I was reading a blog the other day in which the author recounted being in an abusive relationship. She related how she was like the frog placed in water in which the temperature is slowly elevated, and the frog remains unaware because the changes are so gradual.
This is a common analogy for abuse survivors. We have been the frogs, not realizing how “bad” it is, until the water is a roiling boil. (The links are too sites which work with this analogy that inspired this post – thank you! 🙂 )
I would like to flip this analogy around, though, and use it to describe a narcissist under stress.
We all have stressful times in life. Part of being a capable adult is realizing the world is not designed to simply accommodate our every whim and need, and that life challenges, both big and small, are to be expected. As competent, caring adults, we see our job is to grow and develop, so we are able to handle the stresses and strains of life with compassion, understanding and awareness.
Place us in the boiling cauldron of life, in the most daunting circumstance, and we will work to survive in the most beautiful way we can.
None of what I have just written, of course, applies to the narcissist in your life.
Have you ever seen a narcissist under stress? Seriously, it is a sight to behold. The stressor can be the slightest in nature. Let’s say, some dry cleaning is delayed, a towel is not folded correctly, a look is not “right”.
It does not matter the severity, because any slight mishap in a narcissist’s life is viewed and responded to by the narcissist as if he or she were a frog suddenly flung into boiling water.
They metaphorically lash and trash about trying to escape their self-perceived “pain”. And by escape, I mean that they begin screaming and directing everyone else to fix the problem- NOW!
I recently have been witnessing a narcissist at work who is under some “stress”. This is not a major stress but her response is over the top, as it always is with a narcissist.
Using the boiling frog analogy, a narcissist perceives even the slightest rise in stress or temperature to be a substantial conflict. Even a life event that for most of us would fall under tepid or lukewarm, in regards to stress, is too much for the narcissist.
They are the boiling frog analogy in reverse- capable of detecting the slightest elevation in temperature and engaging in an over the top response.
Double, double toil and trouble…fire burn and cauldron bubble…
Life with a narcissist under stress.
In case you are new to my blog, the figure in the pan on the stove is my representative narcissist character. She has appeared on my blog before. I draw her this way with a specific intent in mind.
Do you see her heart-shaped face and hearts on her sleeves? Narcissists always say they are about love and heart. But, then, look at her eyes- completely crossed out. Narcissists never truly see anything but their own needs.
Her face is yellow, because that is the color of the third chakra (the sense of self-will.) Narcissists have no effective way of dealing with the third chakra. Her dress is green, because this is the color of the heart chakra, another area of weakness of the narcissist.
Like any narcissist, she displays herself proudly and has not a clue as to what is going on.