I remember it was my Mom who used to say, “A stitch in time saves nine.”
The pace of the saying stayed with me, although I never really reflected on its meaning too much – that is until someone with narcissistic tendencies entered my life.
“A stitch in time saves nine” simply means that to address a problem immediately when it is still likely small saves time, energy, and aggravation later. Don’t place the first stitch in a timely manner and you will end up confronting a bigger hole (problem) in time.
Because I am such a time conscious and proactive, problem-solving type of person, this could be a life mantra for me. And this has been wonderful, until a narcissist entered my life.
Unconsciously, like me, you may operate under the “A stitch in time saves nine” principal in life.
You plan, you strategize, you evaluate, you anticipate, and you engage on problems and issues. You, in fact, may consider the above list to be a successful approach to life and be proud of yourself for your ability to meet life’s challenges in such a healthy manner.
Sadly, this type of approach will be wasted if you are interacting with a narcissist.
A stitch in time saves little to nothing with a narcissist.
If you interact with someone with narcissistic tendencies you may have begun to realize, similar to many things that apply to life with a narcissist, that sayings, ideas, thought processes that work well with everyone else fail in the face of narcissism.
There are ALWAYS holes that need repairing when a narcissist is involved. Narcissists are so limited developmentally that it is impossible for there not to be gaping holes in their lives. It may be in the area of finances, fidelity, child raising, and of course, always, interpersonal skills.
You, dutiful person that you are, will sense these holes and think “I will place a stitch here and there to shore up and repair this area.”
And right behind you, stitch for stitch, the narcissist will be pulling them apart leaving the hole gaping.
Not only will the single problem, hole, be left gaping, so will your sense of wholeness. It can be despondency-inducing to have your best efforts, not only not met with equal care and consideration, but also be undermined right in front of your face.
You place the stitch; the narcissist removes it. You place the stitch; the narcissist removes it.
In my own situation, I do not have any answers for this dynamic, other than my faith that knowledge and awareness is a means to wholeness, even if they do not solve the problem directly.
I write what I experience and the words become the stitches in some ways, but in this format they can not be removed.
For the awareness and insights are mine and though they may not heal the problem, they heal me.