ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Narcissists & No-Win Situations

Updated on March 6, 2018
SinDelle profile image

The Little Shaman is a spiritual counselor, hypnotherapist, and a specialist in Cluster B personality disorders.

No-win situations are sometimes known as a "lose-lose" situation or a double-bind and they are very common when you are dealing with a narcissistic person. Basically, a double bind is a situation where no matter what course of action you choose, you are wrong. Either the choice you are given cancels itself out, or both supposed choices end up with the same outcome.

For example, let's say your narcissistic loved one keeps asking you to attend counseling with them. You know that if you say yes and attend counseling, you will be accused of trying to sabotage their treatment by trying to turn the counselor against the narcissist - or they will attempt to turn the counselor against you - but if you say no and refuse to attend, you will be accused of trying to sabotage the narcissist's treatment by not helping therapy progress. This is a no-win situation because no matter what you do, you are going to be wrong and you are going to be punished.

No-win situations are cruel. They create an extraordinary amount of stress in people because there is no way to resolve the situation. If we look at our therapy example, the person cannot even "opt out" of the situation by refusing to participate in it because the refusal to participate in the situation still results in a negative consequence. People feel trapped and confused.

People who are constantly put in no-win situations may eventually shut down, unable to bear the stress of it anymore and unable to resolve or escape the situation. They may become unable to make decisions at all, because they have been conditioned to believe that any decision will result in something bad happening. Even those that are able to make decisions may find themselves severely stressed by having to make a choice and inordinately afraid of making the wrong one.

If your kids watch Spongebob, there was a great example of a double bind in one episode. Spongebob's boss was trying to impress a lady but he didn't want to spend too much money, so he gave his wallet to Spongebob to hold. No matter what Spongebob did, he was wrong. If he didn't buy the lady the gifts his boss was asking him to buy, he got yelled at for not buying them. If he did, he got yelled at for spending too much money. Poor Spongebob ended up going crazy and cursing his boss out. It was a funny episode, but it also shows that the huge amount of stress and pressure this kind of situation puts on somebody is no joke.

Narcissists often create no-win situations because they are looking for someone to blame. If we look to our therapy example, we can see that the narcissist is just trying to blame someone in advance for the therapy not being successful. They want to put the responsibility for this on somebody else, so they say it can't work unless you are involved. Then when you are involved, they say it can't work because you got involved and you ruined it. Their truth also fluctuates from day to day or even hour to hour with their mood, and therefore what was OK yesterday or a few hours ago may no longer be OK. You've received no warning and have no idea why it is not OK now, but somehow you were supposed to know and will be punished for your ignorance. This is one of the reasons dealing with pathologically narcissistic people is so impossible. It's impossible to do anything, build anything or create security with a person who has no truth or facts in their life, just feelings that can change any second. How can you build a relationship of any kind with this person when you can't even be sure if they still want the same kind of soda they asked for by the time you get back from the kitchen?

Another reason they set people up in no-win situations is because, frankly, many of them enjoy hurting other people. They enjoy confusing, angering, manipulating or otherwise upsetting people because they are angry and insecure. They can't create or regulate their own self-worth, remember. Every tiny bit they get has to come at somebody else's expense. They cannot be elevated without stomping someone else into the ground. They cannot be right unless someone else is wrong. They cannot be good unless someone else is bad. They cannot win unless someone else loses. They cannot succeed unless someone else fails. This is the dynamic at play when the narcissist insists you don't spend enough time with them, yet berates and attacks you whenever you are around. They need you around, all right. But it isn't for anything you want to be a part of.

The way to combat this is with strong boundaries. Remember that their weapon is generally not what they say or do. It's how you feel about what they say and do. That is where you have the power, and you've always had it. You don't have to let their behavior affect you. You can choose not to react. This can be difficult at first, especially because people get into patterns of behavior but it's not impossible at all. If they are violent or become violent, contact the authorities. Do what you have to so that you can move on with your life. That way you can do what needs to be done and stop worrying about whether a childish, emotionally immature person is going to have a problem with it or not. Shake off the guilt. There's nothing wrong with asserting yourself and refusing to participate in situations where you are being treated badly. It's your life and no one is going to live it if you don't. No one is going to come along and do the right thing for any of us. We have to do it ourselves. In the end, when you're dealing with pathologically narcissistic people, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. So if you're damned either way, how about you just don't?

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)