Tag Archives: control

Narcissists Love When Victims Suck Up To Them

Narcissists love to have power over their victims.  To hurt someone either mentally, physically or sexually gives them a feeling of power.  Possibly the only thing that makes narcissists feel even more powerful is watching their victim suck up to them.

When a victim is genuinely repentant & will do anything to make it up to their abuser, this is a huge power trip for the narcissist.  They know they can make that victim do anything at this point.  There also is the added bonus of the victim accepting responsibility for whatever the narcissist did.  This means the narcissist doesn’t have to take any blame at all.  (Not that they would anyway, but at least in this situation, they don’t have to work to pawn that blame off on someone else).

Narcissists are incredibly good at manipulation & gaslighting- making a person doubt their own thoughts, feelings, perceptions & even sanity.  Because of this, it’s no wonder many victims in the midst of narcissistic abuse continually apologize & suck up to their abuser.  I certainly have done my fair share of it before learning about narcissism.  (If you have too, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.  I doubt there is one victim of narcissistic abuse that hasn’t apologized to their abuser at least a couple of times.)

If you’re still in a relationship with a narcissist, I’m sure you’re faced with the scenario at least periodically, where the narcissist is angry with you & demands that you apologize.  Or maybe she prefers suddenly to stop speaking to you, with no explanation whatsoever, in an attempt to make you rush to her side, begging for her to speak to you again.

Having been there, I learned something.  Don’t do it!!!

If you have done something wrong, then by all means, apologize.  It’s just the right, mature thing to do.  Say you’re sorry, make things right if you can, & move on.

If you haven’t done something wrong, then do NOT apologize!  If you do it once, the narcissist will demand you do it again & again.  She will use you & wear you down to get you to make it up to her for whatever horrible thing you supposedly did.

If a person can’t behave like a mature adult by trying to work out a problem, then don’t treat them as if they are one.  Let that narcissist pout like the bratty child she’s acting like while you ignore her ridiculous display.  If she’s trying to make you feel guilty, pretend not to notice.  If she hints for an apology, also pretend not to notice.  Learn to enjoy the silent treatment if you’re on the receiving end of it.  It’s a reprieve from unnecessary drama- why not enjoy it?

Stop trying to make it up to a narcissist who isn’t telling you what you’ve done wrong or who blames you for them abusing you!  It only provides them with narcissistic supply, & the more you provide, the more they will demand from you.

Making it up to someone you have hurt is one thing.  It should be a normal thing for a person to do as well as the one hurt to expect.  However, when someone constantly expects another person to make it up to them without trying to talk things out, or because they abused their victim, something is very, very wrong with this situation.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

When People Say Ugly Things About You

When people tell you you’re stupid, crazy, ugly, etc., there is a reason for it, & it isn’t what you think.

 

A person saying such things to you doesn’t necessarily believe that you are those things.  In fact, most likely they don’t believe it at all.  Quite the contrary, they think you are intelligent, attractive, etc.

 

So why would a person say such awful things to another when they don’t believe them to be true?  There are two very distinct possibilities.

 

Control.  A person with low self-esteem is much easier to control than someone with healthy self-esteem.  The more a person is beaten down, thinking they are stupid, worthless & other awful things, the easier that person is to control because they assume the controlling person knows best.  Also, a person with low self-esteem will work as hard as they can to get love & approval.  This works nicely for the controller because she can get anything she wants from the victim.

 

Projection.  Narcissists love to project their flaws onto others.  If the narcissist is a liar, she will accuse you of lying.  Overeats?  She’ll call you a glutton, pig or fat.  By doing this projection thing, it allows the narcissist to be angry about the flaw while not accepting that they have it.  It is just one in their arsenal of horrible coping skills.

 

The next time someone says terrible things about you, take notice.  There is a very good reason for it, & chances are that it isn’t that they are offering you constructive criticisms in order to help improve you.

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Sloppy Narcissists

Many narcissists are incredibly sloppy.  Their homes & cars are dirty & disorganized.  There are several possible reasons for this.

 

Often, overt narcissists feel they are above doing mundane chores such as washing their car or cleaning their home.  They expect their parent or spouse to take care of such trivial matters.  Covert narcissists will do these things in order to show their lowly status so you will pity them.  See what their overtly narcissistic spouse makes them do??  Poor covert narcissist…

 

Overt narcissists also enjoy the power trip of making someone else clean up after them.  They enjoy the feeling of power they get from making anyone do or feel anything, quite frankly, & having someone clean up after them is just a part of that.  Power in any form equals narcissistic supply.

 

Being messy means people don’t want to come into your personal space.  This can work well for the covert narcissist since they are often more introverted than their extroverted counterpart, the overt narcissist.

 

It can be a show of dominant behavior if someone is messy in another person’s space.  It shows that the narcissist is taking over someone else’s space or is exercising dominance over the space.  My ex husband was incredibly sloppy around our home & cars even knowing how much it bothered me.  He said he didn’t mind the mess, which obviously was all that mattered to him.  No amount of begging & pleading would make him stop being a slob.  Looking back, I believe it was simply a way of extending his dominance.  Also, my mother was a terrible housekeeper when I was a kid.  It bothered my father.  So much so, he once had me ask her to clean the house for my birthday gift (the result was her screaming at me & the house stayed filthy.  He never acknowledged how wrong it was to put me in this position).    I believe this was her way of dominating the home as well as her attitude of being above doing housework.

 

If you’re in a relationship with a messy, sloppy narcissist, make no mistake, it has a purpose.  Everything narcissists do has a purpose, which includes being slobs.  If you’re frustrated by this, that is supply for the narcissist.

 

Unfortunately I have yet to find any way to deal with this behavior successfully.  All I can tell you is to pray about it & ask God for wisdom & creative ways to deal with the situation.  And, remember, it’s ultimately narcissistic supply, so provide as little as possible.  Respond, don’t react.  Hide your anger or hurt in their presence.  The less supply you provide a narcissist, the greater the chance that person will get bored with attempting to upset or control you.

 

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How Narcissists Use Fear Of Consequences To Control

Narcissists are masters of abuse.  They abuse as cleverly as Claude Monet created beautiful works of art.  Sadly, instead of leaving behind beauty as a result of their efforts as Monet did, they leave behind devastation & destruction.

 

A favorite thing for any narcissist to do is to control their victim.  Whether the narcissist is overt or covert matters not in this area, because they all love control.

 

One means to control their victim is to create a fear of consequences.  Naturally, the overt narcissist will use this tactic a bit differently than the covert type, but both use it with equal fervor, & both will send the same messages to the victim: “I’m rejecting you.”  “You’re no good & not worthy of my love.”  “You’re crazy.”  “You will go along with what I want or else face my wrath.”

 

If an overt narcissist wants to control you, she may scream, psychologically abuse or even physically abuse you.  With a covert narcissist, he will give you the silent treatment, attempt to make you feel guilty, attempt to make you pity him or even portray himself as the victim of your abuse.

 

Naturally, victims want to avoid these awful consequences, so they stop whatever behavior triggered the narcissistic abuse.

 

That is how a fear of consequences is born.  Once that happens, the narcissist learns she can repeat those behaviors to control her victim.

 

When a person grows up with a parent doing this, it can be hard to stand up to that parent, even as an adult.  I understand that completely.  However, it must be done!

 

I’m not saying you have to return tit for tat, screaming at your parent or returning their abusive behavior to them (as justified as it might be..).  I am saying that you can & should reject their behavior.  Tolerating it only means you will continue to be abused by that person, which is unfair.  It also sends the message to you & any others who see it that you won’t defend yourself, you don’t matter, it is perfectly acceptable to abuse you & if you will tolerate this abuse, certainly more will also be acceptable to you.

 

With narcissists, often saying something confrontational or even setting a simple boundary isn’t a good idea.  They will use that information to hurt you further by repeating the behavior or they will tell others how cruel you were to them, while continuing the behavior.  You need to know your own individual situation well, so you know when is a good time to speak out, & when isn’t.  Any time I’ve had to deal with my narcissistic parents, I ask God to provide whatever I will need for the interaction.  Wisdom, strength, courage to speak up.. anything He knows I will need.  That has helped me tremendously in knowing when I should speak up & when I shouldn’t.

 

On the times you know in your heart it is best not to speak out, you still can set your boundaries & not tolerate the abuse.  You can hang up the phone or leave the room.  All you have to say is, “I need to go now.  Good bye.”  You don’t owe them any explanations beyond that.

 

You also need to look at their abusive consequences differently.  Getting the silent treatment?  Think of it as a reprieve from drama.  Enjoy it while it lasts!  Is she screaming at you?  Trying to make you feel guilty?  Acting like she’s the victim & you’re the abuser?  Remember, normal people do NOT behave this way!  This just goes to show how messed up the narcissist is.  She is doing these things to make herself feel better by controlling you as well as injuring your self-esteem by putting you down.  If she’s accusing you of being abusive, she is also projecting her own flaws onto you so she can be angry about them while at the same time, rejecting any responsibility for having them.  Looking at things this way helps you not to be as devastated or controlled by narcissistic abuse.  It protects your self-esteem, too, when you understand why these things are being done to you.

 

Also, you need to remember that you are an adult now.  No parent, narcissistic or not, has the right to control their child.

 

And, as an adult, your parent can’t hurt you anymore.  They can’t take away your video games or car keys.  What can that person possibly do to you?  At this stage, they would have to move into illegal actions (stalking, harassment, reporting false claims to Child Protective Services, etc).  Or, they possibly could cut you out of their will so you don’t get an inheritance if your parent dies before you.  Really though, is that a big deal?  It’s only money- you can make your own, & doing that wouldn’t have strings attached to it.  When narcissists give you money, there are always strings attached somehow.  Better to avoid those strings!

 

Dear Reader, if you are still in a relationship with your narcissistic parent, then I urge you to remember such things.  Protect yourself & your sanity as much as you can from your narcissistic parent.  You do not deserve their abuse, & you have every right to protect yourself from it however you see fit.

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Control Tactics

Being raised by narcissists, I learned early in life how to be a good victim.  So good, I’ve been in relationships (friends, romantic & even family) with many abusive people.  Not all were narcissists, but they all shared something in common- their need to control me.

 

Not all controlling people are narcissists, but all narcissists are controlling.  Learning to recognize various methods people use to control others can help you to understand what is happening & react accordingly.

 

Coming on too strong.  When you first meet someone & they immediately want to be your best friend or start talking of marriage right away, this is a bad sign.  I once had a friend who upon meeting said we were going to be best friends, & she was extremely controlling.  The same for a man I once dated who started talking marriage within a month of meeting.

 

They expect you to read their minds.  If the person is acting unhappy, you’re supposed to know why & what they want you to do to make it all better.  If you don’t, you aren’t a good friend, you don’t love them, etc.

 

The silent treatment.  Narcissists in particular enjoy this one.  The silent treatment means refusing to speak to you or acknowledge you rather than discuss the problem.  Withdrawing their love is designed to make you feel as if you have done something terribly wrong, & to make you want to make it up to them.  It keeps you off balanced, & until you realize what is happening, working hard to make the person giving you the silent treatment happy with you again.

 

Talking around the problem at hand.  This distraction technique removes your focus from the real problem & puts it wherever the controller wants it.  Usually on you & your flaws, real or imagined.

 

Constant talking.  Narcissists love to brag about themselves  & never tire of  the sound of their own voices.  Other controlling people talk constantly as well.  This tactic keeps the attention on the controller & the victim giving the controller their full attention.

 

Projection.  Accusing a victim of a behavior that the abuser does is projection.  The goal is to change the behavior of the victim.  For example, if the victim is called selfish, the victim will work hard to prove how unselfish she is.

 

Not “walking the walk.”  A controlling person has very definite opinions of things.  For example, your home should be so clean at all times, when you clean it, it’s hard to tell anything was done because it was that clean before you started.  Yet, their house has enough dust on the tables to write your name in, & don’t you dare say a word about it lest you face their wrath.

 

Using guilt trips.  Guilt trips are supposed to make you feel so bad, you’ll never do that action again.  Healthy guilt is a good thing.  It keeps you from doing things like stealing or cheating on your spouse.  You know doing such things would make you feel miserable, so you avoid doing them.  Guilt trips are about control & not necessarily about you doing something bad.

 

Bullying.  Bullies come across quite scary & intimidating.  The truth however is that they are simply cowards.  They try to make themselves look scary by acting intimidating so they’ll get their way.  Refusing to give in often makes them stop their ridiculous behavior.

 

Urgency.  By creating a false sense of urgency, it means the victim feels she has no time to think about things, she must act & act right now.  Urgency eliminates the chance to consider the situation & evaluate choices.

 

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Subtle Manipulation Tactics

Narcissists are very manipulative.  They project their faults onto their victims when confronted about their bad behavior.  They criticize anything & everything about the victim, destroying their self esteem, until only an empty shell of a person exists.  They gaslight.  They go from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde on a moment’s notice to prevent those they want to impress from seeing their dark side.

 

There are some other, very subtle behaviors narcissists do to abuse as well.  This article will discuss some of those behaviors that may have slipped by you unnoticed.

 

Taking on too much control in a relationship.  Whether it’s a romantic partner or a parent, having no say or control can destroy one’s self esteem.  For example, if you grew up with an engulfing narcissistic mother, she probably didn’t allow you to do much because she claimed you couldn’t do anything right.  This easily can lead to feeling extremely insecure as an adult, because somewhere inside, you don’t believe you can do anything right.  Or, for example, if the new person you’re dating insists on driving every time you two go out, over time, this can lead to you feeling anxious about your driving skills.  Especially if you grew up with a narcissistic parent or two & have fragile self esteem to start with.  My ex husband did this to me along with severely criticizing my driving, & as a result, I’m a very anxious driver.

 

Questioning everything.  Naturally, there are going to be times you give wrong information & need correction.  No one is perfect.  But, if your narcissistic parent or partner questions & corrects everything about you, then this is designed to keep you off balance & feeling insecure.  Basically, it’s like telling you that you’re stupid, & the other person knows better.  It worked for Satan in the Garden of Eden.  Genesis 3:1 says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (NIV)

 

Blaming you.  For what?  Everything.  In 2014, I had a bit of a rough patch.  While splitting firewood, my husband accidentally dropped a large log on my big toe, which I’m pretty sure broke it.  About a week after, I picked up a plastic bag.  As I picked it up, it gave & a new can of Lysol landed on the same foot, near the broke toe.  Shortly after, something else heavy landed on the same foot, although I forget what it was now.  When I told my mother about this, she told me it was all my fault- I should be more careful.  Blame for things that aren’t your fault can create a feeling of shame inside.  You begin to think you should’ve known better, or done something differently.  How could you be so stupid as to do whatever you did?!  Blaming creates a nasty internal dialog.

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Another Control Tactic Of Narcissists- Interrupting

As anyone subjected to a narcissist for any length of time knows, narcissists love to control other people.  It gives them a sense of power, which gives them narcissistic supply, in other words, feeds their ego.

 

One tool they use that seems innocuous is interrupting others.

 

Interrupting seems like simple bad manners, but with narcissists, it is much more.

 

Narcissists only care about themselves & procuring narcissistic supply, & interrupting gives them a couple of ways to gain that supply.

 

For one thing, interrupting is often done if the other person in the conversation is not discussing the narcissist or anything about the narcissist’s life.  The narcissist will interrupt & turn the conversation back to what she wants to talk about- herself, her accomplishments, how talented she is, etc.  Most people who have been interrupted allow the conversation to take the new turn, seldom returning to the original topic.

 

Another reason narcissists interrupt is that taking over a conversation gives them a sense of power.  They were able to redirect the conversation, which makes them feel powerful, & provides narcissistic supply.

 

Interrupting may seem not worth fighting over, but anything that provides a narcissist supply can make them want to use you more & more.  That is why it is vital if you’re in any relationship with a narcissist to provide as little supply as possible.  The more supply you provide, the more they will use & abuse you.

 

Interrupting is pretty simple to deal with. My narcissistic mother uses this tactic constantly, & I have learned from her the best way to deal with it is not to deal with it.  I ignore her as much as possible & show no reaction to her.   If I’m talking with someone else & she interrupts, I ignore whatever she is talking about, then when she is finished talking, resume the conversation she interrupted.

 

Sometimes, she uses more unusual methods of interrupting.  Once in a restaurant, my father & I were talking about a topic she wasn’t interested in.  As we spoke, she picked up a napkin, held it to her nose & acted like she was blowing her nose, making loud, gross noises with her mouth.  My father & I stopped talking, & she took the napkin away, & began laughing a very creepy, unsettling laugh.  It was painfully obvious she did this to get attention, & it worked.  Not only were my father & I looking at her, several others in the restaurant were as well.  Thank God, He showed me immediately she just wanted attention, so I quickly resumed the conversation with my father, as if nothing happened.  When ridiculous antics are her interruption tool of choice, I ignore them too.

 

The same goes for nasty comments to interrupt.  When she says something hateful, it’s obvious it’s just to gain attention/supply.  Another example was during dinner with my parents & grandmother once many years ago.  My mother told my father what to order.  He said he wanted a change, & asked what I was going to get.  I said the taco salad, & he decided to try one.  When dinner arrived, he & I were talking.  My mother looked at our plates & loudly said, “It looks like someone threw up on your plates.”  I acted as if she hadn’t said a thing, & continued talking to my father. It annoyed her- my father reacted to her by giving her a shocked expression, but I ignored her.  I’m sure the goal was to get an equal reaction out of me.

 

Ignoring is pretty easy, but sometimes having no reaction can be difficult.  If you remember exactly why this is happening, & how you do NOT want to provide narcissistic supply, that helps you to stay calm.

 

Prayer also helps.  Ask God to help you before you answer that phone or visit your narcissistic mother.  He truly will not disappoint you!

 

Once your visit is done, you’re going to be angry &/or hurt.  Don’t hold it in!  Get it out by praying, talking with a safe person, or journalling.  Maybe a combination of all of them.  Whatever works for you.

 

By staying calm & ignoring your narcissistic mother’s petty interruptions, you are taking back control.  It also will frustrate her, & she will use this tactic less & less frequently.

 

 

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Narcissists Want Everyone, Including You, To Believe That You Are The Problem

A very common tactic of narcissistic parents is to make the child & everyone else believe that the child is the problem behind the family’s dysfunction.  This tactic of discrediting & blaming the child serves a twofold purpose.

Purpose #1 is to be sure that all attention is focused on the child so the narcissistic parent can abuse her child unnoticed.  People are so busy looking at the child’s bad behavior, they don’t notice what the parent does to the child to make the child act out.  They also won’t believe the child if she says anything about what the parent does to her.  After all, the narcissistic mother has everyone convinced the child is a liar, disobedient, rebellious, etc. so why would anyone believe what that child has to say?

Purpose #2 is to create so much doubt in the child, that she doesn’t have time to focus on what is being done to her.  She spends so much time thinking about what her narcissistic mother says she is doing wrong, how she can change, what she can do to please her narcissistic mother & more, that she doesn’t question the abuse that is being done to her.

I went through this with my mother as a teenager.  Her friends who once liked me suddenly wouldn’t even make eye contact with me anymore.  One so-called friend of my mother’s even gave me a lecture one day on how lucky I was to have a mother who loved me so much.  I needed to start behaving myself for a change & stop making her life so hard.  (Interestingly, just before that call, my mother had been screaming at me, accusing me of terrible things that I didn’t do.  I sure didn’t feel so lucky!)  I knew I couldn’t say anything to any of them about what my mother was doing to me, because they believed her.

At the time, it hurt me badly.  I liked some of my mother’s friends, & was hurt when they no longer liked me.  In time though, I realized that although it hurt, it wasn’t a bad thing to lose such people.  Normal, intelligent people wouldn’t blindly have believed my mother.  I’d always been a well-behaved, quiet child, so why didn’t anyone question my mother when she said I was doing such outrageous things as taking drugs or having sex with the entire high school football team?  Such things were completely out of character for me- you would think someone would have said so to her, or maybe questioned me.  Neither happened however.  Losing people who so readily believed the worst of me really wasn’t a big loss.

If this has happened to you, please think about what I said in the previous paragraph.  I know it can hurt when people assume you are the problem, but truly, losing people like that isn’t always a bad thing.  You need & deserve people in your life who love you, not people who blindly believe something bad about you then judge & criticize you.  In a way, your narcissistic mother did you a favor.  She helped you to weed out the unsafe people in your life.  Looking at the situation that way can help to take a great deal of the hurt out of the situation.

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Do People Tell You That You’re Crazy, Stupid Or Other Bad Things?

Narcissists love to accuse their victims of awful things.  Crazy, stupid, selfish & more- there is no end to the hateful things a narcissist will call you.  And, like everything else they do, there is a motive behind doing this.

Calling you these awful names doesn’t mean they actually believe you are crazy, stupid or selfish- instead, it gives them power & control.

How, you ask?  Because if you are told you are selfish, for example, you are going to work hard to prove that you are not selfish.  This gives the narcissist power over you because by saying what she did, she made you work harder for her.  She feels better about herself at this point because you working hard to please her shows she has power.  Plus, when she sees that she is able to make you do things, that makes her feel better about herself.

When someone tells you awful things about yourself, you need to think about it.  Constructive criticism is said gently & to help you.  Narcissists however, don’t say things nicely or to help.   They say things cruelly or they imply things rather than say them outright, so if you confront them, they can say something like “I never said you were *fill in the blank*”  “You read too much into things!”  “You have such a vivid imagination!”

The person saying these things.. do they often criticize you?  Do they often try to control you?

If you are having trouble determining what is really happening, ask God for discernment on the matter.

You do not deserve to be mistreated!  If someone is telling you terrible things about yourself that you know are untrue, always remember that it says more about her than you.  Normal people don’t tear down other people, but encourage & empower them instead.

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About Control Tactics Of Narcissists

I realized something interesting during a recent visit with my parents that I thought I should share with you, Dear Readers.

My mother has become increasingly controlling lately.  My father wanted to visit me alone recently, & she told him & I both that “his days of doing that are over.”  She comes along, period.  My father has some serious health problems & was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so you might think this is a caring gesture on her part, not to let him drive or be out alone.  However- he goes to his doctor appointments alone, because she claims he won’t let her go with him.  So obviously, this is about control, not concern for his well being.

As she has seen her tactics working with him, she is attempting to be more controlling of me as well.  They day my parents came by my home, she started showing this before they left their house.  She called on their way out to tell me I needed to be waiting outside for her so we could go to lunch.  I needed to watch for her car to drive past then go outside (from their place, you have to drive past my house, go to the next traffic light & make a U turn then drive about 1/4 of a mile to get to me).  I listened to her give me my orders & promptly ignored them.  I’m 44 years old- too old to be bossed around by my mother!  While they were at my house later, she tried little things to let me know she was in charge.  For example, I always sit on my love seat, usually alone or with a couple of cats around me.  She insisted on sitting beside me, crowding me a bit.  She is very fond of stealing my seat- I think it gives her a feeling of power, like if she sits there, it means she’s now in charge in my home.

By the time they left, I was livid.  Livid how she treats my father then complains to me how she doesn’t understand why he thinks she’s “bossy” (Seriously?!).  Livid she thought it was acceptable to treat me more like the hired help than her daughter.  And to be honest, still angry that I can’t tell her about my own health problems I’ve had for six months & expect any empathy or understanding.

Later when speaking with my husband about the visit, I had a thought.  Since my father is now even more under her control, I think it has given her a tremendous amount of confidence, & she thinks she can control me as well.  She fails to realize just because he is weaker now doesn’t mean I am as well.  Looking back over my life, it seems like when she increased her control over one of us, the other one had to suffer with more control as well.  I wish I’d realized this sooner!  I would have been more prepared for her control games on her last visit if I had.  Instead, I was taken by surprise.

I don’t know for sure if other overt narcissists are this way or not, but I would guess some are since so many narcissists use very similar means of abuse.

Pay attention to your narcissistic mother, Dear Reader!  If she is able to control your father (or a sibling or a friend or anyone) more lately, you may be next in line.  Remember to keep & strictly enforce your boundaries!  Don’t give her an inch no matter what, or she’ll take a mile (or ten…).  Protect yourself & never let her control anything about you.  You do not need to be controlled by anyone!

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How To Tell If You’re Over-Sensitive With A Narcissist

Dealing with a narcissist is never easy. It’s impossible to have a simple conversation with one, because there is always some ulterior motive. Usually, that motive is to hurt or embarrass you, especially while they appear innocent. They love to say indirect things so if you confront them on their nastiness, they can honestly say, “I never said that!” And it’s true- they didn’t say that. Instead they implied it. The difference is you end up hurt & wondering if they’re right, you are too sensitive, you read into things, you’re crazy, etc. At least if someone out right criticizes you, there is no doubt they are out to hurt you.

If you’re wondering if you’re being oversensitive or if the narcissist in your life really is trying to hurt you, there are some giveaways.

If someone complements you in front of your narcissist, you will have to pay. You can’t get any positive attention, because she deserves it all! At least she thinks so. Either she will say something to negate the complement, or treat you even worse than usual until her anger is done. Many years ago, I recently started dating a man who thought we should meet each other’s parents in spite of my protests & wanted to invite my parents to dinner one night. Just after dinner when my parents went to leave the room, my boyfriend said, “Mrs. Bailey, I just want to say, you raised a really wonderful daughter.” My mother looked Mike in the eye, snorted & said, “Well, at least I tried to” & left the room. Does this type of comment sound familiar to you? If so, no, you aren’t being oversensitive- this type of snarky comment hurts!

If you seem too happy for the narcissist’s liking, you can count on the narcissist saying something designed to destroy that. They are happy squishers, doing anything they can to squish your happiness! Once, I had lost a few pounds. I didn’t need to lose much, but was glad that I lost probably ten pounds or so. I told my mother, who said, “You probably lost weight because you have cancer & are going to die.” No way was that said to benefit me or said out of concern. Comments like that are said to squish any joy you may be feeling, period.

Have you ever heard the comment, “I would NEVER” come from your narcissist? That one is designed to make you feel not good enough because you would stoop so low as to doing whatever she would never do. My mother once told me she would NEVER even ride in a car, let alone own one, with over 100,000 miles on it. It was obviously said because my husband & I both love & own old cars while hers is much newer than anything we own. (At least I had the pleasure of telling her that when we took my parents to Annapolis the previous weekend in hubby’s car, his car had almost 250,000 miles on it at that point. She was speechless. It was a fun moment for me! lol)

Whatever thing you have accomplished or purchased or done that thrills you is fodder for a narcissist making sure you know it isn’t impressing her. So you just got a promotion at work & will be making twice your old salary? She isn’t impressed- you still don’t own the company, do you? Anyone could do that job- it’s nothing special. You just bought your first brand new car? So what? It’s not a “good” car like hers. My mother no longer blatantly criticizes things of mine she finds not good enough. Instead, she gives a blank look like she is bored to tears. The look hurts just as badly as the criticisms because the message is the same- she thinks I’m not good enough. (Thankfully, the more I’ve healed, I’ve learned not to care about what she thinks of me).

So Dear Reader, when you experience these things, please remember- the narcissist is gaslighting you! You aren’t oversensitive or reading into things or crazy! Instead, you are on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse. You are fine! It’s the narcissist who has issues.

I’ve found to deal with these abusive behaviors, you need to learn as much as possible about narcissism & gaslighting. You also need to learn what tactics your narcissist uses so when they happen, you can remind yourself this is simply her weapon of choice- there is nothing wrong with you for feeling the way you do. Also, focus on your own emotional healing. The healthier you get, the harder you are for narcissists to manipulate or control. Their criticisms no longer traumatize you, but simply annoy you that they are so anxious to hurt you. Their games no longer work, which frustrates them to no end. It actually can get funny sometimes when you reach a point in your healing where you understand what is happening & refuse to be abused, but the narcissist is convinced all the old tactics still work on you. Their outrageous behavior can be downright funny sometimes when you understand it, as can the lengths they go to in an attempt to get their way.

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The Silent Treatment

I visited a very good friend of mine yesterday.  Like me, her mother was a narcissist.  A much more malignant narcissist than mine.  While we were talking, she mentioned that her mother never gave her the silent treatment.  In fact, instead she would fake illness brought on by the stress my friend caused by either disagreeing with her or disobeying her.

I told her what she was missing out on!  The silent treatment can be a wonderful thing!  It gives you a break from your narcissistic mother’s drama, cruelty, mind games & more.  At first, it may not feel good, but after a while, it really feels like a gift from God.  Yes, that sounds awful, I know, but it’s the truth!

Many daughters of narcissistic mothers have faced the silent treatment at some point.  As young children, it can be devastating!  It certainly was for me. I couldn’t understand why my mother wouldn’t speak to me.  I would try anything to gain her attention.  I even asked what was wrong, & was met with among the most ridiculous responses ever: “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.”  At first this made me try harder, but I quickly realized that was why she said it, & stopped trying so hard.

As I grew older, I learned some more things about the silent treatment, & I’d like to share them with you to (hopefully!) help you.

  • The silent treatment is about control.  It is supposed to force you to ask, “What’s wrong?” so your narcissistic mother can tell you exactly what is wrong with you to upset her so much, she had to withdraw from you.
  • The silent treatment is also to make you feel inadequate, flawed, wrong, crazy.  The more messed up you believe you are, the less likely it is you’ll stand up to your narcissistic mother.  You will be easier for her to control.
  • The silent treatment really has nothing to do with what you did.  Whatever you did was just an excuse to give you the silent treatment.  Didn’t do anything?  That’s fine too- narcissists aren’t above lying to get what they want.
  • Normal, healthy people do NOT use the silent treatment!!  Normal people get angry, & may even want a little space from you if you said or did something hurtful, but that space doesn’t last long.  It’s only a little time to cool off, & not to punish you.
  • The silent treatment shows the person giving it is very immature, selfish, childish..  If your narcissistic mother can’t approach you like an adult to work things out, using the silent treatment instead, she’s behaving like a spoiled rotten little child.

So how does one deal with being on the receiving end of the silent treatment??

  • Keep the above list in mind.  This will help you to remember that this silent treatment speaks more about your narcissistic mother’s problems than something being wrong with you.  Like I said, normal, healthy people don’t use the silent treatment!  They speak to the person who hurt them & work things out like mature adults.
  • Never, ever ask, “What’s wrong?”  If you do, you most likely will open up her narcissistic rage arsenal of weapons.  “What’s wrong?” seems to translate to “Now I can really abuse her!!” in the mind of a narcissist.  If your narcissistic mother won’t try to work this out, then that is her problem.  How are you supposed to repair whatever you did wrong if you don’t even know what you did wrong?
  • Remember, refusing to play your narcissistic mother’s games is honorable!  Honoring your mother as the Bible commands doesn’t mean play into her manipulation.  To truly honor someone means you want the best for them, & the best is for your mother to be a healthy person.  Granted, to become mentally healthy, she has to want to become healthy- you can’t make her want that, nor can you make her healthy.  However, you can gently push her in that direction by refusing to engage in her games.
  • Think of this time without your narcissistic mother as a break.  In all honesty, probably you aren’t getting the silent treatment because you did something bad.  Probably, you dared to have your own opinion, didn’t praise your mother enough, didn’t jump through some ridiculous hoops that she wanted you to jump through.  Why beat yourself up over something so stupid?  Instead, just think of this silent treatment as a reprieve.  Enjoy the peace & quiet for however long it lasts!  Besides, most likely your mother will contact you soon anyway, as soon as she needs something from you.
  • Take care of yourself.  Refuse to think about “What did I do wrong?” or feel guilty.  Instead, do nice things for yourself. Get a mani/pedi.  Get yourself a new book you’ve been wanting.  Spend a day relaxing with herbal tea & good movies.

It probably will take you some time to stop feeling guilty & to start enjoying the silent treatment.  And then, you may feel somewhat guilty for enjoying it.  I know I did at first.  But, that doesn’t last long once you realize how peaceful your life has become!

I have realized that the last few times my mother has given me the silent treatment, it took me a while to realize it was happening!  Weeks would go by, when suddenly I realized she hadn’t called me.  Quite an improvement over fretting about how to get her to start speaking to me again & feeling guilty for being such a terrible daughter, don’t you think?

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Gifts & Narcissists

Giving gifts can be a wonderful thing.  It makes the receiver feel loved because someone would listen closely enough to know what gift would make the receiver happy, then spend the time to pick out this gift, spend the time to wrap  it up pretty & all this shows that they cared enough to want to do these things.  The giver is also blessed because there is a great joy in seeing someone’s face light up when they get a special gift that you are responsible for picking out.

 

Unfortunately with narcissists, this isn’t the case.

 

For one thing, narcissists are notoriously terrible at giving gifts.  To give a good gift, you have to look beyond yourself.  You have to listen to what the receiver says about their needs & wants.  You have to know things about them, such as their favorite color, the size clothing they wear, styles they like, their favorite author or singer.  Narcissists can’t be bothered with such “trivial” matters, so they will choose what they like or what they think you need instead.

 

Narcissists also give you gifts in order to try to make you more like what they think you should be.  Clothing in a color or style that they think you should wear instead of clothing you like, or a CD from a band they like instead of from a band you like.  Probably fifteen years ago or so, during a conversation with my mother in-law that took place not long before Christmas, I mentioned the fact I don’t like to cook.  I do it of course, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it.  For Christmas that year, she & both of my sisters in-law gave me a lot of cooking paraphernalia.  I got spoons, spatulas, cook books, food & the largest, ugliest pasta dish I have ever seen in my life (I did find a good use for it eventually.  When the roof leaked, in the short time before it was fixed, I used that ugly dish to catch the rain water that leaked into the attic ..lol)

 

And of course, in true narcissistic fashion, when they give gifts, the purpose is self-serving.  Giving makes them feel like they are good people.  See how caring they are?  They gave someone a gift!  Yay for the narcissist!!  My mother gives me things constantly, often things she has gotten as gifts but didn’t like, clothes she wants rid of, clothes she will buy for me because she likes the color/style (not that I like them), or things she has received in return for donating to a charity.  For the longest time, I felt like I should hold onto these things, I think because on some level, I thought these gifts meant she actually cared for me.  Once I realized that she was giving me things not to bless me, but to serve her own agenda or clean out her own junk, I didn’t feel that need any longer to hold onto her gifts.  Some, yes, but not many.

 

There also may be another motive when receiving gifts from a narcissist.  They may want something from you.  They may want you to do something for them, so when they ask for you to do that favor, they can say, “How can you say no after I gave you that great gift?”  My in-laws are like that.  Gifts come with strings attached.  They give my husband birthday & Christmas cards with money, & in return, he is to help them with whatever needs they have, no matter how ridiculous.  (Not that he shouldn’t help out his aging parents of course, but when they call him to take one of them to the emergency room rather than 911 in an emergency, something is very wrong!)  Have they ever spelled this out?  No.  It is an unspoken rule, as many narcissistic families have.

 

Some narcissists also give to others in the hopes of making themselves appear to be the martyr, taken advantage of by ungrateful people.  This often makes the recipient of the gifts feel as if they are taking advantage of the giver, & they offer to repay the “generous” narcissist somehow.

 

If you receive a gift from a narcissist, just be forewarned- the gift probably has some pretty hefty strings attached to it!

 

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Wet Blankets!

Good evening, Dear Readers!

I had an interesting experience a while ago…

My mother called me under the guise of telling me about a Stephen King movie coming on TV tonight.  I knew about it already, what with him being my favorite fictional author, as many of you know.  Plus it’s a new one based on a story in his book “Full Dark, No Stars” which I really enjoyed.

Anyway she took this opportunity to remind me (as she has probably thousands of times before) that she doesn’t understand what is wrong with me- why do I like scary stories?  She certainly doesn’t like them & has no idea where I got my taste in such things!  And did I know she saw the movie “Psycho” at the drive in when it came out, & it terrified her?  Have I ever seen it?  Yes, & it’s among my favorite movies.  “GASP!!  I just don’t understand what’s wrong with you!”

Same speech, different day.  As usual, it annoyed me.

I finally thought to ask God why did she feel the need to do this?  More attempting to shame me for liking an author she doesn’t approve of (even though he’s been my favorite since I was 8 & read “Night Shift” for the first time)??  He showed me that the motivation is to spoil my fun in watching this movie.  Often her comments are made to shame me, yes, but when she calls to let me know one of his movies is coming on TV soon, it’s to spoil my fun in the hopes that I’ll give up liking this “horrible” author’s works & start liking the more happy, light & fluffy authors she likes.

*sigh*  Yea, that ain’t happening.  lol

Suddenly I realized she’s done this wet blanket thing so many times, as has my narcissistic mother in-law.  When I got my first car, a cute little Buick Skyhawk, my parents took me to the dealer.  Since I only had my learner’s permit at the time, my mother rode home with me, & complained the entire way (about 10 miles).  “This car is too small!”  “There’s no leg room!”  & other untrue & snarky comments.  It spoiled my very first drive in my first car.  When my husband & I first started dating, his mother suggested she & I go to lunch & shopping.  I said fine, when?  Her response?  “You WILL be taking Eric’s car instead of yours, right?”  I was surprised & said “No, I’ll be driving mine.”  (she doesn’t drive).  She said “Oh.” & changed the subject.  This exact conversation happened a total of 3 times before she gave up since I wasn’t taking his car & insisted on taking my own.  It also set the stage for 8 long years of nasty comments about how awful my Oldsmobile was, how expensive it was to maintain & how I should just junk it, all because it simply needs a paintjob..

There were many other similar incidents with both of them, but I’m sure you get the point.

Amazing isn’t it?  Amazing how narcissists think they know best what you should like.  And, they can’t accept the fact that you might like something they don’t or vice versa.  They act like it’s a crime, or a direct attack on them if you are different than they are, or have an interest they don’t.  And, by golly, you better straighten yourself up & only be interested in what THEY deem worthy!

It’s amazing to me that any human being can be so insecure that they will hurt, anger & try to mold another person into liking/not liking the things that they do.  How is it a threat to them if you like something they don’t?!  Who cares?!  Everybody is different, it’s a simple fact of life, so why does this even affect a narcissist?!

They are simply that insecure.

While narcissists may appear overly self-confident, the truth is that behavior is to convince not only other people but also themselves that they are wonderful, special people, & not the lowly, unworthy person they really feel like they are deep down on the inside.  So, if you don’t like something they do, then they take that as you don’t approve of them.  On the opposite side of the same coin, if you like something they don’t, they also take that as you not approving of them or you thinking you are better than they are.

Narcissists simply can’t see this situation as 2 different people having different tastes.

Remind yourself of this next time the narcissist in your life insults you for not liking something she likes, or for liking something she doesn’t.  As always, her behavior speaks volumes about her, not about you!  ❤

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Safe vs. Unsafe People

Good day, Dear Readers!

Over the last few years, I have reached the end of my tolerance for dealing with abusive, selfish, manipulative or narcissistic people. Having dealt with a couple of people like this recently, I thought I’d share some ways to recognize safe people vs. unsafe people.  So many people who have survived some type of abuse often attract unsafe people, & have trouble recognizing safe people.  I was that way too, but have learned the difference.  I hope this post will help you to learn the difference!

Safe people respect your time- they don’t assume you are going to wait for them to call or show up at a certain place. Unsafe people, however, have no respect for your time or life.

Safe people ask, rather than make demands. Unsafe people are entitled, believing they deserve whatever they want or need, even at the expense of others.

Safe people do not jump to conclusions. For example, if you don’t answer the phone, they don’t call you back 15 times in a row. Safe people assume you are unavailable, & either wait for you to call them back or they call you back several hours later or the next day. Unsafe people call you back repeatedly, assume you didn’t answer the phone because you are mad at them, or try to make you feel guilty or get mad at you for not answering their call. That is a control tactic- forcing you to deal with them on their terms.

Safe people aren’t judgmental & critical. They don’t say things like, “well if I were you, I would-” or judge or criticize you for decisions you make, things you like, etc. Those are invalidating behaviors are cruel!

Safe people help & support you, rather than mock you or tell you how your problem affects them. This is a huge pet peeve of mine, as I have experienced this many times. The day my dog, Danya, died suddenly & unexpectedly, while my husband & I were trying to gather his body (he was over 100lbs- not easy to move him!) to take him to the vet’s for cremation, my mother called. I told her what happened & what we were doing. She went on & on about how upset she was over his death, not asking once how my husband, I or our pets were doing.

Safe people don’t expect you to be their “trash can.” What I mean is when a person dumps all of their problems on you, & expects you to listen to whatever they want to talk about while ignoring anything you have to say. That is being a trash can. Unsafe people do this trash can thing all of the time.

I hope this helps you to recognize the safe, good people in your life. Remember, you deserve to be surrounded by safe, loving, compassionate, empathetic people. You do NOT deserve to be abused & mistreated!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism