My Friend Richard, the Narcissist

For his own part, Richard neglected to call when he said he would, and kept changing plans at the last minute, for everything from picking up his stuff to family get-togethers–but if I objected, it was my problem.

Once I e-mailed asking him to please send me an e-mail with an apology and explanation if he couldn’t call/come over as he’d promised–just a simple, “I’m sorry I can’t/didn’t call; I was tied up with a family crisis”–but he acted as if I were being silly, paranoid.

And he didn’t do it, just kept blowing me off and leaving me hanging all day or night, waiting for his call, putting off other things I could’ve done, as if his were the only time that mattered.

(But then in 2010, I saw him post that same message on Facebook to some politician he was supposed to call and didn’t.  So–Political connections are worth simple courtesy, but not me?)

He’d treat me badly online one day, then be sweet the next in person.

I kept feeling like something was wrong, but then I’d talk to him and everything seemed all right again.

He was very charismatic, drawing all sorts of male and female followers to himself, the phone constantly ringing from some old friend or a new friend he’d picked up on the Internet.  (At least, it rang all the time when he lived with me.)

He kept converting people to Orthodoxy just by talking about it, but denied trying to.  He claimed to have been quite a womanizer in his past, that all the guys in high school hated him because their girlfriends wanted to date him, to still have women chasing him all the time.

He was very arrogant, and admitted it.  He name-dropped so much that I often wondered if half his stories were true:

He seemed to be connected to big names in Hollywood, religion, Goth music and politics;

to have done every activity that could be interesting (such as Goth clubbing, moviemaking, ghost hunting, scriptwriting, even making a movie that was popular locally);

to be some way involved in movies that had been released;

to have family members connected to the Illuminati or a Nazi (though the Nazi was probably true);

to have a family member working on an amazing discovery that would revolutionize the world;

to know all sorts of secret things about political dealings.

It seemed like every time he Googled a religious subject we discussed, he discovered it was linked to someone he used to know or was related to.

He claimed a hypnotist friend taught him how to hypnotize.  He spoke of his high intelligence and ability to tell when someone was lying–though, of course, the material on covert hypnosis also says you can tell when someone is lying to you or trying to hypnotize you.

Todd confirmed that Richard was in the Mafia and used to be a preacher.  But I could not verify most of the stories, which Richard told me were not on the Web because the government wouldn’t allow them to get out.

His story of his brother getting a huge salary for an invention–So why is this invention still a dream of the future, when Richard told me it would revolutionize the world soon–back in 2007?

Why do I find that lots of people have been involved in developing this invention for decades, not just one guy around 2007? 

Then he tells me that the invention won’t come out because Al Gore won’t allow it.  Why would Al Gore block it, when this invention continues to be developed by companies all over the country? 

And biggest of all, I ask why doesn’t this brother help Richard with his dire financial straits, and get told that his brother isn’t actually making that money yet–so we give them a large sum of money?  That, there, is a big sign that these people were conning us.

I discovered a potential lie: about his weight.  I know a guy, a friend of a friend, who incidentally, Tracy worked with in the past.  He’s Richard’s size, but told us a much larger weight.  Richard admitted to getting that high, but the weight he gave me was almost 200 lb less.

When the friend of a friend gave his weight, a couple other guys at the party gave theirs; they were much smaller than Richard, yet the same number he gave me.  Then the court records said a number in between.

So with all the lies I’ve caught him in on small things, I wonder how many of the wild stories are also lies.

I have also caught him in a lie which was easily investigated: In 2010, he told my husband and me that he once met Siouxsie Sioux after a concert.

He was always name-dropping like this.  He said she was so short and tiny that he knew he could never date her (if such an option were ever open), because at 6’5 and several hundred pounds, he could break her easily.

Well….One day I googled her height.  The woman is six feet tall!  She’s taller even than his wife, who is several inches shorter!

When I was mad at him for something, he got so charming I couldn’t stay mad at him for long: He could just give me a puppy-dog look and the anger melted away.  Or he’d talk to me about it over the phone.

I thought it was just because of our close friendship, but now it seems more like covert hypnosis.  In fact, a certain old picture of himself seems to have the same effect–something about the angle….

Male and female friends spoke of him in glowing terms and wanted to be with him.  It was like a spell he wove, and I got caught up in the headiness of it.

When he found another friend in town, Chris, it felt like Chris and I were assistants of the Doctor, since we were both friends with such an awe-inspiring person.

But I thought I was a special friend to Richard, that we had bonded in one of those rare platonic friendships that are very close and lifelong–a Frodo/Sam type thing.

In short, he was bigger than life, and special to me.

But there was a dark side.

He would tell me how I should run my life, then act all offended and angry if I called him on it, saying either that he was doing no such thing, or that I had invited his advice by telling him about my problems.  (Uh–no.  That’s called sharing.  It’s how you grow closer to your BFF.)

The more time passed, the more it felt like with either Richard or Tracy, I could say or do nothing right because at least one of them criticized it–even posts I made on Facebook.

It seems I was dealing with two kinds of narcissists:

  1. Tracy, the malignant narcissistic abuser and/or Borderline Personality Disorder, the high-conflict person.
  2. And Richard, a more benign but still maddening narcissist, who pulls you into his web so you don’t want to get out, idealizing you and then devaluing and discarding you over time.

Mutual friend Todd says Tracy and her whole family are “nuts,” that you don’t find that out the easy way.  He said that one day she’ll go off on you and get Richard to help and it’s all over.  He said that Richard has lost other friends because of her.  This matches what I’ve witnessed and what Richard has told me.

While he lived with us alone, Richard called me his “dear, sweet Nyssa.”  Now, sometimes he treated me like his best and dearest friend, and sometimes he devalued and discarded me.

It kept me on my toes, always wondering how he really felt.  I recognize most of the signs on Psychopaths & Love’s How to tell if you’re being manipulated.  For example:

  • Sometimes s/he gives you a lot of attention and love, and sometimes he gives you the cold shoulder for no reason. You’re left wondering what you’ve done wrong.
  • Your feelings have gone from happiness and euphoria to anxiety, sadness and even desperation.
  • You never feel sure of where you stand with your [friend, in my case]; you feel you’re in a constant state of uncertainty and anxiety.
  • You feel confused about the relationship and frequently ask your [friend] what’s wrong. He becomes angry or frustrated and he consistently denies responsibility for any problems.
  • You may frequently feel angry and resentful toward your [friend], yet are not allowed to express it. Communication feels restricted or even forbidden, causing feelings of extreme frustration and even hostility.

(Also see The difference between narcissism and Asperger’s.)

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children

5. My frustrations mount

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing