Well, I'll Be Damned: Dealing with a Narcissist
Denial, Excuses, Narcissism, and a Bowl Full of Crazy
Dealing with an abusive person is hard enough, and it is very unlikely that you'll be dealing with a narcissist who isn't abusive. Most of us are easily able to identify abuse. However, it gets to be very overwhelming and even confusing or maddening when mind games come into play. We know what it feels like to be mistreated, hurt, neglected, and abused. Something inside of us yells out that things aren't right, we lose our comfort. Our feelings are affected. We are uneasy, angry, sad. We feel defeated or cheated. Many of us never have to question whether or not these channeled inner feelings are legitimate or not, that is until we experience manipulation by our offender.
Our offender will deny that their intentions were to ever hurt or slight us. They will give a billion excuses or what they deem as good reasons for their offensive actions. They will defend their reason to the death, after they deny that they ever tried to offend us. They will feign total innocence and make you think that you're over reacting in every possibly way.It gets worse, not only will they never admit to their wrong doing, but they will then become the offended one, telling you how much you've hurt them by thinking so poorly of them, They will recall their own situations where they were hurt or recall an incident in their own unique way and start to "remind you" about the time when you did something horrible to them, even if you know it's not the truth. They will be relentless and before you realize what has happened, you'll find yourself defending yourself and pleading your case. You'll wonder what just happened and how on earth did you get here. Wasn't it you who was hurt, cheated, and slighted? Well how are you here defending yourself now against accusation after accusation?
Which of These Describe Your Narcissist?
No Matter What You Say... Control & Narcissism Rules
You will find that you understand exactly how you were slighted and you can articulate it perfectly, yet the response you get never matches anything you just said. Your offender will keep going back to one central point, usually how you offended them. They will repeat their excuse and "perfect reason" over and over again, no matter what you say. Initially you will just think that you're in the middle of a very emotionally high strung conversation and therefore neither of you are hearing the other well. You will attempt to repeat yourself or even re-word your thoughts to provide an even more in depth understanding of the injury that resulted from the offense. That's only natural. Someone has hurt you and you want them to understand how and to what degree. Nonetheless, this attempt at creating understanding will be in vain as well. They will tune you out and revert to how you have offended them or give you the good reasons they've done what they've done. They will work ferociously to convince you that you don't understand and eve try to convince you that you're being unfair. They may go on and on about how you being offended has in fact offended them. You can forget about your initial problems ever being addressed. You are now whirling around in a giant bowl full of crazy.
You will find that unlike any normal relationship between friends or lovers, you will never have the opportunity to be justifiably upset, at least not with them... at least it won't feel like it. Every single time you have a gripe or the slightest disdain for something and attempt to bring it up, this vicious cycle will repeat itself. There will be an excuse or good reason they will be offended, they will somehow blame you, and you will end up defending yourself. According to a well-read article in Psychology Today, it becomes an endless cycle and "you end up living your life to avoid [this person's] triggers." Eventually you will either believe you are always the problem or you will come to expect that this is the decided outcome by this person. So why bother?
And don't waste your time trying to figure out if a narcissistic person is aware of their abuse or if they are doing it on purpose. This will only drive you even more mad. Here's why. If you come to the conclusion that they are in fact aware and are intentionally manipulating you, it will enrage you and by nature you will want to address it and when you do, you'll have to find just the right words to voice your feelings. When you are satisfied with the way you plan to articulate your woes and actually do so, you will be met with THE CYCLE. Your manipulator will become appalled at your accusation. They will be offended. They will feign or even be hurt. You may hear things like "you always think the worst of me," or something like "I'm doing the best I can to make you happy and you never give me a fair chance." These statements are meant to make you feel guilty. They might even start accusing you of being perfect. Any stable person will of course step back to assess the situation and then start asking themselves reflective questions like, "am I being too harsh" or "am i being too judgmental?" Do you realize that as soon as you start questioning yourself in that way, you will be giving the narcissist the green light to plow right over you?
On the flip side, if you don't drive yourself crazy trying to figure out if their manipulation and control is intentional, you may fall into a bad habit of trying to figure out what's wrong with them. If you're anything like me, you'll obsess over it, reading articles and books, taking quizzes, or even seeking a therapists. How ironic, isn't it? You're dealing with a person who abuses and manipulates you, makes up a million excuses, deflects, blames you, accuses you of being perfect after they've hurt you, and here you are so damned confused, you're seeking help. The best advice I can give you is to run, run quick, run fast, run right away. Life with a narcissist is no different than strapping on cement shoes and jumping in quick sand.
I Cant Stand It Anymore!
Are You or Someone You Know A Narcissist?
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What's Happening To Me?
The longer you go on and the more encounters you have with an abusive narcissist, the crazier you will feel. Understand that this is to their advantage. If you are confused and feel crazy, but are in fact smart and logical but forgetful of this being the case, you will often not speak up. You will keep quiet because you aren't sure of your feelings or thoughts anymore. Every time you are sure or think that you're sure you end up in a very scattered and long conversation where you are defending yourself or maybe even apologizing. If you feel confused or crazy, you may just desperately yearn for peace of mind and therefore let the abusive narcissist have their way.
There will be those times where your heart, brain, and common sense are all arguing with each other and you will become enraged. You will know without a shadow of a doubt that you have a case, that you aren't wrong, that you're making a valid point, but you will still ask yourself why you should bother. You know by now how this conversation will turn out. You may tell yourself to stand your ground, no matter what and you will start out doing just that. The problem is an abusive narcissist can usually stand their ground longer, even if their ground isn't real. This will lead you to ask yourself if you're crazy, if perhaps your abuser is right, or if they have any validity in their claims. How can they be so adamant if there isn't some truth in what they are saying? Ha! In that moment of weakness and logic, you won't even realize the tables have been turned and your offender is now the victim to something you've said or done once again. The "mistake" we make is having empathy, something the narcissist knows nothing about. That empathy makes us take a step outside of ourselves and put ourselves in someone else's shoes to consider their feelings. This makes us vulnerable. A loving person in a healthy relationship wouldn't take advantage of that vulnerability, but an abusive narcissist will do just that. After all, they can NEVER empathize with you. That's why no matter what you say, they are always able to revert the conversation back to them, their issue, how they are offended, and their needs. By nature, they don't care about your issues, what offended you, or your needs. Not until they are completely pacified will they pay your concerns the slightest mind. Even then, should you get to voice a complete thought, you'd better be careful to avoid their triggers, strike no nerves, or offend, because the vicious cycle is destined to repeat itself.
Just Know... You Will Never Win
A narcissist is relentless and you will never win. If you two played a game and the objective was to reach the finish line first, even if you did reach the finish line first, the narcissist will give reason after reason why it wasn't legitimate. They may not acknowledge your "win" at all and move on to something else very quickly to get the attention off of you or diminish the value of your accomplishment. They might give an underhanded compliment, or openly critique you. And if you're planning on dealing with that narcissist, you will find yourself in that same predicament again. It's a cycle, remember? Do you hush them and tell them that they've hurt or offended you? Do you justify your win, because after all you did win and you do deserve to be acknowledged, or for the sake of your sanity and a peaceful outcome, do you ignore it? I can assure you, though, ignoring the constant pokes and jabs that come to you by way of a narcissist will eventually lead to an awful bitterness and resentment. You will feel more and more diminished and you will understand why, because you are a logical person. That pesky narcissist will never allow you to shine though, not in this lifetime. They have a grandiose idea about themselves and a chariot for one.
Embrace Reality & Hold Onto As Much Sanity As You Can
According to Licensed Clinical Social worker, Sandy Hotchkiss of Pasadena California, "unreaity is the hallmark of narcissism, whether it's idealizations, expectations of perfection, manufactured images, illusions, distortions of fact, catastrophizing, other exaggerations, denial, or outright lying." She goes on to explain that narcissists will go through great lengths and troubles to avoid any type of reality that causes them to experience shame. Their goal is to "promote fantasies that sustain their grandiosity and omnipotence." And they can't do it without you.
It will be difficult to do, but one of the best things you can do to avoid being sucked into their sadistic spiderweb is to grab hold of reality and never let it go. Even better, if you meet someone and you suspect they might be a narcissist, RUN! Don't think you can change them. They've been this way their entire lives. And no matter how sweet or loving you are, you won't likely be the one to win their hearts and love, and make them see the err of their ways. They will crack your head open and pour the bamboozlement inside it before you even realize what's happening and then... Well, just find your reality and hold onto it for dear life. Dealing with a narcissist can eventually lead you down a dark path.
I Don't Think That We're In Kansas Aymore!
How Dealing with a Narcissist Can Affect You
You Lose Trust in Others
Your Self-Esteem Can Diminish
You Doubt Yourself Too Often
You Have Bad Nerves
Keeping Distance from Others
Being Overly Defensive
Needing Behavioral Therapy
Your Finances or Home Life is Left in Shambles
Dealing With Depression
Loss of Friends
Loss of Self Worth
Unnecessary Feeling of Being Rejected
Loss of Personal Goals and Achievements