Tag Archives: control
Periodically I notice comments on Facebook that get under my skin. The topic isn’t important, but the message is. The message is something along the lines of, “If you don’t care about this topic, you’re a selfish jerk.”
In fact, some people have said things to me about issues, expecting my support, but when I don’t give it, they get downright shaming. One of them was about how disappointed someone was in me for not noticing that one public figure was a narcissist. Well, the truth is I disagreed with her assessment. I also had virtually no interest in the arena where this person was popular, so I naturally hadn’t paid a lot of attention to this person. In her world, apparently none of this was valid. I was simply a terrible disappointment for failing to notice this person’s supposedly narcissistic ways.
There was a comment that I remember from several years ago when a lion was murdered in a sanctuary by a ruthless hunter. It broke my heart seeing such a beautiful, wonderful animal murdered for no purpose beyond the hunter’s desire to say he killed this lion. As I read through comments on a post on the topic, I saw a comment that said something like, “You people get so upset about just a lion, but do you even care about the fact that so many innocent babies are aborted every year?!”
In my younger days, comments like this made me feel guilty. Honestly, I’ve never been interested in politics or the abortion debate or many other current events issues. My heart lies more with issues about animal rights, Christian topics & naturally surviving abuse. I felt I must be wrong for that until I realized something.
This doesn’t mean I don’t care about the country in which I live or the rights of the unborn. What it means is I feel God wants me to focus more on animal rights, Christian topics & surviving abuse.
No one person can support every single issue! It’s too much! No one can afford to donate money to every worthy cause either, simply because there are so many causes.
Also, no one can emotionally afford to support every single worthy cause. Strong emotions can drain a person, even when those emotions are positive ones. Everyone needs breaks, to distribute their emotions wisely & to do so with balance. Doing this isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t make a person selfish or uncaring. It makes a person human!
If someone tries to shame you for not actively supporting some cause that they support, I hope you will remember the information I shared here today. Every single person has a unique calling in life & that means they need to support whatever issues they feel called to support. That does NOT mean they need to support whatever the cause of the moment is. God gives each person a unique purpose in their life, & the approval of other people isn’t a requirement. What it does mean is that each person should follow their unique path, supporting the issues closest to their heart, & allowing others to do the same without judgment.
This also means each person should support the issues on their heart however they deem appropriate. For some folks, it means writing as I do. For some other folks, this means donating money. For others, it means picketing in front of large corporations or political offices. For still others it means working to change laws. Not one of these is any better or worse than the other. Different doesn’t equal wrong or bad. It’s simply different, as each person’s unique walk that God has given them.
One passive/aggressive tactic narcissists use to abuse victims is to be sure they know they aren’t good enough.
A common way narcissists do this is to make sure you know that no matter how good you are at something, someone is better than you at it. Let’s say you own your own interior designing business & the narcissist knows this. Most people would be impressed by that. Narcissists are too, just not when it comes to YOUR business. They may say something like, “Did you know that Sally owns her own interior designing firm? She is so smart & talented! She works so hard! Never takes a day off!”
While the words aren’t said, the message is still clear: “Sally has real talent! You aren’t as hard working, talented or business savvy as she is! You aren’t worthy of my admiration like Sally is!”
Another variation on this is when a narcissist says, “Interior decorating is so easy. Seems like anyone can do it. Anyone can put up a sign saying they’re an interior designer these days. I can’t imagine why anyone would pay someone to do something so easy…” Again, the words may not be said but the message is crystal clear – “You’re nothing special. Any idiot can do what you do.”
A different tactic is used mostly by narcissistic spouses but also by parents. They never tell you how attractive you are & they know you’re insecure about your appearance, but they freely complement others. As an example, a narcissistic husband may fuss over a famous model’s beautiful figure to his pregnant wife who is about to give birth to their child, & who feels fat. Parents can do this too, though. My mother never told me I was pretty as a child. In fact she used to brag that once she told me she thought I was “kinda pretty”, even though I don’t remember that happening. Yet, when I was young, she’d fuss over how pretty other little girls were. When I would be upset, she’d tell me I was wrong & shouldn’t feel as I did.
There are some big bonuses for narcissists in treating victims this way. If you confront him or her, the narcissist knows their comment hurt you. If you’re angry, all the better for the narcissist, because the narcissist can use your anger to prove how unreasonable & crazy you are. They’ll say things like, “Don’t be so sensitive!” “I don’t know how you got that out of what I said!” “You read too much into things!” If you’re unaware of what is happening, you easily can feel like the narcissist is right. You’re crazy, oversensitive, etc. Believing those lies will make you feel shame & be easier for the narcissist to control. The narcissist may even use it as an excuse to discard you.
These tactics are attempts for narcissists to diminish anyone they envy, compete with or see as a threat in some way. They knock a person down a bit by making them feel unimportant, bringing them closer to the narcissists level which also builds up the narcissist.
If the narcissist in your life treats you this way, remember what they are doing. They’re using a passive/aggressive tactic to try to destroy your self esteem so they can control you. Chances are, they don’t even mean the cruel things they say. They’re actually envious of you for being prettier, more talented, more successful or whatever than they think they are. Rather than try to better themselves, narcissists would rather tear someone else down. So if the narcissist in your life treats you this way, don’t forget that. What they say isn’t what they truly feel. What they feel is the exact opposite.
Setting you up in a no win situation is one of many weapons in the narcissist’s arsenal. They put you in a situation where you can’t win so they have a reason to be angry with or hurt by you, or to make you do what they want.
In my late teens, my mother’s abuse was at its peak. She would scream at me so often, it was just a way of life for me then. She didn’t have any valid reason to scream at me, so she would often make up reasons or put me in a situation where I would be wrong no matter what. One example that comes to mind took place not long after I met my now ex husband. Upon seeing him for the first time, my mother hated him & told me to stay away from him. I liked him so I sneaked around behind her back at work & school to see him. (The rest of the time I was with my mother). He & I worked together, & often closed the place. I wasn’t allowed to have a car, so my mother took me to & from work & school. When my ex & I walked out from work together, my mother screamed at me as soon as I got into the car for spending time with him. When I walked out first on the next evening we worked together, she screamed at me again for him “hiding from her”, “not having the guts to face her, “& “being a coward”. Then on the next evening we shared a shift, he left first as I hung back. Then she screamed at me for him “being so cocky”, leaving work before me. There were only three ways to handle the situation & she got mad at every single one of them. She created the perfect no win situation. When I tried talking to her about it, she screamed at me for not knowing what she expected of me. It was devastating to me & made me feel crazy. It didn’t matter to her it hurt me though- as long as she felt better, that’s all that mattered. That’s how narcissists are- so long as they benefit, it doesn’t matter who they hurt or destroy.
Unfortunately, I’ve never found a really good way to deal with it. That’s why it’s called a “no win” situation, I suppose. All I have learned is not to engage in the behavior. Let the narcissist have the temper tantrum but you remain calm. Showing narcissists emotions only gives them supply so you refuse to do that! Do NOT apologize if you weren’t wrong. Change the topic. Leave the room or hang up the phone.
Always remember, this is NOT normal behavior! The person who puts another in a no win situation is not normal. There is something very wrong with that person, not you.
Everyone who knows much about narcissistic abuse knows their tactics. Gaslighting, invalidation, scathing criticisms, baiting, projection… the list goes on & on. They also have other ways to abuse their victims that are so subtle, they are often overlooked because the narcissist isn’t doing anything.
Narcissists can instill blind terror into their victims with a look. I remember the look from my overtly narcissistic mother when I was growing up. I knew to stop whatever I was doing or saying right then or else the consequences would be terrible. Naturally, I obeyed, & didn’t have to face consequences after that look. My mother was hardly the only narcissistic parent to do this. Many use it.
There also is a variation on the look that covert narcissists prefer. The victim knows if they don’t do what the narcissist wants, they are going to be on the receiving end of a horrendous guilt trip. Since covert narcissists are naturally much more subtle than overt narcissists, they wouldn’t consider scaring their victim in the same way. Instead, they prefer to make their victim feel so guilty that they never repeat the behavior again.
Both overt & covert narcissists have yet another variation on “the look.” It’s the look that makes a victim feel like they are the most moronic, disgusting, pathetic creature in the world. My ex husband perfected this one. When we argued, I was always wrong, according to him. To drive his point home, he would look at me with a very smug look. He never said the words, but his facial expression told me he was convinced I was utterly pathetic, stupid & lucky he was willing to put up with such a disgusting creature as me who was clearly so far beneath him & his highly superior intelligence.
Another way narcissists can abuse without lifting a finger is known as triangulation. This is when a narcissist confides in another person about the victim. They usually lie to this person to make the victim look bad & to make the narcissist look like an innocent victim. When that third person believes the lies, they confront the real victim. They tell the victim that they need to apologize to the narcissist, stop doing whatever the narcissist said they were doing, or even resume the relationship with the narcissist after going no contact. The narcissist does nothing while this person abuses the victim on their behalf.
Clearly narcissists have abuse down to a science!
If you face any of these situations when dealing with a narcissist, chances are at some point you will think you’re reading too much into their actions. You may even think something is mentally wrong with you to think the narcissist meant anything more than simply to look at you or was talking to a friend about your troubled relationship. Please get such thoughts out of your mind immediately! You aren’t reading too much into anything! Every single thing narcissists say & do has a purpose. You are correct in assuming those looks mean what you think they mean, & that person telling you what you are doing wrong by the narcissist is being used by the narcissist.
When these things happen, the first step I suggest you do is ask God to guide you & give you wisdom & creative ideas for handling the situation. Also remind yourself that nothing narcissists do is innocent. Everything has a self-serving motive. These behaviors really have nothing to do with you. They’re about the narcissist gaining control over you. Don’t allow yourself to give into that control. And, as for the person used in triangulation? If you can’t remove this person from your life, at least refuse to discuss the narcissist with this person. You’ll save yourself a great deal of frustration!
Narcissists love to hurt their victims. It gives them a feeling of power, control & superiority to be able to affect victims as profoundly as they do, so it’s no wonder they do it so often.
Narcissists have a vast collection of ways to cause their victims pain. Following is a list of some of their favorite methods used to accomplish this. Some of these methods are quite subtle, & may not even seem abusive at first, but they absolutely are.
If you want validation, count on the narcissist to withhold it from you. Narcissists won’t tell you that you did a good job or that you’re right about something. Withholding validation is a form of invalidation, & is done to let you know how unimportant everything about you is.
If something important is going on with you, whether it is good or bad, you can expect a narcissist to steal the spotlight somehow. They may invent a crisis or pick a fight with you. If something bad is happening to you, they may steal the spotlight by talking about how the event affects them. My ex husband & father did this constantly. I ended up comforting them rather than them comforting me.
If you need help with something, you can expect the narcissist to resist. Either he or she will disappear completely or will help but do things in a lazy, sloppy way. If this person does help you, the help most likely accompanied by a great deal of complaining or letting you know what a huge sacrifice he or she is making & how you should appreciate it.
If you’re sick or injured, you can count on a narcissist to disappear or act annoyed with your suffering. Since they lack empathy, they won’t care about how awful you feel. They most likely will trivialize your suffering on the off chance they acknowledge it. And, if the narcissist in question is your romantic partner, don’t think your illness or injury will have any affect on your sex life. You still will be expected to perform as normal, no matter the state of your health.
If you want sex from your narcissistic partner, you can count on the narcissistic partner to claim to be too tired. They must be in control in every area, & that includes your sex life. They also don’t care what their victims want in any area.
If you’re talking, chances of the narcissist interrupting you are excellent. It keeps the focus on them because a person who is interrupted naturally stops talking to let the interrupting person talk.
If you’re lonely, you can expect the narcissist suddenly to be too busy to spend time with you. The same goes if you need to talk to him or her about something. If you decide to spend time with someone else, the narcissist will become angry that you didn’t just wait to spend time with him or her. You will be called unreasonable, impossible to please or something similar.
If you want to drive somewhere when you & the narcissist go out together, count on your driving being criticized either actively or passively, no matter how safely you drive. Actively criticizing it is easy to spot. They tell you that you’re driving too fast, tailgating or other similar comments. Passive criticizing isn’t so easy to spot. It’s quieter & more covert, such as bracing themselves as you approach a red light or stop sign or cringing as you drive. I believe the passive criticism is even worse, because if you say something, the narcissist has plausible deniability. He or she can say things like, “I never complained about your driving!” “I never said you were speeding!” Before you know it, you easily can end up apologizing to the narcissist.
When you witness these behaviors from the narcissist in your life, remind yourself that they are abusive! You aren’t unreasonable or wrong or impossible to please. The narcissist is trying to hurt you. Don’t let that happen! Remind yourself what is happening so you aren’t hurt by their ridiculous & abusive behavior.
Narcissists love to manipulate & control their victims. One way they control their victims is to make them feel powerless, as if they have absolutely no control over any aspect of their own lives.
Feeling completely out of control & powerless is a horrible way to feel! It saps your joy & makes you feel utterly hopeless. Being depressed & hopeless may make you miserable, but it also will make a narcissist feel wonderful. This is because they have control over you & know you won’t do anything about it.
Don’t let the narcissist in your life get away with doing this to you! Take your power back! You can do this!!
As always, I recommend you start with prayer. God will be glad to give you whatever you need, be it insight, strength, courage or anything else. Let Him help you!! You need every advantage you can get where narcissists are concerned, so why not let God help you?
If you haven’t done it already, start learning about boundaries. You need to have very clear views on where you end & the narcissist begins, because one way narcissists remove a victim’s power is by blurring those boundaries. Victims often feel responsible for the narcissist in ways that they shouldn’t. As an example, narcissists make victims feel responsible for their feelings & actions. How many times has the narcissist in your life said something like, “You made me do that!” “I wouldn’t be so angry if you wouldn’t have said/done what you did!”? I would guess you can think of many examples. I certainly can.
As you learn about boundaries, you’ll need to learn some new & even creative ways to say no to the narcissist. Always remember, normal ways to set boundaries don’t work with narcissists, so avoid saying things like, “Please don’t do that.. it hurts me when you do that.” Admitting the narcissist’s behavior hurts you only provides narcissistic supply which means they’ll do that thing over & over again. Instead, say things like:
- I’m sorry. I have other plans.
- I can’t do that.
- I can’t make it that day.
- I’ll consider what you suggested.
- That isn’t going to happen.
- I’m not interested.
- Thank you, but no.
- No (without any explanation, simply saying the word).
There are also other things you can do to help yourself to regain some control. Start small. Organize your purse, a desk drawer, your car’s glove compartment. Work up from there onto something larger, maybe get rid of some clothes you no longer like even though the narcissist likes them. You also could paint a room or replace a piece of furniture. Keep taking back your power, little by little. The more you do it, the easier it becomes & the less you’re willing to settle for someone taking away your power.
Naturally as you do these things, the narcissist is NOT going to be happy about it. Most likely, the narcissist will realize that a rage will make him or her look bad, so that won’t happen. Instead, probably there will be passive/aggressive behaviors such as giving the silent treatment. Invalidation is also common. The narcissist may act as if there is something wrong with you for liking whatever it is you did that took back some of your power. Criticism certainly is going to happen. The narcissist will let you know that whatever you did was wrong, stupid, a waste of time & anything else negative they can think to say.
When the narcissist acts this way, always remember that it says more about the narcissist than you. Normal, functional people encourage others to be independent & have good boundaries. They also aren’t threatened by such things. Only unsafe & even narcissistic people are threatened by such normal, healthy, behaviors.
Dear Reader, you can do this! You can take back your power!
One of the most infuriating things I dealt with at the hands of my narcissistic mother when her abuse was at its worst was when she’d say, “My sources say you were seen doing *fill in the blank* today.” Or, “I was told that you did *fill in the blank*.” I would ask her who said these things & she would tell me it wasn’t my business, it didn’t matter or it wasn’t important.
It made me feel so paranoid, angry & even betrayed. Paranoid because I wondered who would tell my mother these things that I hadn’t even done. Angry that someone would tell her things I hadn’t done & she would believe I was capable of such things. Betrayed because clearly this person knew me.. what if this was a close friend of mine? My friends at the time knew about much of the abuse… how could any of them lie to my abuser knowing what happened when she was angry with me?!
Thankfully my mother stopped this after I moved out. I honestly thought I was over it, too. That is, until the spring of 2009, when one of my cousins & I had a falling out. She had invited my husband & I for Christmas a couple of months prior, & I declined. Apparently some time after, she learned that we took my parents to visit my father’s sister about a couple of weeks before Christmas & assumed that meant I spent Christmas with our aunt. I explained that wasn’t the case at all, I wouldn’t do that to her. Her response? “Why are you lying to me? My sources told me you spent Christmas with her.” That was a big trigger for me. All the old anger I’d felt at my mother came flooding back to the surface. Apparently I wasn’t over it, & with good reason.
So many narcissists use this type of manipulation. They accuse their victims of outrageous behavior, & say “my sources said you did it” or, “I was told you were seen doing that.” When you try to find out who their mysterious sources are, they say it doesn’t matter, it’s not your business or you don’t need to know. If you’ve been in this position, you know just how infuriating it is. It’s bad enough being accused of something awful you didn’t do, but not to know who is saying you’ve done this makes it even worse.
You know something though? The reason they refuse to divulge their “source” is because that person doesn’t even exist! The accusations came from the narcissist’s warped mind, not another person. The reason the narcissist is saying they were told you did this thing is to make you insecure, to make you think others are talking about you & ultimately to gain control over you. It can make you feel as if everyone is against you, & no one would believe you if you tell the truth about the abuse. I certainly felt that way with my mother. It makes you lose hope & afraid of disappointing people close to you. If the narcissist is especially good at this, you may come to believe that you did what the narcissist said you did. This makes you easy for the narcissist to control.
If you end up in this position with a narcissist, remember what they are doing. They don’t have “sources”. They are simply making up lies in order to gain control over you. Don’t get caught up in defending yourself to them, because they’ll only use that to prove how mentally unbalanced you are. And question everything they say. Even say something like, “Really? What did I do then?! I want to know!” If a narcissist wants to act so foolish, then they deserve to be called out on their behavior & to know you know they’re lying.
Narcissists clearly are experts in the area of controlling. One lesser known tactic they use is called coercive control. It is most commonly known to happen in romantic relationships, but it also can happen in parent/child relationships.
Coercive control doesn’t always involve physical violence, yet victims wonder if they don’t obey the narcissist, will it turn violent one day? Fear is a great weapon, & those who use coercive control are well aware of that fact. Often without so much as touching their victim, they instill a deep fear in them.
There are other signs of coercive control that people need to be aware of abusers using.
Intimidation is a big red flag. Towards the end of my first marriage, my ex was trying to intimidate me by punching things other than me. After, he would tell me how lucky I was he was hitting the walls instead of me. Other forms of intimidation can include showing weapons, blocking you from leaving the room or standing over you in a way as to make themselves look much bigger than you.
“Minor” violent acts. I hate to use the word minor with violent acts because it sounds like it’s trivializing violence. That isn’t my intention. What I mean is acts like pushing, holding you in place or even pinching hard. These are so called minor violent acts.
Using threats to control. Threatening to leave you, to commit suicide or hurt your child or pet in order to get what they want fall into the category of coercive control.
Micromanaging a victim. When someone controls things like how you dress or how you wash the dishes, it makes you easy to control because in time, you feel as if you must ask your partner for permission to do everything. Some parents continue treating their adult child as if they were young children in need of their guidance well into adulthood. This is known as infantilization.
Financial abuse. An abusive partner will keep their mate in the relationship by destroying their credit, spending all of their paychecks or refusing them all access to the couple’s finances.
Isolation is another form of coercive control. It’s no secret that abusers isolate their victims. Isolation makes victims easy to control by limiting the information & support they can receive from outside sources. Abusers may claim their victims’ friends or family aren’t good for them as one way to isolate their victims.
Sex is a very commonly used method of coercive control. Abusers may violently rape their victims of course, but that isn’t always the case. Many use shame, saying things like, “Any other woman in the world would do this one little thing for me…” or, “If you loved me, you would do this for me.” They also may be very good lovers at first to get you hooked on sex with them, then in time, they suddenly lose interest in having sex with you. When you practically beg them is when they have power over you. They use the opportunity to tell you what they want from you that will make them regain interest in sex.
When things like this happen, it’s not easy to identify these behaviors as abusive at first. Abusers get worse gradually, to build a victim’s tolerance to abuse. This is probably why so many victims stay… it happened so gradually, they didn’t even realize it was happening. By the time they did, they felt unable to escape.
If this describes you or someone you know, please get out NOW!!! These behaviors are all signs of a potentially violent person! Protect yourself & stay safe! xoxo
Shame is a powerful weapon in the hands of an abuser. It can cause a person to rely on their abuser for pretty much any information & make them easy to control by causing them to think they need someone smarter to tell them what to do. Narcissists know this, & they have fine tuned many very effective ways to use shame to abuse their victims.
Narcissists will destroy a person’s self esteem in order to create toxic shame in a victim. They point out a person’s flaws (real or imagined) constantly & tell embarrassing stories about them. This keeps a victim on their toes, trying to be better, to please the narcissist, & to avoid doing embarrassing things that the narcissist will use to embarrass the victim with at any given time.
Narcissists also will invalidate a victim. If they tell an embarrassing story, for example, & the victim becomes rightly upset, the narcissist will say things like, “I was just joking.” “You can’t even take a joke!” My narcissistic mother did this one constantly, & when I got upset, would tell me, “There’s something wrong with you. You shouldn’t feel that way! That was funny!”
Narcissists also love to reinvent the past. They claim to be responsible for their victim’s successes, claim the successes weren’t all that great or even deny they happened. Regarding their abuse, they will claim the abuse never happened or if it did, it wasn’t as bad as the victim claims or the victim made the narcissist do it.
Narcissists will twist a situation around to make themselves look like the victim rather than the abuser. They do this in two ways. They will tell others about how angry their victim is, how he or she yells at them, while leaving out the things they did that got the victim to that state. They also will use a victim’s own valid reactions to their abuse to prove to the victim that the victim is abusive &/or is mentally unstable.
Narcissists never speak to their victims as if the victim is their equal. Sometimes they will talk down to their victim, in particular if the victim in question is their child. They want to maintain that adult/child relationship in order to make their child feel inferior to them, therefore making them easier to control.
Other narcissists will talk in circles, use big words, speak with authority & basically try to talk above their victim, which makes even the most intelligent victim feel stupid. They may change their body language or physical position so they literally can look down at their victim.
If the narcissist’s victim has any sort of religious faith, the narcissist will not hesitate to use their beliefs to shame the victim. Many tell their victims things like they are going to hell because of how they treat the narcissist, or they aren’t honoring their parent. They let their victims know they are a total failure in every way, including their religious beliefs.
Narcissists view everything as a competition, & they will use comparisons to shame their victims. If a narcissist & their victim have something in common, you can guarantee the narcissist will make sure the victim knows the narcissist does it better or has a better one or is more successful at it. Whatever “it” is, the narcissist is the master, the victim the failure, according to the narcissist.
When a narcissist behaves in these ways towards you, keep in mind what is really happening! You have no reason to be ashamed of yourself, no matter what the narcissist is saying. He or she is only trying to make you feel that way in order to abuse & manipulate you. Like everything when it comes to narcissists, it’s all about the narcissist, & has nothing to do with you. Never forget that!
One very popular weapon in the narcissistic arsenal is guilt. Covert narcissists in particular are very fond of using guilt as a means of control. It’s understandable it’s such a common weapon considering how very effective guilt can be. It also is unfair & even cruel.
So how can you cope when your narcissistic parent uses guilt trips?
First, pray. Ask God for wisdom & discernment so you understand when guilt is being used on you & ways to cope with it.
You also need to recognize what is a guilt trip & what isn’t. You need to know when someone is saying something to manipulate you or to help you to change & improve yourself. Statements like, “It hurt my feelings when you said/did….” can help you. Statements that simply make you feel guilty like, “After all I’ve done for you, this is how you repay me?” however aren’t to help you, but to control you.
You also need to be aware of the fact narcissistic supply is at the root of every single thing a narcissist does. Guilt trips are a part of that. Being able to control someone via guilt provides supply as does seeing that person upset about the guilt. The more you allow the guilt trips to work on you, the more the narcissist will use them on you. The best thing you can do is to pretend not to notice the guilt at all when you’re in the narcissist’s presence. Later, when away from her, vent to your heart’s content of course, but when in her presence or even on the phone with her, pretend you didn’t notice a thing. If she realizes guilt trips don’t work on you, she’ll stop using them since she sees they aren’t effective.
Don’t justify yourself or your actions. If you do, you’re only making yourself look guilty, which could mean the narcissist will get meaner. Probably my most successful interaction with my late covert narcissist mother in-law involved guilt from her. She wanted me to do something for her one day but I had plans. Granted, I could’ve changed them, but I didn’t want to. Not for someone who hated me & treated me so poorly. She kept trying to find out what my plans were. She said things like, “You sure must have something important to do if you won’t do this for me.” “I guess you’re doing something for your parents since you won’t help me…” Rather than explain my plans (which weren’t her business!), I ignored her. Since I didn’t tell her, she got mad, but couldn’t be mad at me without looking foolish in front of her husband & mine. By not justifying my actions, I protected my privacy, avoided more nastiness from her & she never tried to guilt trip me again. In fact, I found the entire thing funny because her behavior was so ridiculous. Much better to laugh than to be angry or hurt!
Remember, if you have done something wrong, you should feel some guilt since it will help you to improve your behavior. However, if you haven’t done anything wrong, then do NOT allow the guilt trip to work on you.
Narcissists will use anything at their disposal to abuse & control their victims, & that even includes cars.
If a victim has hurt a narcissist somehow or even simply set boundaries with the narcissist, the narcissist may drive like a maniac in an attempt to scare the victim. After I broke off the engagement with my now ex husband, we went somewhere together & he was driving very erratically. It terrified me & I asked him to stop it. He said it was my fault he drove that way, because after I broke up with him, he didn’t care if he lived or died.
Cars are also an excellent place for a narcissist to have complete control over their victims. The victim has no means of escaping the narcissist’s car, so there is no choice but to tolerate whatever is done in that car. In my late teens when my mother’s abuse was at its worst, she refused to let me get my license & a car. Naturally, this meant she took me to & from school & work. Each ride was sheer hell for me because she screamed & raged at me the entire ride. I had no way of escaping either since I needed to get to my destinations, so there was no choice but to tolerate it.
Narcissists also often want to be the driver because this means their victim/passenger only can go where the narcissist wants to go & on her time schedule, not the victim’s. If they want to go somewhere with their victim, they will tell the victim what time they will pick him or her up, or tell the victim to come to the narcissist’s home so the narcissist can drive them to their destination. It’s all about control, & all victims know, narcissists love to have control over their victim in every possible way.
There are also some narcissists who don’t drive. This is most prevalent with covert narcissists rather than overt. They may play the naive & innocent role, claiming it is just too hard to drive. Since overt narcissists usually avoid appearing in a way that can look weak somehow, they usually drive. Again, this is all about control. If a narcissist can’t or won’t drive, this forces the narcissist’s victims to take care of her by either taking her places or doing things for her.
I’m certainly not saying that everyone who is a bad driver, who prefers to be the one driving or doesn’t drive is a narcissist, of course. Some people are simply more daring behind the wheel than others. There are also many people who develop serious anxiety behind the wheel, & they realize they shouldn’t be behind the wheel. There are others who love driving or who feel safest when they are driving. These people obviously aren’t narcissists, & you can tell they aren’t narcissists by their behavior. The daring driver is daring all of the time, not only after someone has upset him somehow. The anxious person asks for rides &/or offers gas money rather than expects others to help. The person who prefers being the driver never gets upset when someone says they want to drive or meet them somewhere.
If you have recently met someone, & think the person may be a narcissist, this is one way to help you to figure it out. Watch how the person is when it comes to driving.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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!
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! ❤