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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5802
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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In my opinion, you have suggested valid possibilities. If a

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In my opinion, you have suggested valid possibilities. If a man states he is not a good person I have found that to be a warning of sorts. What type of warning is the issue for me. I can see, based on Psy. 101 course at university, that you might be on to something. I suspect aspects of severe trauma, the sudden death of this man's son of an aggressive cancer. Although he does not appear to be violent, the characteristics of narcissimism might be present. He strikes me as a frustrated artist and I am one myself in the rare combination of also being an art critic. Then again, quite frankly, the idea of him being violent or tempted to be has crossed my mind. I suppose I want to know which it is. Both problems, simultaneously; how could I tell? Before I get more involved with this man. I might add, I have not experienced the ignoring he has described to me as a primarily reason others have had difficulty with him. I simply need to be more prepared and see, if I can, what I might be getting into or leave now while I can. And yes, I do love this man. But not if I will "suffer" this sort of odd behavior needesssly. The fact that he warned me of it might mean something. What?
Hello, and thank you for requesting my help. I appreciate it.

I agree, the fact that he has warned you that he is not a good person says a lot. No one starts a relationship by saying something like that without there being a significant issue behind it, whether that is a need for attention (a statement like that could make you interested in finding out what the person meant by that which equals instant attention), or it could be that the person finds it fun to set you off guard. It is unlikely that there is a good reason since someone who is insightful enough to know they have issues would most likely be interested in addressing those issue for fear of being rejected by potential partners.

Also, if he has hurt other partners in the past, that is also a warning sign. What you don't want to see is a string of hurt partners that have a very poor opinion of this man.

It is unlikely that a traumatic event in his present life, such as his son's death, caused him to act as he does towards others. He may outright reject others in fear of getting close and therefore getting hurt by a loss, but being directly mean by ignoring someone in public usually indicates hostility and self importance. And those traits are attributed usually to a personality disorder, which develops when the person was a child, usually through abuse or trauma of some sort.

It is difficult to tell without seeing him face to face exactly what disorder he might have. But I can provide you with links that I find helpful that describe narcissism and other personality disorders so you can see which symptoms he has:

The most important part of the situation is how you feel. If you are finding yourself feeling hurt, on guard, questioning yourself or experiencing low self esteem, you may be dealing with someone with a personality disorder. And questions this early in the relationship are also an indication that something might be wrong. You are picking up on something and even if you cannot put your finger on it yet, your insight and perception are trying to tell you something. So it may be ok to take a step back and be cautious. Until you know more, you may want to keep yourself open to other relationships and let this one take a back seat for a while.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I think I trust what you have suggested; although neither of us has details enough to really know. But I suspect you are right about the death of his son (child) as not a primary factor here. Such an event would be enough to make most of us off for awhile. But I think, without knowing, that something bad occurred to him during his childhood. To test this, I asked the classic question, "How is your mother?" He never speaks of her or his father. When I asked, he stammered and seemed unclear in his speech. This struck me as an indication of an undisclosed trauma of some sort. A man that speaks well or at least often or at all of his mother, based on my experience, usually implies a healthy sign. In general, he has not spoken of his parents although has stated he has a brother. He seems (?) to be at odds with them although without asking, I have no sure idea.

To be frank, I suspect child abuse. Perhaps sexual in nature. He does not seem a narcissist but could be, albeit a subtle one. Or perhaps as a reaction to rejection. Rejection...that is, if someone is abused one way or another, by a family member, would likely be someone with a misplaced sense of inferiority. Perhaps a narcissistic response is a form of self defense? He strikes me as more intelligent than he admits. He has a master's degree in computer science and is an IT manager of his company which is employed by his native country of Austria.

I note normally he is a very clear speaker and modest and honest but sensitive. He has an artistic nature, a fairly good photographer, a lover of opera, etc. But he is no braggart.

I think you are insightful Kate.

Thank you! That was very kind of you, and so nice to hear :)

I agree, not speaking of his mother may indicate issues with his mother or both parents. And his reaction doesn't necessarily mean that the trauma originated with her. It could be that someone else traumatized him and his mother stood by and did nothing or even defended the person if he told her. It happens often in families that the dysfunction is not with one person but with many members of the family.

If he was rejected as a child, he could shut off his feelings so he doesn't get hurt again as a protective measure. Also, people can have some traits of a personality disorder but not have the full blown version, enough to be diagnosed. So that could be true for him. Mixed with past trauma and abuse, it could explain why he acts as he does with others.

The key here is to be sure you are protecting yourself. When people begin a relationship, they bring all their own issues with them. And it is easy for the feelings to get transfered to the other partner. So you can easily get hurt by someone who has not dealt with their own problems before they enter the relationship. So it is vital that you proceed slowly if you do consider a relationship with him. And learn as much as you can about personality disorders so you can be on the lookout for signs that your relationship is abusive or that you are getting hurt in any way.


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Thank you so much! I enjoyed talking with you. If you have a question or just want to talk, I'm here. Thanks again.

Take care,


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hope you got my response! I think I hit the right buttons here. If not, I will recompose if needed.


My regards,


I must not have. Sorry. If you want to try again, I'll let you know if I get it.