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Today I had my first appointment with an actual therapist (not a counselor).
Even though one hour wasn't long enough to spew out everything I need to talk about, this woman completely picked up on 2 truly major points.
1) Even ONE of the stressors I have been dealing with over the last year is more than enough to warrant therapy!
2) I have been the "caregiver " for everyone in my family since I was 12 years old!


She asked me what I do for myself?
I had absolutely no answer!!
Hence therapy!! Lol


Caring for a narcissistic LO is a labor of love!


Not because they will love us back, but because we need to love ourselves!!
How do you keep caring selflessly for your selfish LO?


What do you do for yourself?


(((Hugs)))

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Piper,

I am praying for your situation. It does stink waiting to hear biopsy and test results. So sorry that your brother is facing surgery.

Take care.
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Still,

What you say is true. Either they didn’t know how to deal with it or were ashamed of it because as you say, people didn’t openly speak about mental illnesses.

It’s sad. I am glad that people can and do speak about it now.
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Welcome to the new people in the club nobody wanted to be in. What Lea said about this being a process is SO true. Don't beat yourself up for not understanding the wounds of the abuse you endured, and many continue to endure. It takes a long time, and much learning and reflection. I'm a perfect example. Four years ago I was nuts enough to move my narc mother 200 feet from me. I can't tell you how many times I have questioned what my sanity level was back then to make such a horrible decision. So yeah, it's a process alright.

Eventually- just to survive - you will put boundaries in place and learn to stick to them. Keep coming here for support and advice to help you get out of the FOG.

Lea and Jodi, have either of you gotten any results yet? I've been wondering about it. I'm expecting we will get DH's by Tues, I hope. I keep checking his patient portal like some crack head. This waiting is truly the worst.

Lea, my brother will be having a radical prostatectomy at minimum, and IDK yet what other target treatment he will get. I'm guessing radiation, ADT, and possibly chemo. He has a doctors appointment tomorrow and I expect surgery will be scheduled very soon. I love my brother very much despite our estrangement over my mother. He knows this, and he knows he can count on my support going through this.

All this cancer- especially the seriousness of my brother completely obliterated any feelings of resentment. I mean I was starting to hate them over my mother. No more. I'm not letting her ruin another thing in my life. It's like she is just not the priority in my mind anymore. In some strange way these health issues have given me the strength to keep extra tight boundaries with her. I'm not putting up with an once of her crap.

My sister arranged for a driver to pick my mom up at the airport to bring her back here. Not Uber, it's a taxi service that does airport runs, so the person will be inside waiting for her to help with her bag, etc. I am so glad she did that. Little things like that mean a lot and I was sure to let her know how much I appreciated it.

I hope you all are having a nice Sunday. I'm having a lazy day and all I plan to do is cook some of DH's favorite food. He loves homemade fried zucchini so I am going to make a ton of it so we can eat it and binge watch shows on TV.

Hugs to everyone.
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EP,

Waiting for biopsy results is the worst! Gut wrenching!!
God bless you and DH!!😘

SEAGULL & Twillie,

Welcome to our thread!!

So much support and awesome insight!!🤗
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Piper: You must be exhausted. Praying for your DH and you.
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Ep......thank God DH is past the surgery, I've been thinking about you a lot and looking here for an update. Praying the lymph biopsy is negative, and you both get some needed rest. Surgery is so draining for BOTH of you. I know what it feels like. DHs whole upper body looks like he's been thru the war. So thrilled and relieved to hear your sister is doing such a splendid job keeping NM out of your sight. Now, only if it could be permanent. The lying liar can lie all she'd like, but once you and your sister talk, you'll be able to present a united front and burst the lies wide open! 😆😆. Any update on your brother?

Seagull.....SO GLAD to see you posting here, welcome! 😁 Its very good to have others in the same boat who fully understand your feelings. You will post on the other parts of the forum and get comments that clearly show how others DO NOT have any idea what narcissistic abuse looks or feels like. It's not something you can just snap your fingers and get over, or something that should be minimized either. You have to first recognize what has happened, then acknowledge it, then feel it, deal with it, and THEN you can accept it in time. It's a process, just like going thru the stages of grief after the death of a loved one. It's good that you have a therapist to help you thru this journey to heal and to take your life back. In the end, you did a beautiful thing for your mother by caring for her, and should be proud of yourself for stepping up IN SPITE of the abuse you were dealt.

Chris, beautiful words for Seagull, as always.

TWillie, thanks for the tip about the YouTube videos, I will have to check those out.

Cascia, I keep pushing aside all the pain my NM causes me, too, worrying I'll explode if I examine things too closely.
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Piper, surgery will have exacted an emotional as well as a physical toll on you and your DH. You will both be exhausted. Sounds like your sister is doing an excellent job of keeping your mother off your back right now. I would keep feeding her the information needed so she can deal with your mother and for her to seriously introduce the very real need for hired help. Let her fight these battles right now, so that you and your DH can recuperate. Sending best wishes.
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I've been away for a couple days just trying to cope and take care of DH. I think we both underestimated what his surgery would entail, it was a 10 hour day - at the hospital, and I was shocked at the bloody bandages on his back and axilla area and the intense bruising. The doctor warned me he could bleed more but not to change the bandage unless he bled really bad and the bandage couldn't hold it. It's a special bandage that isn't supposed to come off until Monday. It did bleed more, but thankfully it didn't become excessive and I changed out ice packs constantly, just stopping late last night. He still has a large area of swelling in the axilla all the way to his chest from the lymph fluid draining. Hoping that starts to subside soon.

The most excruciating thing is now waiting for that lymph biopsy. I honestly can not think about anything else right now, although I am staying up to date on my brother, and staying in touch with my sister.

I will say, my sister has done an excellent job keeping my mom from coming back here, especially given my mom was planning to come back 3 days after she left. Then she wanted to come back Thursday until my sister reminded her my DH was having surgery that day. So then she wanted to come this weekend, and my sister told her point blank that we needed some time to get through this surgery, so my mom pouted and agreed. Such a selfish woman. I dread her coming back here so much.

I had a chance to talk to my sister briefly about my mom's need for hired help (companion). This came up because my mom complained that DH and I "don't like to do anything" Unreal. My sister's response was that me and DH can't be her only socialization. My mom lied and said "they aren't".... 100% bold face lie. My sister knows this. I couldn't stay on the phone so we couldn't further discuss, but I finally feel I have a support person to help me deal with my mother. Just someone besides me telling her she needs hired help is huge for me.
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Chriscat83  "I think a big part of the shock comes from finally realising that they really do not care about you, and that in itself is devastating. " so true, we keep looking for that little possibility, that somehow we are reading it wrong but it just isn't there it seems. They may say they do love us because that is what a mother is supposed to say, their actions are so not along those lines, they only way they love us is if they think they are controlling us. It's really mind numbing that a woman that gave birth to you doesn't wasn't to see you happy because she is not. My mother once said to me that she thanks god I am not like her but then she continued being herself maybe it's too painful for her when she realizes it and then she goes back to her way of doing things as it's the only way she knows how - the control must be so exhausting and lonely for her. Watching it and dealing with my whole life has been real pain and exhaustion for me. The hurt is deep inside making it hard to let go and move on, I would love to understand it but all I can do is push it aside. These forums are really cathartic and insightful it helps a lot to have a place to go.
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I want to suggest Dr. Ramani Davursala - expert on narcissism - YouTube videos and books are like counseling sessions. Much needed to rid the world of toxicity.
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I believe adult children of narcissists do it out of love - we were taught young that parents needs are the only ones that matter. As we get our wings we begin realizing there’s crazy making guilt, obligation and unrealistic expectations on us. Plus when we wear ourselves down to the bone we start looking for answers and then we learn about NPD. Then we can begin to have love and compassion for ourselves which includes setting boundaries with the narcissist. They might not like it but it’s certainly healthier. Good luck!
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Seagull, I think your experience of not understanding that you had a narcissistic mother until adulthood resonates with many of us. Most of us just “got by”, dealing with this mother-daughter relationship whilst going through life, without necessarily realising it was wrong, unhealthy, difficult. Whatever it was, it was “normal “ to us, as it was the only mother-daughter relationship we had known. For me, the revelation came in my early 50s, when I started to read into why my mother was so selfish and self centred. I came across narcissistic personality disorder, and it was such a shock to recognise my mother so strongly in its description and the traits of these people that I felt physically sick. I think a big part of the shock comes from finally realising that they really do not care about you, and that in itself is devastating. I agree that the damage runs so deep that it is embedded within you, which makes any kind of healing very difficult, even after they have died. I find that treating yourself with kindness, reaching out to others with kindness, and being close to people who love and care about you helps to offset some of their toxic legacy.
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I think that my narcissistic mother was such an expert at it that it took me way into adulthood..... That I realized just what she was doing all along..... After finding facilities. Hospices, caregiving.... And seeing what I did for her and then had to live in the aftermath that I truly understood the extent to which she used this narcissistic abuse....... It wreacks havoc with the victim and leaves them holding the bag trying to wrap up the mess......... It is consuming.

This is to the extent that the destructive force of the narcissists abuse goes on even after their death. How awful to have a mother like this and not be freed of the consequeces of the abuse even after they die. It is so unfortunate for the victim not to truly understand what is happening until they are drained absolutely dry and find it hard to move on.
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Need Help-You are interested in whether families/narcissists know the N has a mental illness/try to hide it, etc. I was aware when I was young that many members of my mother's family were 'not right'. But it wasn't talked about. When I was older, I found out my mother's grandfather, paternal aunt, her brother and now some cousins in that branch all have significant problems with mental illness, complicated by violence, paranoia, and narcissism. But my mother never acknowledged any of these problems, and certainly didn't acknowledge that she herself is severely narcissistic. My father realized there was a problem with my mother, but by that time she had produced 5 children, and he took his fatherhood responsibilities seriously. I believe he stayed married to her, in order to save his children as best he could. I know he threatened to divorce mother at one point, due to her maltreatment of me in my early teens (I was her favorite scapegoat, and she pounded my father to join her in scapegoating me also. Typical N behavior.) Not only did he refuse to join the scapegoat party, he started protecting me from her behavior, and took me under his wing. I believe my mother resents that relationship to this day, because my father treated me like a decent human being. But I am so grateful he did. Otherwise...
My mother hid her illness from the outside, always putting on a good face when necessary. She could also be quite gracious, when she wanted to be.
I dream about my father regularly now, when I hadn't for many years. Just doing everyday activities; he is just there, being Dad. I want to believe he is sending me comfort.
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Jodi,

Suicide complicates things all the more.

Suicide is in my family too. I have had a three cousins that committed suicide along with a nephew.

One of my cousins took her gun to the cemetery and shot herself! The other two were pills. My nephew hung himself.

So sad to think about. Their misery outweighs any meaning in life. They were all young, under 50!

I admire survivors who take the misery and utilize it to help. My friend who lost her teen son to suicide started a support group for survivors. She has done many wonderful workshops on grief and loss of loved ones to suicide.

Another friend of mine who lost her husband to Covid has started a support group for those who lost their loved ones to Covid. She says that she is helping herself as well as others. She’s a lovely woman.

There are lessons to be learned in all situations. Tough lessons, perhaps but I admire people who are able to move forward in their lives and reach out to others.
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Shell,

I did witness my Mom cry once after my brother's suicide!
I don't know if was guilt or honestly grieving the loss of her son. It will forever be a mystery to me !

NHWM,

My Uncle also died a broken man!
I just wish he had shared with me what he was going thru!
Sadly, I understand now!
He had severe health issues and was just worn out by dealing with their abusive son and my Aunts dementia! He simply gave up !
Although he was literally on his death bed, I feel as though he waited for me to get there !
I whispered in his ear "I promise that I will take care her ".
He died shortly thereafter!
A death bed promise that I am totally committed to see through!

It occurred to me that growing up with a narcissistic mother is like an extremely deep splinter.
If you don't deal with it, it festers.
And the longer you let it go, the worse it hurts!.

We deal with the pain in different ways.
What works for me, may not work for you!

Our common thread is that we have Narcissism in common!

I am so grateful that I have all of you as a sounding board!!😘
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As far as forgiveness goes, I think we have to be patient with ourselves. We will forgive when we are ready to.

I forgive now but went through a time when I wasn’t ready to do so.

I never hold a grudge though. I don’t want the negative feelings effecting me.
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Shell,

Call me crazy if you like but I believe that your dad is trying to convey a message to you, most likely something that will help you.

It’s strange how we have these dreams that seem so real.

In my dreams, I don’t always see faces. Sometimes, I can see the face but not always. I wake up wondering who it was.
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Xray,
To answer your question "Is it possible that narcissistics truly don't feel any sense of responsibility for their actions?"

I think they have moments in time when they do have a sense of responsibility, but only if they see the consequences or they are shown how their actions caused the consequences. But like what Lea told me, "Narcissists don't like negative emotions therefore, they push those feelings on to their kids and therefore nothing is their fault. I think they lie to themselves more times than not!!

I only say this because my NM is dying and she wants something from me. Perhaps to relieve her guilt or forgiveness...in truth, I don't know what she wants. But something has change...it is like she now see how horrible of a mother she was, but to me, I just see it as away of trying to manipulate me...gaslighting me!

But I do believe they do have moments of feeling responsible for their actions; however, it is very short lived!!

How heartbreaking your story is about your brother and how your NM berating him the night before. These women are truly evil.

I really believe that after we pass we do see what we have done to people good or bad through those people's eyes. We will have to give account for what we have done to others. I also believe that not everyone will go to Heaven. The Bible is very clear that some people will go to h3ll. So the fact is, some of our LO will end up in h3ll! Sad, but it is true!
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Thank you NHWM. I am sure when my dad passed on and saw his little girl's life through her eyes and all the pain & abuse she went through and he wasn't there to stop it it broke his heart!

Speaking of him being with me...I keep having this dream of him in a white room. He is sitting up in the middle of a white bed and he has on a white t-shirt and white underwear. He calls me by my nickname then he calls me by my name and tells me that he has something to tell me and calls me by my name again, but when I say, "what dad?" I wake up. I have had this dream 4 to 5 times, but I always wake up before he can tell me what he wants to tell me. It is really weird!
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Still,
I think for most of us our Unforgiveness is a shield. I never really thought about it that way, but it makes sense! You don't have to forgive her right now. But remember forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a choice. Words of my dad "Emotions has no logic. Only logic has logic." In other words, emotions are just feeling that come and go like the wind and logic is knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. This is how he explained it to me.

I haven't forgiven my NM either. I just wanted to give you and others something to think about!

I also wanted to tell you it really hurts and sucks when we figure out that we are the scapegoat kids. It is a pain like no other (in my opinion). Because we got slapped with a label that we didn't deserve nor asked for then we were cast-out, blamed for everything, made to feel like sh@!, and as if we didn't belong, a mistake, and in some cases isolated. But we do matter, we do count, their unhappiness has nothing to do with us and nothing is our fault, but it lays at their feet! You do what you need to do to survive! You do matter and you do count in this world! And it sounds like you have a great family and don't you dare let your NM take that from you by saying your stepchildren are not your real kids because what does she know...NOTHING! Hugs!!

Chris,
The Bible tells us to forgive so that the Father in Heaven will forgive us.
Psychology tells us to forgive for ourselves; moreover, forgiveness frees us from being controlled by the one who hurts us.

For me, I have seen what Unforgiveness does to people. How it impacts their looks, health, relationships and how they see themselves and the world around them! That is why I will forgive my NM when she dies!

Moreover, I am with Lea! There is no way for any of us to forgive our NMs until they die. Once they are gone all the bs stops and the healing process can begin and maybe then forgiving them will be easier. Like I said, "it really is hard to forgive someone when they 'keep' running your foot over with a truck!" As long as they keep hurting us we can't really forgive. And I feel the same way as Lea. My anger and resentment keeps me safe and it keeps my NM at a distance!
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Shell,

That’s how I feel about my sweet grandfather in law. He died a broken man.

By the time they knew things were horribly wrong they didn’t know what to do. They were in over their heads.

People placed shame on mental disorders. The stigma was worse than it is today so I am sure it was hard to talk about.

It’s hard knowing that a parent abused their kid. You know that your dad was so very sorry that she hurt you.

I’m sure he is with you now. His spirit is with you.
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NHWM,
I really don't think my dad knew about my NM until he retired and seen how she really is; however, I think he thought she was that way to him but not to us kids. My dad worked 70 to 100 hrs a week as a Chef, so he really wasn't home much as us kids growing up. I think he stared figure things out about her because he said to my NM that "marrying her was his biggest mistake he ever made and he wished he never married her." My dad never talked bad about anyone nor would he ever say something like that and that being said tells me that she pushed him to his breaking point. My dad was very reserve, matter-fact kind of person; in fact, you could tell him anything and it stop at him. I believe that if he knew what she was doing to us kids and/or knew what she was really like he would have got ridden of her. But I'll never know the truth. About 6 months ago, I woke up at 4 a.m and heard him say, I'm sorry" in a whisper. I believe that was him apologizing to me for having a crapping mother!
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Shell,

You nailed it!

I am curious from you and any others who wishes to chime in.

You hit on something very pertinent to NPD or other disorders.

Many people that have mental health issues are able to ‘hide or fake it’ in front of others.

I know that you had a wonderful dad. Did he ever suspect how your mom really was? Was he in denial because he truly loved her or did he make excuses for her?

Let me share why I ask. As most of the forum knows, my husband’s grandmother was truly a self centered person!

The family suspected that she had mental illness. She thought that the world revolved around her! No one else mattered unless she could use them to her advantage.

Her husband, my grandfather in law was so kind.

He desperately tried to get his wife to speak to a psychiatrist but of course she refused because she honestly believed that everyone else was wrong, it was never her!

My mother in law, their only child went through h*ll with her mom.

She felt so badly for her father but went through a period of being angry at her dad.

She felt as if he protected her mom too much by not divorcing her because she refused help.

I think she saw her dad as an enabler but she herself ended up doing the same thing with her mom.

I used to beg my MIL to write her mom off when she was being so cruel. My MIL just couldn’t do it. It’s easy to fall into a trap. I know this from my own experiences with my mom.

I know that you are planning to be on your own when you can and I am thrilled for you.

I am curious as to what you feel about how your mom will be on her own.

What happens to these self centered people when left on their own? Do they usually get worse?

Still, no one should ever feel guilty about leaving to save their own sanity.

My MIL did leave once. She moved to Florida. She said she was happy to be away from her mom but missed her dad.

Her mom nagged her so much that she returned to Louisiana. Yep, she caved. Big mistake!

I feel that NPD is one of the hardest personality disorders to treat.

Do you feel that if people did not make excuses for them, in some cases deny a problem, or allow them to continue being horribly selfish that it would be possible for them to get better with help? It seems like they are hopeless which is so sad. Sad for them. Sad for family and friends.

I know a woman that is extremely narcissistic that when others abandoned her, she tried to kill herself and landed in a mental hospital.

Later on, she told me that she knew that a suicide attempt would get their attention again! Now that is extreme!

Awhile back I saw an interview with Phil Collins after his fourth wife left him.

He said that he always felt that they were wrong but after four women told him the same complaints that it must be him!

Interesting, right? So, how many people do you think it would take to convince someone that they had issues?

My grandmother in law would easily make friends because she was charming but as soon as she showed her true colors they left in a big hurry!

Narcs certainly turn the lives of others around them upside down.
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Lea-I also wanted to add that your advice to tell my brother not to carry anymore of my mother's insults/guilting/verbal abuse to me is very well taken! Next time (if there is, he's a pretty decent fellow), I plan to have a gentle talk with him about the harm mother is doing to BOTH of us, with her manipulations. I believe he will understand. Thank you.
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stilldealing: I was just telling DH the other day how it's SO much easier to feel anger & resentment towards my NM than anything else (like compassion) b/c it's MY shield, just like you said. We have to have SOME sort of protection for ourselves when dealing with them, after all! Once she's gone, THEN I feel like all the BS will be behind me, and the healing can begin.

Jodi, who knows? Once in a blue moon I hear my NM say something that makes me believe she DOES feel badly about her behavior. Right after dad died, like literally 2 minutes later, she sort of cried and said she felt bad b/c she 'wasn't very nice to him.' I was shocked to hear her say that. Then she calmed right down again, and never said another decent word about him again. In fact, she never talks about him at all. So really, wtf knows WHAT goes on in these women's minds and hearts? I think they're SO out of touch with their own emotions and feelings that they stay buried in a charade of false faces 95% of the time. I have no doubt my NM has NO IDEA who she is! She's whoever she HAS to be at any given moment to survive.
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Lea-thank you so much for your thoughtful and insightful post. And Shell, your post about forgiveness was very helpful. Re: Forgiveness. I don't think this is something I can do (let go of the anger and resentment), until NM dies. I think its my shield right now; keeps me from letting my guard down (since I pretty much only deal with normal people now day to day, which makes it easy to forget how disordered my NM is). And Xray-I believe your NM does feel some remorse for berating your brother, but can't accept her responsibility due to her personality disorder. Hence, the blame always going outward...
Did some insightful reading this morning about "narcissistic collapse": It explains why NM's behavior has completely deteriorated to nothing but blame, complaints, and verbal assaults (on anybody and everybody) with the dying process.
Thanks to all of you here, for taking the time and having the courage to share your experiences.
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Catching up on the posts of the past 12 hours, it’s made me think about the whole issue of “forgiveness”. I think you can beat yourself up about whether or not you forgive your NM, but where is the rule that says you have to forgive? If the pressure is coming from society or other people, it’s really none of their business whether you forgive or not, as the experiences you’ve been through are intensely personal and unique to you. If you’re pressuring yourself to forgive, but don’t feel able or willing to, then you’re building up a whole load of unnecessary guilt and feelings of being a failure. To forgive or not to forgive is a very black and white way of thinking. Sometimes I wonder whether indifference is a healthier way to feel.
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Lea,

I pray that's true!!

God knows my brother had his demons!
He was unwilling to except my help or advice.
God knows I tried to help!!

I wonder if my NM is simply trying to deflect blame or guilt by passing the buck !
I mean, surely she must feel some sort of responsibility?
Is it possible that narcissists truly don't feel any sense of responsibility for their actions?
Or do they feel it and use the blame game to mask their feelings?

It boggles the mind!!
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Jodi, what an incredibly sad story. To think your NM was berating her son the night before he ended his life, and here she is, blaming your father and her DIL. Your brother has finally found peace from his troubled life, thankfully, that's my belief. And that once we pass, we relive life thru our loved ones eyes to FEEL the hurt we've caused them. What better definition of "hell" is there?
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