The Severing of Instincts…Dealing with a Narcissist

  If you deal with a narcissist in your life, you must also remember that one of the primary moves of a Narcissist is to sever your instincts and cut you to the core.  By doing this, you will be even more confused when dealing with the Narcissist, and the Narcissist can then turn your uncertainty and “craziness” against you!

In your “normal” relationships, you have been trained to behave  and respond in a certain way.  Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, you  also operate under a certain set of expectations of how others will relate and respond to you.  Relationships have a certain give and take that we have, for the most part,been understanding and responding to throughout our lives, beginning in early childhood.  Another way of saying this is that years and years and years of training have happened.

Well, if you are dealing with a Narcissist, you can throw all of that out the window.  Completely. Every relationship skill and instinct you have developed in order to make your relationships successful and fulfilling needs to be forgotten when dealing with a Narcissist.

Let’s say you have a disagreement with a non- Narcissist friend. What is your first instinct?  Well, to talk to the friend and discuss what happened.  YOu know relationships are built on communication and although you may not end up agreeing, you can still work towards understanding one another. Not so with a Narcissist.

Here are the things you can NOT do with a Narcissist:

Communicate, Compromise, Be Heard, Be Understood, Seek Resolution, Discuss a Logical Sequence of Events, Seek Support, Have a Different Opinion, Express Your Opinion, Agree to Disagree, Move on, Move Past, Let it go, Find a Sense of Union with Another.

All the things that you do in a “normal” relationship, every instinct you have developed for relational success must be forgotten when dealing with a Narcissist.  Always remember, such things as compromise, union, hearing the opinion of another person are completely foreign to a Narcissist.

You may try to do things that have “worked” in relationships with others, but go in knowing that with a Narcissist your normal relational skills will not’ bring you expected results. Where you seek compromise, the Narcissist will see total victory.  Where you seek understanding, the Narcissist seeks domination.

Not a pretty picture, but we can save ourselves a lot of pain by understanding the picture with which we are dealing.

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30 thoughts on “The Severing of Instincts…Dealing with a Narcissist

  1. “Where you seek compromise, the Narcissist will see total victory. Where you seek understanding, the Narcissist seeks domination.”

    The REALLY scary thing is that a narcissist thinks seeking victory IS compromise and that domination IS understanding. Twisted logic and thinking. The X narcissist from my past life once tried to tell me that he was a humanitarian because he donated cans of food one year to a food drive. I tried to tell him that his action was humanitarian but that to be called a true humanitarian, a person would need to make unending acts of humanitarianism year-after-year and month-after-month. He continues to tell everyone he’s a humanitarian, and he bases it on that ONE act 5 years ago!!! Twisted and self-serving.

    • It is so did that your story is typical. You do a great job in giving an example of how the mind of a narcissist works. I am sure he truly believes he is a humanitarian. He really can’t see himself in any other way. THANKS!

  2. Very sad that some people are relegated to living life in this fashion. Enduring a lasting relationship with someone who is a narcissist is bound to be a very unsatisfying experience, and would take nothing less than a saint for constantly looking past and putting up with the behaviors to really focus on the individual and their true needs (not the self-professed needs). Makes me not only sad for those who care and can do nothing but watch these people self-destruct and have no option but to stand clear lest they be caught up in the destruction, but also for the narcissist, because underneath all that bravado and ego – there is an actual person under there who is hurt and broken (hence the narcissistic exterior) and just wants to be loved like the rest of us. Very sad.

    • So, so agree. That is the difficult thing for those of us who have narcissists in our lives. We often do see underneath the exterior and the fragile, hurt person beneath. It is a constant balancing act when dealing with a narcissist.

  3. I know exactly what you are talking about – I used to date a narcissist. Of course, I had no idea he was a narcissist, cause I never met one before. So I preceded to treat our relationship as if it was a mature one between two grown ups… you know how it went… I could not predict anything – I felt confused, needy, insecure, even crazy… until I realized that it was not me who was causing all the disfunction… As soon as I realized what kind of person I fell for, I broke up with him, and he put a LOT of effort to get me back, but I knew better than that. He will never change, cause he does not see what is SO WRONG about manipulating people’s emotions to feed his ego.

    • I know- that is the strangest thing in dealing with a narcissist- you try to use “typical” relationship skills, and it just will not work. I am so glad that you made the decision to leave him.

      • I missed him too afterwards, can you believe it?:) You are right, it is a strangest thing, – I felt confused all the time, and was blaming myself for everything. And then I saw the light when I came across an article about narcissist – it was my AHA moment, like the God himself had sent me a message, and I then I found it in me to break up with my then a boyfriend, which he didn’t accept, cause he kept calling and writing to me, and actually acted much nicer toward me than before. After reading an article, I knew it was only temporarily mask… I am very happy with my dissuasion to leave this disastrous relationship:).

  4. I am leaving my narcisstic after 10 brutal years. I plummeted into the worst depression I never want to experience again nor do I wish for anyone (including him) to go through. I am terrified of the unknown because I know he will be ruthless and sadistic in court. The verbal/emotional abuse is documented by my physician and I am hoping this fact will carry some weight with the court. I could use some support from other victims during this emotionally trying time.

  5. I have just seperated from my narcissist wife. Discovering what she is has given me strenght but I have a problem and that is we have 3 kids. I want contact with my 3 kids but it seems that my wife wants to dictate my contact in a way that she has a social life and I won’t. I love my kids to bits so do I have to accept what she says goes? Is there any way of making her compromise on which days I see the kids. Is there a way to deal with this situation that gets me what I want and at the same time my narcissist wife thinks she is getting her way?

    Just to add lately my wife has limited her texts to me to only texts regarding kids. I stood up to her a couple of weeks ago telling her I will not be involved in her games anymore and she can do her worst to me if she wants as I don’t care anymore. I also know that she would never be able to handle having our 3 kids 24/7 every day per week so I see this in my favour for contact.

    Any suggestions would be gratefully received. I’d love to avoid court procedures if possible as confrontation would just be what she is striving for anyway.

    • HI, I feel your pain in this situation. Divorce is difficult enough- throw in a narcissist and now it becomes a true mess. I know you say you don’t want to go to court, but even through your attorney you should be able to negotiate a childcare arrangement that is FAIR to everyone (of course if your ex-wife is the narcissist you say she is, the idea of “Fair” is completely NOT on her radar. Anything she desires and does not get will be deemed “unfair” by her.) You deserve a social life and a sense of balance, just as your ex-wife does. Work with your attorney to get something reasonable.

      I do understand that you want to negotiate this with as little drama as possible, because you are likely a sane, balance person. Your ex-wife is not. However, you must remember what drives the narcissist. They will only stop when you hand over everything they want ( and i will warn you, even then they will not be happy) OR they will simply continue to escalate the drama. They do not live in the same reality as you or I. They will not be reasonable, open to compromise, or seeing things your way. Not that it has to be a huge fight, but you must know going into things that she does not have your best interest at heart (at all) and that you must protect yourself and your relationship with your children.

      In your favor, of course, is most narcissist’s inability to care for children full-time, as you point out. My suggestion would be to read as much as you can about narcissism so you don’t feel so alone and you can begin to pick up some tools to anticipate her responses. Narcissists because they are so poorly developed are often very predictable in their responses. They swing back and forth between rage and being nice, but you can sense a rhythm and pattern developing. One blog that I read that has helped is Paula’s Pontifications http://paularenee.wordpress.com/ She also has many links to other great blogs. I so wish you well, please stay in touch and read and learn all that you can!!! Your children will be blessed by your balance and perspective. They need it.

  6. Thankyou for the response Kimberley. I will take all you have said on board and read as much information as I can to help deal with my situation 🙂

  7. I’ve written a small light hearted poem. Hope you like it.

    A Narcissist! Yes that’s my wife
    She’s fooled me good all through my life
    She’s made me feel I was to blame
    By using guilt, creating shame
    She made me change to suit her needs
    Control and power her ego feeds
    It took a while to finally see
    The love in our marriage came only from me!

    • Love this!!! Thank you for sharing!! You so capture living with a narcissist- especially the last line- that is exactly what it is to be in a “relationship” with a narcissist. Thanks for the smile today!

  8. Glad you liked it Kimberley. I have been doing as you said and reading more about Narcissism. It’s amazing but I read things like “the silent treatment” and speaking in a babyish voice. These are things my wife has done although the baby voice seemed to dissappear in the last couple of years.She was particularly good at twisting things to make her seem the victim, or to make me feel guilty and be the one to try to make up with her when really she was as much at fault as me!

  9. Hi Kimberley. I have just sent the following email to my wife and was wondering if you could let me know if this sounds reasonable to you or not…

    Hey,
    I’ve been having a think of arrangements for Kids once I get flat up and running and have come up with a couple of suggestions for you to think about and maybe suggestions you can make to me.

    I thought I could have them overnight Friday after school until 7pm Saturday OR Saturday after tea to Sunday teatime (dependent on if you have night out arranged which one) This way we both get a full day at weekend to take them to park or wherever.

    Also I could have them Mondays and Wednesday after work until 730pm or 8pm (if ok). I could bathe them and have them in jim jams when I drop them off.

    Or Another Idea I have

    I have them Friday after school until Sunday tea time every second weekend but still have them each week after work Monday and Wednesdays.

    I think this would be quite fair on both of us and we would get equal time to do stuff with them at weekends.

    Let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions I’m more than willing to have a look at them and come to an arrangement which is Fair all round.

    • Hi donsfan,
      Your letter sounds very reasonable to me, however, SHE won’t! It has been my unfortunate experience that control is her only concern and making you pay is of the utmost. If she thinks she can keep your children from you and knows this will hurt you deeply, she will do anything to obtain this sick satisfaction. I hope and wish the best for you….this isn’t an easy ride.

    • Hi! I think this is so nicely crafted. It is balanced and respectful, and not manipulative. You have certainly done your part. How she responds to this isNOT your problem. You have handled your end beautifully.

  10. Thanks Brenda and Kimbeley. The difference with me is that my wife wanted me to have the kids 3 weekends per month with 1 weekend that she specifically choses to have them. I didn’t like this arrangement as I think kids need routine and also my wife has already made arrangements/booked things with kids THEN phoned me to tell me I won’t be getting them.

    I prefer we share the free time with the kids as I feel they should have as much fun with their mum as they do with me alas I think my wife want’s to go out partying more hence the 3 weekends for me. Again though she is twisting things into me not wanting to see the kids but I really think my proposals laid out above were fair and gave us equal fun time with kids and equal opportunity to have a social life of our own so that we can both move on.

    In short though at first my wife raged at me about these proposals throwing lines like “You will never win father of the year awards” and asked me to leave her house which I did. I then got home and received a text saying “Do what you want” and 5 minutes later she text saying she preferred the fortnightly arrangement as she got a “bigger break” from the kids this way! (can I point out as well her friend was present when she raged at me as well as the kids)

    I don’t even want to go in her house anymore and on Saturday I had to collect the kids from her friends house as she had kept them overnight Friday. When I dropped kids off back at my wife’s saturday night I waited at the gate and watched kids enter the house. As i turned to return to the car my wife came out house and shouted “What! do i not even get a goodbye now”

    One minute shouting at me to leave house and the next she shouting because I don’t enter the house to say goodbye!!!

    Surely she must see what this behaviour can do to the kids??

    • donsfan: In reply to you question, she doesn’t CARE what it does to the kids! SHE is the only one of importance, THEY are minor pawns in her game. I am so sorry you and the children are exposed to this nutsyness. When I was going through this, I turned the tables on him – I said I wasn’t able to have the children whateverwhateverwhatever…..he then proclaimed I didn’t want the kids and I should take them more! You might want to think about a tactic like that! In the end I WON!!!

      • Great reply Brenda! It always amazes me how much time/energy we must put into these narcissistic individuals just to create an environment of balance. Kudos to you!

    • Oh my goodness, she has narcissist, narcissist, narcissist written all over. The swinging back and forth, the drama, the rage and the accusations. Sigh…already she seems like a textbook example. Please realize you have NOTHING to do with her insanity, although she will dump it all over you. Keep yourself and your children front and center in your mind. I wish you all the best:)

  11. You’re welcome! I hope it works!!! Just keep in mind they always, and I mean always need to be in control! Work her “system” to make her THINK she is!

  12. Thanks Kimberley my mindset currently is my kids need to be with me not just for seeing me and quality time but for respite from this behaviour. It’s up to me to make sure my kids don’t turn out like her and I’m gonna do my utmost to make sure they don’t!!

    • Hi! I am not sure. It’s funny as I just read your comments to my husband last evening, as I so I thought he could relate. It seems as if some of my recent postings lost the comments section. not sure what is up. Hopefully you will get this one.

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