For the vast majority of my life I bit my tongue. I was the type to withhold what I had to say if it meant being confrontational. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think myself as a coward or anything but at some point in my life, I realized that keeping my sanity and the peace was better than being right in an argument. Even now if I don’t write what I need to say, anything end up babbling. I even argue points that aren’t part of the central conversation at hand. I become emotional even erratic. I learned this because I grew up in situations where I was constantly invalidated.
No this is not a plea for help or where I play victim. However, when you are subjected to the mental shit show of narcissists, you find yourself constantly questioning your every thought and move. You often over share. Because you exhaust your energy and in turn you spend the rest of your life trying to protect what’s left of it. It’s a blow to your psyche and your self-esteem.
You see narcissists feed on that self esteem, in particularly your self-esteem because at they in turn lack their own. They use whatever tactics to suck you of yours… sometimes through no fault of their own. While most narcissists have delusions of grandeur and insist that they are more special than most, what they actually do is devalue everyone else around them. And if you are the target of that behavior, usually the micro-manipulations such as gaslighting or hoovering.
They guilt-trip, shame blame or slip into depressive states, threaten suicide or whatever it takes to control and manipulate their targets. And I like to use the term Target instead of victim. Why? Because often they were the original victims of narcissism and abuse from someone else in their past life. And because they haven’t dealt with that abuse, they projected on to other people.
It’s insane how much empathy they lack even when they accuse you of being the one to lack empathy.
But what I learned is that if you know what you’re dealing with, you can at least save your sanity. And despite being the target of their abuse and or actions you will learn to separate the behavior from the person. At some point you’ll realize that maybe their problem is not the fault of their (most times)… and it’s definitely not yours. It’s like that old saying goes, “Hurt people, hurt people.”
You have to keep in mind that this has nothing to do with love. Their ultimate issue is that they lack accountability. Be it their inability to face the demons in their closet, their actions or the consequences. It is here you, the target, become the poster child when you suit their needs/ego or the scapegoat when you disagree. Prime example: A man gets fired from his second job for insubordination. He goes home to tell his wife what happened or his version of what happened. Instead of taking accountability for the actions that led up to him getting terminated, he blames his boss. His wife then inquires about the why they did what they did to get fired or the details of what that may have been. And while most sensible people would take the question as constructive criticism or a means to get to the point, the narcissist sees this only as an insult or attack. It is here that the husband will accuse the wife of never taking their side… even if they have without question before regardless if they were wrong or not.
There rarely is an in-between. It’s like they switch back and forth from love to hate. Relationships with them be it romantic or familial are an emotional rollercoaster for the target. They are extremely hypersensitive so when they are angered with you, you are the enemy. They find any and every situation that they can use to remind you of that. Yet in contrast, when they are proud of you, they brag on you even if some or all of it is an exaggeration. Especially if it makes them look good or if they can take credit for it in some fashion.
At the end of the day, they even take credit for your accomplishments.
Prime example #2: A father who has a son that plays football will take credit if his son is captain of the team or the start athlete no matter how much his son has trained hard for his own accomplishments. Now a normal person will be happy to play a role in these accomplishments but at the end of the day they will acknowledge that their son is the one up early in the morning working out, never missing practices and giving his all. While he is in still the discipline to do such it is the sun who should take credit for sticking with a sport especially if he intended never to play it. Let’s say this son loses a game as a result of not playing well. It could be because he was up all night studying for a test or stressed about something. It is here where his narcissistic father will blame him for losing instead of taking responsibility for not stepping in to assist the son with his academics.
Remember they will never accept blame for anything even if they have the opportunity to do so. Like I said, they lack empathy and accountability. When they are right, they are right and when they are wrong, you are wrong. Nothing is their fault… ever! In addition to this, they will rarely apologize for anything and if or when they do, it comes packaged with a guilt trip.
But all is not lost. Even if this is someone you love dearly, you have to remember that sometimes their narcissism is the result of a mental health crisis or the circumstances of trauma and/or abuse. Once you can get to the root of the problem or at least discover the problem at hand, then you will not only realize you’re not crazy but they cannot help themselves.
See you have to know when to pick your battles. Meaning you have to know when to respond to their bullshit and when to ignore/avoid it.
This means being aware of all of their tricks and ploys. You have to know when to expect their tactics and how respond to them. Not knowing when to pick your fights with them will only jeopardize your sanity. While this may seem like constantly keeping your guard up, you have to remember you are protecting your peace. Another thing to keep in mind, they do not possess the ability to get over the past so they will in turn use it against you. They will gaslight you in many situations to trigger you, often times out of nowhere… so naturally when you react, this is where they will make you out to be the crazy one. Be aware … trust me it will come back save you in the end.
Accepting their gifts or favors usually means they are setting you up for their needs later down the road. Most do things out of kindness where the narcissist will automatically use this as a ploy. It is here when you will always have to accommodate them. Why? Because they did something for you… Not out of the kindness of their heart but because they felt “entitled” to do so and thus you are entitled to return the favor.
Prime example #3: A mother buys her children toys for their birthday or let’s say Christmas. In addition to this they perform all the parental duties one would expect them to do. Let’s say one of the children are tasked with running an errand for the parent. Despite that child having responsibilities of their own such as a job or their own children, the narcissistic parent lacks the capability of respecting such. Even if one of the other children are able to perform said tasks or errands, it is the unavailable child who has been targeted as the scapegoat. Remember because the narcissistic parent has raised them, it is the duty of that adult child to stop whatever it is they’re doing for the parent. It doesn’t matter that they chose to be a parent, the children must always obey always… Even in adulthood. The now adult children can never have any safe or normal boundaries. She will even tell them because I’m your mother or because I took care of you you have to do what I tell you even if what I tell you to do is wrong or compromises them.
Even as a victim, the narcissist cannot take responsibility for the situations or relationships that they are in. Even if those situations are the result of toxicity from another person.
Prime example #4: A woman has just found out her boyfriend is cheating on her. Instead of confronting his behavior head on, she lavishes him with a gift or some other act of “kindness.” Even when the boyfriend has believed his girlfriend has gotten over his indiscretion she will later throw her “acts of kindness” in his face. You see instead of simply forgiving him for his wrongs or leaving him for such, she sticks around. She later blames him for not initially leaving or any future indiscretions instead of taking responsibility for the fact she could have left after the first act. Most people would either leave or forgive and move on. Not the narcissist. This is an opportunity to use the target.
So in conclusion, a narcissist will always have some bullshit and that comes packaged with them. This doesn’t mean that they are incapable of being loved. But that loving them comes with a little more effort.
Until Next time kiddies,
Be Awesome, Be You, But Above All Else… Love Yourself
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The information in this article is not to be taken as professional advice. It is solely opinion of the author based on issues I dealt with. If you feel that you are the experiencing any of the issues or examples above such as abuse, seek professional assistance or help. And by that, I would insist the treatment of a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker. It is the opinion of the author based on issues I they dealt with.