The gilded, golden cage- don’t let it fool you.
Narcissists and sociopaths are about one primary thing- winning.
They are not into “win-win” type of victories, as many of us are. They are not even aware of anyone besides themselves and their own needs. Thus, there can be no “win-win” when you are only considering the victories of one.
Maybe you have gotten smart. You have read your books. You have talked to your friends. You have shed your tears. You have wised up, tightened up, drawn your lines, erected your boundaries, armored up, placed your narcissist or sociopath in a locked cage thrown away the key – and wait…what is this…
… the narcissist or sociopath seems to be responding to your signals. After all these years and all this time, they are seemingly…nicer, more aware… can you dare hope?
No. You can not.
Let me tell you what is happening. The narcissist or sociopath is still playing to WIN- and let’s not forget it is not “win-win”. You have no place in his or her victory- EVER.
Being a narcissist or a sociopath is all about surviving and in this arena, these individuals are not stupid. They play this game better than you or I ever will (why? because we have the additional burden of actually thinking about and caring about others.)
When you have drawn firm lines with a narcissist or sociopath – you will encounter, first, mind-blowing rage. Think “firestorm” and then add fuel to it. But what if this doesn’t work for them. Do you really think the narcissist or sociopath will insist on a path that is not working? No. Remember they are driven by winning and surviving.
Let us say you have built a cage around your narcissist or sociopath. You have contained them and their influence in your life (or so you believe). Let us even say you have electrified the bars of that cage for good measure. Do you think they will throw themselves against the electrified bars of your boundaries in some type of dramatic self-sacrifice? Never.
They will bide their time. Slowly. Outwardly calm. They will actually pretend to sit in the cage of your made-up boundaries and rules and they will act like they want to play nice- very nice- until you get close enough to let them touch you.
You see, when you are solid in your boundaries (or better yet, stop engaging with a narcissist or sociopath completely) and they receive a little shock from brushing up against it- they will back away. Remember their survival is paramount, self-sacrifice is not. They will learn- “ah, that is a boundary, I must not go there”. But, they will also learn to wait until you trust again -until you trust enough to take down the electrified boundary. They will test again and again until there is an opening.
When you have finally put your narcissist or sociopath in a cage, keep the bars well-fortified and electrified. They are not sitting in the cage thinking of great ways to truly make you feel better. They are only thinking one thing- how in the hell do I get out of here and who is going to pay when I do?
When you are finally strong enough to set boundaries with these types, be smart enough to keep your hands and your hopes out of the cage you had to create for them. There are many people who deserve your best love, care, and hope in this world. Narcissists and sociopaths are not one of them.