Oh, it has been so long since I have written about narcissism. Perhaps I just needed some space to process. More likely, its simply the result of watching the narcissistic pattern again and again form its endless, repetitive loop of confusion.
Here is what I have been telling myself in regards to maneuvering around those with narcissistic tendencies in my life:
1. Narcissists WANT you to be confused- ALWAYS.
Ever wonder why your mind will replay and rehash interactions with the narcissist? In some ways, you are being driven by that human need to “process and make sense” of events in order that you may learn from them. We do this throughout life, beginning in infancy.
We watch, we learn, we interact, we learn some more, as we form relationships that evolve forward.
Such activities are impossible with a narcissist. Narcissists are not looking for you (or your relationship with them) to evolve in a healthy, positive way.
That does not work for the narcissist. What works for the narcissist is for you to stay clueless and complacent.
One of the means the narcissist will employ to make this happen is to constantly confuse you with any means necessary- lies, blames, denials, and so on.
You will exit interactions with the narcissist and upon reflection wonder what the hell that was all about.
You were engaging with sincerity. The narcissist was engaging with selfish craziness- craziness meant to keep you off guard.
When you interact with a narcissist, you and the narcissist are NOT in the same relational dynamic- EVER. Quit trying to make it otherwise.
2. Why “No Contact” requires Your Effort
Often, once we get a handle on narcissism, we realize we must institute “no contact” ( or as limited contact as possible) with the narcissist.
At this point, we are clear with our intentions and then we muster our courage, bolster our resources, and initiate the no or limited contact.
We do not open ourselves to phone calls, phone messages, conversations, pleas, threats and arguments.
And then, often, the narcissist gets quiet, and so does our resolve. We are driven by a need to relate and we hate to exclude anyone (even at risk to our well being).
So we begin to think that a little understanding and engagement can’t be that bad. We may even delude ourselves that the narcissist will appreciate our interactions again.
Once you initiate no or little contact, though, you can not go back. The reason is this – narcissism is a many-headed monster with NO awareness of boundaries.
If you initiate or follow through on contact (beyond your set limitations) even once, be prepared to re-establish your boundaries several times over. You may, in your mind, think you are initiating contact “just this one time”. This means absolutely nothing to the narcissist.
The many heads of the narcissistic monster need to be fed. If you throw out a scrap or two, here or there, the narcissist will come looking for more.
And if you think you can simply re-establish boundaries with ease, think again.
Narcissists see your personal boundaries, not as areas to back off and respect, but rather as mere challenges to engage all narcissist’s energy to overcome them.
Your boundaries actually incite the narcissist to action.
So unless you want to have to reassert your boundaries again and again, never extend your contact with a narcissist beyond what is necessary. Your time and energy can be better spent elsewhere.