Do you remember “Mad Libs”- those books where a friend asked you to fill in nouns or verbs and then inserted them into a narrative that was then read to you.
Crazy, irrelevant stories would emerge much to our amusement.
What was fun in childhood can take a darker turn for adults. I don’t mean “Mad Libs” suddenly become evil narratives on their own.
However, I do feel narcissists and sociopaths continue to play this crazy game well into adulthood.
Rather than supplying generic nouns and verbs, they are prompted to provide names, vulgar words, derogatory comments, insults, mean slights and so on.
And if you stop to pay attention, you will find the narcissistic version of “Mad Libs” produces narratives that are just as ridiculous and ungrounded as the stories we participated in childhood.
For example, recently my stepson at various times has used the words “insecure, liar, and fat” to describe me.
Many words can describe me. I doubt the list above would make the top 200 words that most people who know me would use to describe me.
Where did these terms likely come from? I would imagine his Mother.
When I asked him why he defined me as “insecure”, he stated, “I don’t know. I don’t even know what that means.”
I had been critical of her and her lack of parenting. Rather than embrace that energy and look at herself, she chose to deflect and stick a label on me that had very little, if any, resonance.
But these labels bantered around by narcissists, no matter how irrelevant, can be damaging. They cause us to pause and question ourselves.
Am I insecure? Am I a liar? Am I fat?
This, to say the least, is a waste of our time.
We always must remember that narcissists do not live in the standard “agreed upon” reality.
They will instigate any and all behavior so they “win”.
Picture them with their nasty book of “Mad Libs”.
If you are the target for the moment, they will fill in your name and any and all harmful words they can think of into the blanks:
Slut! Whore! Stupid! Worthless! Fat! Ugly! and so on…
They are playing a ridiculous game that they believe they will win because it has worked for them in the past.
The next time you are with a narcissist and this behavior begins, realize it has nothing to do with you or with your reality.
Simply say to yourself about their behavior “Oh, are you using your little book of Mad Libs again?”
Just as the Mad Lib stories of our childhood had no real resonance in the world, the words of the narcissist are the same. Made up fantasies that only the narcissist believes.