Triggers And Coping With Narcissistic Games

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I had a strange call from my parents last night.  I realized some things from it that I’d like to share with you today..

Last night, my husband was on the phone for a while.  When he hung up, he told me my parents had called but he hadn’t clicked over because of not wanting to interrupt his other call.  Shortly after telling me this, our phone rang & my parents’ number popped up on the caller ID.  I answered it.  It was my mother.  She said that my father had been trying to call but couldn’t get through, so SHE had to call (always she does things right when others can’t yanno- typical narcissistic behavior).  She said for me to hang on & she’d get him.  Ok.. this was odd, I thought, plus the tone in her voice sent shivers down my spine.  Probably anyone else who heard it wouldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, but it made me feel like I was a teenager again, waiting on my mother to scream in my face & accuse me of awful things I hadn’t done.  The tone basically said, “I’m being civil because there is a witness, but just wait until we’re alone.  All the immense disgust & hatred I feel for you will come out!”  *sigh*

So then my father got on the phone.  It turns out he has a new health concern & is going to get it checked out on this coming Monday.  He asked if I could take him to the doctor nearby in Annapolis.  I said fine.  (It isn’t- it interrupts my routine which makes me extremely anxious- but to take care of his health, I’ll deal with it).  I asked for details & he said that he & my mother would be by to pick me up around 9:45.  HUH?!  I asked why do I need to be there if she is driving him?  I assumed I’d be driving him since he isn’t allowed to drive after last month’s mild stroke.  He said she claims she can’t remember where the office is.  Ok, but how about getting directions?  It’s super easy to find!  It’s 8 turns (including turning out of their driveway & into the doctor’s parking lot) to find this place from their home.  Something felt very fishy & with a little prayer, God showed me what was going on.

My mother is angry with me because, being the “horrible” person I am, I set a boundary with her a few weeks ago as I’d mentioned in another blog post.  She decided to feign being clueless about where to to in order to get me alone so she can dish out her narcissistic rage.  She also knew I would go, because if I don’t, she will claim she can’t take my father to this important appointment, forcing him to miss it.  She will enjoy having me trapped in her car with no means of escape, & trapped with her at the doctor’s office for that purpose.  She loves to let me know what a horrible person I am, how crazy I am, how wrong I am for liking & disliking the things I do, what a piece of junk my car is, etc. in public places now, because if I speak back to her, I will look like the unreasonable daughter abusing her dear, elderly mother.  Her car is another good place for her, because I can’t escape.  The days of her screaming these things in my face are gone now that she is no longer bigger & stronger than me.   Those days are now replaced with quiet, scathing disapproval & verbal abuse in an attempt to bait me into looking like a raging lunatic.  Thank God, I am well aware of this game & know what to expect.

So what did I learn from this conversation??

First, I learned to appreciate triggers.  As painful as they can be, triggers also serve a purpose.  When something makes you feel afraid or angry as you felt as a child, it makes you feel that way for a reason!  It’s a warning that something isn’t right.  My mother’s tone of voice mentally took me back to the days I was a teenager & suffering the worst of her abuse.  God showed me that the familiar tone of voice was to warn me a narcissistic rage is in my near future with her.  (Something I will remember regarding future triggers!)

I also learned that I really have learn to prepare better- it’s only good self-care!  Normally in these situations, even when I have known something was brewing, I failed to prepare.  My husband suggested I take an mp3 player with earbuds so I can escape into music if it gets too bad.  A very wise idea that hadn’t occurred to me!  An idea that I had was to contact friends & see who may be available during that time so I can leave if need be.  Someone can come pick me up if I need to walk out.  I’m in the process of finding someone now.

Triggers can serve as a very good warning that something is about to happen that we need to prepare for, such as last night’s call from my parents.  If you, too, have a narcissistic mother, triggers can benefit you as well.  Pay close attention to them.  If you are unsure why her tone of voice or body language triggers fear in you, ask God for help.  Ask Him to show you what you need to know.  He will!  And, once you realize what the trigger was about, prepare to the best of your ability.  Unfortunately, all narcissists can catch their victims off-guard sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid much of their cruelty.  Again, ask God for help if you need to, & He will show you very creative & effective ways to cope.

Although often severing ties with a narcissistic personality disordered individual is best, sometimes it simply is not possible, or you know in your heart it isn’t right for you at this time.  With prayer & help from God, you can learn ways to cope with a narcissist.  It may not be easy, but it is possible.

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3 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Mental Health, Narcissism

3 responses to “Triggers And Coping With Narcissistic Games

  1. Wow, I am not familiar with narcissistic behavior. This was really interesting to read. It sounds like a rough situation, though. I think what you wrote about listening to those triggers makes sense.

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    • Thank you, innerdragon! Count yourself very blessed you aren’t familiar with narcissistic behavior. These people are incredibly difficult to deal with! I write about it a lot in the hopes of helping others who have to deal with them.

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