One of the Most Important Things I Learned about Narcissism

One of the most significant roles we can fulfill in our own lives is that of aware witness.
We can not always control and change everything to our liking, of course.
Often, it is not our place to do so.
But, what we can always do is watch and observe with awareness.
This is a gift we give ourselves, because our awareness is our route to understanding ourselves and the dynamics in which we exist.

I have the opportunity to witness narcissistic behavior in a specific dynamic that affects my life.
One of the most startling observations that has emerged for me is simply this:

You are a part of the narcissist’s life. The narcissist has no interest in being part of yours.

This is likely to seem shockingly obvious, but I have missed this for years.

It was not until I saw some examples of my stepchildren and their mother that I thought “Oh my gosh. They are expected to be a part of her life. She feels no true responsibility to be a part of their lives (beyond normal care- clothing, food, some basic engagement, etc.) ”

These children are expected to embrace their Mother’s life. They are to understand what she is thinking, feeling, and why her expectations are what they are. They are to participate in her events and her agendas.

She feels no true obligation to do likewise for them. Sure, she “mothers” to a point. But, she would never think to go out of her way to get to know their friends or extend herself in that way.

Although I do not know her well, I believe this behavior extends beyond her children and I have seen examples in how she treats me.

Never once would it occur to her that I “mother” these children for 1/2 of their lives, that I am busy professional, who also must balance work/”motherhood” and all that being a woman entails.

In a different context, we could maybe bond over our similarities and the difficulties/joys inherent in the dynamic. However, that would require her to engage and participate in an understanding of my life.

This is impossible for someone with narcissistic behaviors.

You exist to be a part of their life. The symbiosis most of us experience in relationships is completely lacking in them.

They see no need to be a part of your life. They don’t even see you have a life, apart from serving them.

Please save yourself the time and energy of trying to get a narcissist to engage in your life and understand you and your perspective.

Other than your engagement in their life, you simply do not exist to them.


21 thoughts on “One of the Most Important Things I Learned about Narcissism

  1. Ah, yes, for me, this was my childhood. Those children are so blessed to have you in their lives. This may be particularly true as they grow older (I don’t know how old they are). Good for you hanging in there and working around her.

    • Ahh…sadly, i bet you do see this with your children and ex-. these individuals are clueless as to how little they truly relate to their children. It NEVER is about the children and what the children truly need. I am so sorry you have to witness this.

  2. thank you for sharing this on your blog, I am seeing this action between my eldest child and his father. I have begged for years for my now x husband to engage with our family especially our son to no avail. Total waist of time. I also recongnise it in my own relationship with my own mother.

    • Glad my posting could help. It is so very difficult to witness this disconnect between parent and child. You can’t even discuss these behaviors with the parent because they simply are not open to learning and growing. I wish you son well.

  3. Great ah-ha moment Kim!
    I am a daughter of a Narcissist and have gone through this painful journey for most of my life. Narcissists do need others in their lives in order to reflect back to them how important they are.
    The bottom line is their inability to empathize with an other human being. They can see only themselves. They see others only through their own feelings and beliefs about the world. They can’t put themselves into an other’s shoes or understand what someone else is thinking or feeling. They see the world through their own eyes.
    There is a place beyond the pain. When we can forgive the hurt and be a witness without judgment. Then we come to see how this person can never be whole or spiritual. They only have their own ego and a partial view of the world. How incredibly sad that they are have not developed beyond this … and never will.
    They are possibly the most imperfect of human beings. How ironic that they have to cling to the belief that they are perfect.
    Val x
    p.s. Perhaps you could visit my other blog There is a lot of insight about narcissistic mothers.

    • HI Val,
      This comment was so informative. First, I had no idea you had another blog. I thank you so much for passing it along.
      It is a painful journey to interact with these types. But I like what you say about moving beyond the pain. I think I am in the first phase of that- the awareness and acknowledgement of the pain.
      When we deny such pain, we end up being caught in a never ending cycle.
      I hope we can all continue to help one another on our journeys of healing.

  4. I often wonder how they truly feel INSIDE about themselves. They must feel really empty to always be trying to fill themselves up the way they do. Kind of like they’ve lost sight of their soul. A pitiful existence, never to feel fulfilled, an endless, insatiable hunger. Sounds like hell to me.

  5. How true is that! A narcissist has no interest in part of your life. I almost could feel you totally regarding your frustration. For you to be so affected and with strong emotions, it shows you are possibly the best mum to your step-kids. I think this reality and analysis is good to direct how you should treat the narcissist. You are not part of her life and she’s not part of yours to be frank. Just do what you think is right and pretend she’s an obstacle or just a stranger which you have to ignore or right everything that goes wrong due to her.

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