time carer, she was always - whenever she called in - looking for things that I might have done wrong, or that I might have overlooked.  There was never any trust that, as a trained carer (whereas all she's ever been is a shop-keeper), I knew precisely what I was doing.  She always knew better!

    I wonder if we do attract narcissists.  I've had relationships with two of them, and each time have been left weakened and more vulnerable afterwards.  Each time, too, I've been left feeling like the true culprit.  The first one said to me that no one else would ever take up with me because 'you have far too many issues.'  The second one refused to accept that my behaviour was in any way a response to hers - even though she was lazy, messy and manipulative.  The day she moved in with me, she sat down and said 'Right... these are the ground rules.'  I should have backed out right then!  But I was in love with her, and she knew it - so I was putty in her hands.

    With my sister-in-law, I sensed from the very first day I met her that she was someone I might need to be very careful around.  It's an instinct garnered from years of being around bullying people.  You get to know the type.  You always feel like you're being sized up, assessed: like they're looking for flaws, or for things they can later exploit to their advantage.

    It's why I steer clear of other people as much as I can now.  Even at work, where I have no choice but to be with others, I'm very wary around my colleagues.  And virtually every day, something gets said that ticks me off and, later, gets me obsessing about why I didn't come back at it and make a better pitch for myself.  I just can't handle confrontations like that, though.  Even if I'm in the right about something, I don't like coming back in case it creates a negative impression of me for the other person - something that they'll then later exploit.  It's no wonder I'm a people-pleaser - pleasing everyone, except myself.

  • Had breakfast, more experiences.

    She was also a serial returner to shops.

    I feel shy and awkward about returning goods to shops and asking for exchanges or money back.

    She had no inhibitions.  Bought dresses, skirts, trousers, jackets and shoes.  Wear for about a week.  Return to shop with flimsy excuse, get money back, go next door buy new clothes.

    My mother suggested that she rent clothes instead of buying them.  Her reaction was immediate of disgust, that she would never wear second hand / used clothes!

    After a time things go wrong.  The shop staff recognise her straight away and their body language says it.  'it's her again!'

    She started asking me to return goods to shops on her behalf.  

    Another problem, especially with shoes was that the shops stood their ground and refused.  Mark's and Spencer have a very generous returns policy but they will only accept goods in a resellable condition.  She had worn their shoes for over three weeks and the soles were well worn.  M& S refused to accept them back.  She tried multiple times with different staff and eventually brought me to back her up.  But they still refused.

    Her determination to get her money back didn't waver.  She eventually gave the shoes away as a birthday present.  So instead of buying a birthday present for someone, she gave her own used/unwanted shoes.  Then she boasted about it.  My mother called her a disgusting pig when she heard about it.

    In another small independent shop she wanted to exchange knee high boots for ones of a slightly different design after one day.  The manager refused.  Told her that the boots were fine and she couldn't just change her mind and keep exchanging shoes.  We were both multilingual, so changed languages and she clearly said to me that she's a good judge of character and the shop manager will back down.  It's just a matter of time and he will break.  I WILL BREAK HIM, is what she actually said.

    For the next hour we sat in the shop with her moaning and groaning and complaining about her boots and wanting the other pair.  Eventually he told his young assistant to give her what she wants and he walked out of the shop for some fresh air.  During this hour she had changed her mind again and we exchanged these £50 boots for £75 boots and the shop assistant didn't ask for the £25 difference.

    Then there was the £165 silk dress she wore to a wedding.

    After the large two day wedding with reception with dancing.  The dress had dirty black sweat marks. So couldn't be returned as unworn. We went to the local launderette/dry cleaners.  She explained to the manager how important the dress was, how it had to be cleaned to look like new, so it could be returned to the shop.  And if dress was damaged in any way or not accepted by the shop as new.  Then HE WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FULL COST OF THE DRESS.  She was really shouting at him and added. "DO YOU UNDERSTAND????".   

    He told her to take her dress and GET OUT.

    A few weeks later I saw the man and he wanted to know where I found her?  That he was experienced at dealing with dissatisfied customers because it was part of the job.  But he had never had a customer shouting and screaming threats at him,. Before he had even done the cleaning.

  • Thank you, Robert123. These anecdotes are incredibly useful.

    I am very sorry to hear that you and your mother have had such an awful time with such people.