Friday, July 17, 2015

What to remember when dealing with a narcissist

What to Remember When Dealing with a Narcissist

Don’t believe the narcissist’s self-reports. Narcissists will say anything they think makes them look good. Whatever they say is either a lie or a delusion.
Read between the lines.
Watch for weasel words and fuzzy logic. “I sold a book, and we bought a house.” You’re supposed to hear, “I sold a book, and we bought a house with the royalties.” The fact that the narcissist didn’t say that in the first place is telling. If she really did sell a book that brought in enough money to buy a house, she’d have told you how much she made or she’d go into detail about how rare it is for a book to earn that much and how special she is for writing it. If she says anything less–especially if she lets you infer the best part–it’s a red flag.“Why wouldn’t she just lie about it?” you ask. Good question. Some narcissists will. Others are dimly aware that telling too many lies will get them caught and pilloried (again), so they stick to maximum deniability. (“I didn’t say we bought a house with the money from the book, I just said we bought a house after I sold the book. It’s not my fault you misheard me.”) And some of them like putting one over on you.
Check your sources. Never believe what the narcissist says about them. If she gets anything right, I assure you it’s purely by chance.
You’re not the first. If the narcissist is past the age of six, they’ve hurt somebody else. And they probably hurt them in exactly the same way they’re hurting you. Find their past contacts–friends, schoolmates, family members, students, co-workers. Narcissists are brilliant at isolating people who know too much, so look for hidden people: former friends who wandered away quietly, family members who aren’t estranged but just aren’t around much, people who worked for them for a while and then quit. And, of course, get in touch with those bitches who told such incredible lies about her and drummed her out of their circle because they were jealous of her talent. They know things you haven’t even started to dig up yet, and they’ll tell you everything once they know you’re not the narcissist’s sidekick.
“You’re not the first” applies online, too. Look not only for people, but for sites: abortive early blogs, comments in other people’s blogs, forums and boards they abandoned, attempts at sockpuppeting. Even if a narcissist is new to the web, they almost certainly have a past that stretches beyond the moment they sashayed into your forum. Less web-savvy narcissists leave behind entire trails of attempts to establish themselves before they hit on a persona that works.
“That was long ago” doesn’t apply to narcissists. Narcissists don’t improve. They may refine their techniques, they may become harder to catch, but they don’t become less malicious or toxic. Information about what a narcissist was like 10, 20, or 50 years ago is still relevant today.
Be doubly careful if the narcissist herself is the one trying to convince you that something is old news and doesn’t matter. Narcissists are prone to say that about things that happened ten minutes ago if it serves their purpose; it doesn’t have anything to do with the truth. In fact, it’s a red flag that you’re onto something.
Don’t give them money or personal information. Regardless of how much (they say) they need it.
Don’t underestimate them. Narcissists have a single goal in life–their self-image. If they’re successful, they have networks of followers and dupes to give them money and aid in whatever they choose to do. If they’re unsuccessful, they are unencumbered by drains on their time and energy in the shape of friends, family, and work, and can spend 100% of their time and energy on getting revenge and digging up a fresh band of followers.
Don’t overestimate them. Narcissists are often gullible, naive, and stunningly ignorant of anything outside their narrow circle of interests. (They’re often stunningly ignorant of things inside their circle of interests, since clearly they have already mastered the topic and don’t need to study more or keep up on new developments.) What looks like brilliant strategy is too often the result of being bugfuck crazy: They take chances because it doesn’t occur to them that they could lose, make huge demands because it doesn’t occur to them they they don’t have a right to ask for certain things, tell lies because it doesn’t occur to them that other people could see through them. Their “deep knowledge of human nature” is a set of formulas, and while it works painfully well most of the time, anything slightly off their charts will send them into a tailspin of projection. Remember that narcissists are formidable, but they’re not ninjas.
Their projections can be a powerful tool to use against them. Get a narcissist frothing at the mouth, and she’ll tell you exactly what she’s doing why, when, how, and to whom. It’s better than getting a Batman villain to monologue.


Five Hundred Pound Peep said...

A good post. I know am distrusting everything I did not see first hand and was told by any familial narcissists, same for other would be more recent ones too. One red flag I need keep in mind is how they are constantly criticizing and putting people down saying things like they got what they deserved. In my case, the Queen still has too much control over the one's who distanced themselves but I am noticing even the Mini-Me isn't showing up to her house anymore but sending her kids alone. With another narcissist, it seemed everyone was awful and a "bad friend" and I worried about when I would be on that list next. Next time I won't wait around and will realize there are some you never can make happy no matter what. Narcissists have no loyalty either. I agree narcissists never change, some will try and convince you of change but it is all a lie. I don't know about narcissists being guillible, I think the lower scale ones can be but the high scale ones have perfected their craft and manipulate people without a hiccup.

Joan S said...

It weird. I met a lot of narcissists in my life, but not too many who were mercurial and dangerous as my mother. No one ever uttered a peep in disagreement with her, they were too scared to. Except my present husband, poor guy, she was trying to rearrange his woodshed. They yelling could be heard from afar.

Most I met were rather docile or appeared to be. They would never be that scary, but would make you feel bad regardless, in very backstabbing ways. I had a friend once, that would give you unsolicited advice, and would come and check to see if you were taking her advice. She would talk about you behind your back. She even told me that her advice was the best, and that everyone took her advice.

She once told me that when she went to a trip to Cuba, that seeing all the poor people was a shame that the country should have hid them from the tourists.

mulderfan said...

Never ask a narcissist for any kind of help...EVER! It's like stepping on a rattle snake. Help and support, along with praise and admiration, only go one way in their world.
Never believe: "I wrote a book and it was published." because it's missing one tiny word before published: "self".
Never give them even the tiniest insight into your personal life because the rattle snake mentioned above will use it to bite you in the ass.
Never mention a health problem. Even if you're minutes from death, the pimple on their ass is worse.
Never joke with a narcissist. He's the only one who's allowed to be funny.
Call them on their BS every fucking time, but only if your wearing a hazmat suit for when their shit storm erupts!

Most importantly, ask yourself why you have this loser in your life!!!!

q1605 said...

Asking a narc for help is the surest way not to get it. Asking for help just informs them of what you need and so they can more efficiently withhold it from you.

q1605 said...

Peep my mother talked trash about literally who was not out of the room. For some reason I thought she didn't trash me as well. Turns out I was her favorite target.

q1605 said...

Joan I can't sat people were that scared of my mother it was that if we tried to change her and make her do the right thing you would come to hours later still arguing with her about nothing. In retrospect we should have been terrified of her. Considering her track record of deaths she left in her wake.

q1605 said...

The thing that in the end got me questioning my mothers actions was that I talked to her on the phone and confronted her on her lousy job as a mother. The way she deflected what I said told me she had a screw loose. She used to meet guys and leave me at a grocery store all day waiting for her. Me getting the name of the store wrong seemed to exonerate her in her mind. And she bought a gun the day her and her Boyfriend shot that guy and when I said something about that she came right back with "that's not even the gun we used"! Like we were in a court of law and if I didn't meet the legal burden of proof she was not guilty. She still bought A gun. But they used a different one to rob the guy so like a ball player sliding into home she was free and clear. No matter that her trial bankrupted us and eventually (I am sure) was a factor in my fathers suicide my 8 year old command of the chain of custody of her choice of firearms was as good as me accusing over things that she didn't do. I know me ranting is considered embracing my victim hood. But there are some things that can't be disregarded. They should be forgotten, but it is hard to forget.

q1605 said...

The oddest thing in the way I remember all that horror. Is that ultimately my default is to forgive her for all that. As bad as it got and as willful and purposeful as she made her life about undoing the family. I hesitate to judge her. I am not an overly religious person but I don't feel the moral authority to wish eternal damnation on another soul regardless of how frivolous she was with all of us. Like that Paul Simon song The information is not available to the mortal man. And thanks to her I am acutely aware of my own mortality. She drove my father to suicide. My sister got in her car and drove until she hit an ocean and I have self medicated myself into a sure and early grave. But thankfully now I can turn it all over to someone else and let him/her sort it all out.

q1605 said...

But I might feel differently about it all tomorrow.

Elli G said...

"But I might feel differently about it all tomorrow."

Exactly that! I can't seem to find a steady state of emotions regarding my loser birth-giver. Some days I passionately wish she met her match and taste her own medicine for the rest of her life, and others I just want to forgive, forget and move on without having her occupy any part of my conscious mind ever again. But the prevailing urge is to go over to her apartment and slap her a few hundred times just for being who she is, 100% pure crap from top to bottom.

q1605 said...

Yeah Sometimes I realize that I will never be normal as long as I hold on to that anger. But other times it just boils over and I can't contain it any longer. They really do ruin our lives. It's impossible to convey how abnormal our lives were made by their frivolous actions. Especially to someone that didn't live it. It was as if my mother was drawn to normal and good times like a magnet. And instinctively knew how to quash any normalcy she got close to.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen the movie: the inevitable defeat of Mister and Pete?

Two kids with messed up mothers try to make through the summer on their own. Great movie. Mister had a great line about messed up mothers: you can't help loving them but you don't have to like them.

q1605 said...

It's strange feeling a back handed affection for someone that makes you want to throw up.

mulderfan said...

I rescued a beautiful collie from an abusive old farmer next door. Every time I walked past his driveway the dog would try to drag me up to the house. The guy was elderly and just before he died he asked to see the dog. That dog climbed into the bed, laid down next to the old bugger and licked his face.

Last thing I said to my mum was "love you mum" and I meant it.

q1605 said...

One of my favorite things to tell people is that they are the crazy ones not us. If we don't feel regrets for a failed relation with a family member ...even if it's not our fault, then that makes us more like them than I am comfortable with.