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Sam Vaknin is the author of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" and 8 other books about personality disorders and abuse in relationships with narcissists and psychopaths. He is the owner and moderator of support forums and the first person to have written about the Narcissistic Personality disorder (NPD) online (in 1997). He invented many of the terms currently used to describe the disorder and its effects on family, the workplace, and in various professions.

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What to do next?

Postby littlevoice » Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:49 pm


I have been entangled with a cerebral/covert/malignant Narcissist (I am a psych student). He is married (as am I), he was/is the Musical Director in our Theatre Company and after five months of me 'badgering' him for lessons he became my singing teacher, he is also the executive director of three conservatoriums within my small rural area, a very big position of power over my passion.

I was in awe of this man from the start, I was very open to his wife (also within the theatre company, who was becoming a friend), my husband, and basically anyone who would listen that I adored him (I was very much the fan girl). I learnt early on he would only pay attention to people who idolized him (I'm majoring in Profiling), so in order to get his PROFESSIONAL attention, that's what I did... candidly. He began exhibiting manipulation techniques quite early. Exuding superiority, if I spoke to him he would immediately start walking and I would have to physically chase after him, if we were in a group of people he would maneuvre himself so that I was cut out of the group. I thought he hated me. His wife assured me he 'adored' me. I did not feel this. I did feel, however, he was showing clear domination tactics.

He was finalising his thesis for his Ph.D for the first 5 months of me knowing him and every time I asked him for lessons he would sate 'yes' but would say due to his thesis submission he couldn't give me a start date... 'ask me next month', 'ask me next fortnight', 'ask me next week'. I had an overwhelming sensation at the time that he was instilling a chasing mentality in me but, disregarded it because of his busy workload. I had also heard rumours throughout this time from people close to his family that he has had affairs with his students in the past. I also knew he had his own additional apartment that he would use occasionally in the small local town that he worked in (not the town he lived in). He had very clear nepotism towards his students (particularly females - labeled as *his name*'s girls) for casting preference in the company A picture was forming but, I put it aside as speculation.

After five months of 'badgering' he finally gave me (and others within the Company) four weekly lessons leading up to, and to assist with, the auditions for the next show. The same day, prior to the curtain call of our current show I placed my hand on his shoulder and wished him a 'great show' at that point he grabbed my wrist and very slowly directed my hand down his arm. We were alone in the Green Room for this, and for me, it felt very deliberate and intimate. My immediate thoughts were; 'he's hitting on me'. I was thrilled by the attention but, again I disregarded this and didn't address it as his entire demeanour is incredibly aloof and sometimes scary. Perhaps I was over reading the situation? Something I am constantly guilty of.

That same day, after the show, I was in the lobby with my husband and he told him that in our upcoming lessons he and I were 'going to go at it together...hard' I felt he was power tripping over my husband, assessing what type of character he is, and how perceptive he would be, and if he would be an obstacle to any further advances. This comment went straight over my lovely husband's head. The next week he then introduced me to the orchestra and his female best friend as a 'crawler'. I was upset and angry. I told him he can't speak to me like that and I ignored him for the entire final show of the season. At the after party, he pulled me aside and apologised for hurting my feelings and said that he is incredibly insecure so when I openly adore him he feels humbled and assumes that I'm lying. I assured him I am not lying and it is only because I do adore him. At that point he told me he adored me also.

He began adding emojis into our text correspondence, and our first lesson together was reciprocally flirtatious and highly complimentarary. The second lesson was a little cold and professional. Our third lesson was exceedingly flirtatious and ran over time by 30 minutes. Friendly work related texting continued with emojis.. until one morning (after our third lesson) he sent me an Easter Island Head emoji, I declared I didn't know how to interpret that, and at midnight that night he replied calling himself a 'mystery boy' (he is over 20 years my elder). Once more, I felt; he is hitting on me again...I responded to the conversation briefly but fully engaging. I was excited but also hesitant. The next lesson was cold and professional again.

Auditions happened, I got into the show, but he still hadn't given me a real lesson schedule. Given that he works to the schooling time table this behaviour was definitely becoming odd but I was infatuated with his attention, and the constant texting between us was now habitual in me. So, I continued to text and badger him for my start date. Texts were becoming more and more flirtatious from my end and he would always engage but not write anything that would make him too accountable, they were however usually around midnight (the texts were in the day by me the response time in the middle of the night was always initiated by him). By this point I was in a dizzying state and pursuing an affair (I am not proud of this). I don't know if I would have gone through with it but, the thrill of it was addictive and consuming. I look back now and see the chasing manipulation, the superiority manipulation, the push and pull manipulation, taking my professional adoration and turning into something sexual, toying with me, teasing me, making me confused and fixated.

I was always feeling like I was crazy, like something was happening between us and simultaneously like nothing was happening between us. I tested the waters through our usual cryptic emoji correspondence hinting at an affair. He ignored this text for 8 days until he then gave me my lesson date. I was cold for being ignored, he then pulled me back in by light hearted texting that night over the course of 5 hours. In our first lesson he gave a big speech about me needing to be 'patient' that I was throwing myself into things I wasn't ready for and didn't understand. Again, it could always be interpreted as discussing music but also not.

I was becoming upset by the toying and stringing along. The CONSTANT push and pull mentality and the thought that he was always disappointed with me, like I was failing tests I didn't know I was taking. With all the texting (sometimes until 2am) he would never greet me at rehearsals or approach me as a friend. I was upset and because of this, started drawing attention to 'us' in rehearsals by acting mad, then happy, then sad, then happy with him. Rumours were circulating. His wife was noticing.

He began to become distant and cold via text. The flirtatiousness had all but stopped, the compliments on my singing were few. I didn't want to chase something that didn't exist, so I said I was quitting the show and my lessons. He immidiately emailed me saying we need to meet and talk, I refused, so he called me. He advised me I had 'wherefore' that he referred on two of his students just to make time for me, that I am not a disappointment to him. I said I feel like I am wasting his time and mine. He said that wasn't the case but if I push him too far I will get nothing. The next day I bought him a gift for being kind and gave it to him at rehearsals with a kiss on the cheek, he responded extremely positively to this. As we were texting each other literally 5 minutes before within the rehearsal space I sent a cheeky message that said 'you smell good, btw' but his phone was openly sitting on a table for this... I was nervous. When he read it in the break period, I could tell he was furious. Ignoring was always his 'go to' punishment for when I upset him.

I apologised via text if he felt uncomfortable, he told me he did. I apologised again. I was so confused, that message wasn't too bad considering previous texts so I thought it was probably the time and place. Checking to see if it was actually him feeling uncomfortable around me or that I had maybe just put a foot out of line, I asked for an additional private lesson that week. He gave it to me. In this lesson he told me about his dream; "I was driving a yellow crane, trying to maneuver it through all these dangers and perils, it was going all over the road. I was thinking "why am I doing this? It's only for charity! This is a hassle" So, I'm trying to drive it and get it into this spot and it's just not going in and I think "you know what?! Screw it! It's only for $100 for charity! Not worth my time! Someone else can drive it!"." Again, to me, it sent a very clear but cryptic (always cryptic with him) message.

I sought out an ex student of his (rumoured ex mistress), she told me to run away. He is manipulating me. He is trying to steal me from my family. He is making me look like a stalker in text so that if it all goes to hell he can claim I was harassing him. That it is a very well rehearsed game that he's played SOO many times. That he's had a 'stalker' before. I could see this 'set up' in text also.

I was becoming scared but I was already obsessed by this point. I kept trying to break away but I just couldn't pull myself out of it. I wasn't sleeping, I was barely eating, I was completely fixated (as I'm sure now was his plan all along). I was always being cryptically threatened by him that he was going to drop me at any point.

The flirtatiousness had completely stopped on his end now. He then began giving me messages through songs (which he privately and with no witnesses, would eluded to that fact). The songs were about affairs and relationships ending. They were about hiding feelings when it all goes to pot. All I was getting from him at this point was professional type conduct, devaluing, and punishment (ignoring) for when I drew attention to my frustrations with him. I couldn't handle it anymore. I was going completely insane. I sent him a message stating that I was infatuated with him but I couldn't handle to pushing and pulling and confusion. Are we colleagues? Are we friends? Are we not? Any answer is fine but, I couldn't keep holding out hoping for a friendship with him that wasn't actually coming.

He approached me at rehearsals that night and highly aggressively said "There's obviously been some confusion but, for me..it is unwanted and you need to stop!!" I retaliated "Yes! It IS unwanted! And it DOES need to stop, *name*!!!" He stormed off! Two days later he cancelled my lessons by a letter from the chair of his Board saying *name*'s schedule is full etc. I kept turning up to rehearsals but he was avoiding me like the plague. I was sending him an email twice a week for two weeks to please talk to me. All I wanted was clarity. We still have to work together. Let's clear the air... He refused to respond. He then started placing 'informal' seeds around the Conservatorium and the Theatre Company that I was being inappropriate with him, texting and emailing and he had asked me to stop.

I was distressed. I quit the show, I regretted it immediately and within an hour retracted my resignation. Because of this, he and I were then separately pulled into meetings with the Company's President as she said there were rumours of us having an affair and now there is animosity. We both denied this but, again I found it too distressing so irreversibly resigned.

Completely emotionally off balance by this point I emailed him once again. Begging him to speak with me (I was lying for him and I didn't know why as he was testing me like dirt). I played right into his hands. He began CCing everyone (the board, his admin, the company, his wife, his female best friend) into our correspondence, and not wanting to publically vilify him, I came across as quite the love obsessed student indeed.

After this public humiliation I went and found a new teacher. After a brief discussion with her about who's previous student I was, it became clear this woman hated him. I told her my story. She told me hers. She assured me I am not crazy, that she worked with him for years and years. She knew he was having affairs with students and teachers but couldn't prove it. He manipulated her, gaslighted her, and professionaly destroyed her, even still eight years later he undercuts her in our region when she tries to work and teach. He has been kicked out of every organisation he has ever worked in "amicably" for harassment. That she's never hated anyone in her life more than this man.

I was scared once again. Foolishly I sent one last email. I stated in it I felt harassed by him, that there was inappropriateness from his side, that I was under the impression we were friends and when I queried the natured of our relationship, that he was aggressive, unprofessional, vilifyied me, and refused to mediate. I stated I would be at The Conservatorium that afternoon to finalise some admin matters and request he speak with me while I was there to placate my concerns of a professional nature as he is so involved in all areas of our local music industry. I went. I knocked on his door. He said 'in a minute' but never actually opened the door. I was infuriated by his cowardliness and left.

The next day I received an email from the Conservatoriums honorary solicitor (renowned to be dodgy and even charged for it) good friend of *name* and Vice President of the Board which was issues a fake AVO with instructions to never communicate with *name* in any fashion, to seek out a counsellor, stop stalking the their Executive Director, we are not friends never were and never will be. Etc. it was degrading and humiliating and everyone was CCd in again once more.

I now have a lawyer, he and the dodgy lawyer are currently in discussions. I have been assured that what the dodgy lawyer did was clear cut defamation. We are threatening a formal complaint against *name*'s conduct as my teacher with text messages to support this claim and legal action against the Vice President for defamation.

My social life is in ruins. Everyone believes this horrible man. I was the perfect patsy. The obsessed fan. I jumped right into his boat. I fell hard and quickly but, saw EVERYTHING which I think was the worst of all of it.

I want my life back. I want my Theatre Company back. He has effectively destroyed everything (other than my family and very close friends) that I cared about. Everyone hates me and I've been branded as the stalker woman trying to break up his happy family.

My question is; How do I win my life back? I know the answer is NO CONTACT but there are no avenues for my passion that this man isn't involved in. I refuse to accept to Give Up my passion or Move and currently they seem like the only options. How do I placate the Narcissist? Get him to call of his Flying Monkey's and Smear Campaign? I've also seen him Hoover. The day after our "unwanted" altercation he Hoovered the ex-student. He continues to malignantly hoover my new teacher. After everything we went through... am I at risk of a Hoover?? I'm assuming it will be malignant.
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