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What Does A Narcissist Mean When They Say, “My Sources Say You Did That”?

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.

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

Ways Narcissists Gain Attention

Narcissists love attention, & many must be the focal point of everyone’s attention at all times.  Overt narcissists are naturally more brazen in how they command attention than their covert counterparts, but covert narcissists love attention too.  There are countless things they can do to draw all attention to themselves, but this post addresses some of the more commonly used tactics.

Narcissists have no manners whatsoever.  Add that in with their insatiable desire to have everyone’s attention, & you have a person who WILL interrupt whoever is talking.  When a person interrupts, they naturally become the center of attention, so it’s a useful & very commonly used tactic for narcissists.

Overt narcissists can be loud in how they interrupt people.  They usually will talk over people.  Covert narcissists, as usual, are more subtle.  They will try to have the final word in any conversation.  There is also a trick my covertly narcissistic father used.  As I would start to speak, he’d act like he was going to speak.  Naturally, I’d apologize & let him talk.  Eventually I realized that was his goal.  He didn’t want to hear what I had to say.  He wanted to shut me up so he could talk, & knowing I hate bad manners, I’d be polite & let him talk.

And, if a narcissist is hard of hearing, interrupting becomes easier yet.  Many have what I call selective hearing.  While they may indeed have diminished hearing, they also use the excuse of not hearing a person when it fits them.  If they want someone else to stop talking so they can talk, they can just start talking & claim they didn’t hear the other person talking.

Another way narcissists gain attention is by turning a conversation back to themselves.  After all, if people are talking about something that isn’t the narcissist, that means the narcissist isn’t the center of attention.  They will spin the conversation around to themselves in such a way that no one will have a clue how that happened.

Narcissists also gain attention by telling stories about you to other people, preferably in a group of which you also are a part.  Not good stories like how you got that big promotion at work or were your high school valedictorian, only stories that embarrass you.  This tactic is especially popular with narcissistic parents, but spouses also may use it, especially if the narcissist is older than the victim.  Telling embarrassing stories makes a person feel shamed & foolish, which makes a person easier to control, so that is an added bonus to the attention the stories gain.  And, the narcissist may spin the story so it looks like he or she rescued you somehow.

If the narcissist has some sort of pain like back pain, arthritis, or even a short term problem such as a broken leg, the problem will be used to his or her advantage.  You can expect this person to claim unbearable pain when not receiving all attention.  A similar scenario can happen if the narcissist has an illness or disease.  If this narcissist isn’t the center of attention, suddenly he or she will claim symptoms are flaring up, or maybe that he or she must lay down or go home immediately.  In either scenario, most people will focus on the narcissist & try to help, returning him or her to the center of attention.

Shock value is another favorite way narcissists gain attention.  My mother literally crashed my late father in-law’s funeral in 2018 to get her precious attention.  She drove to the graveside as the funeral was just starting & wouldn’t get out of her car.  People were shocked, & staring.  It worked as she wanted.  Other shock value tactics may include things like burping or passing gas loudly, or saying something totally outrageous such as gory details of how someone was murdered.  Shock value naturally stuns people, & they focus all attention on the narcissist, as was the goal.

When the narcissist in your life behaves this way, deprive them of that attention.  If they interrupt you, talk over them or talk to someone else.  If they change the topic back to themselves, change it back to the original topic.  If they use embarrassing stories, pain or shock value, ignore them.  Depriving a narcissist of attention means that action won’t be used again because it doesn’t work.

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

When Narcissists Ignore Their Victims

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Another Weapon In The Narcissistic Arsenal

One weapon narcissists use is to tell their victims “I know you better than you know yourself.”  While it may sound rather innocuous, that phrase, especially when said by a parent to a child, can be devastating to the self esteem.

My mother said this to me my entire childhood.  I ended up feeling like I was stupid (how can a person not know themselves after all?!) & like I had to look to her to know what I liked & didn’t like, my opinions on things, what I should & shouldn’t do.  I was so insecure, & partly because of that stupid phrase!  Even now, in my mid 40’s, I have issues sometimes with figuring out what I really like & don’t like.

Have you heard this insidious phrase from your narcissistic parent too?  If so, you’re not alone!

The key to letting go of the insecurity caused by hearing this phrase is to pay attention to yourself.  Get to know you.  The real you, the person God made you to be & not the person your narcissistic parent tried to make you into.  Notice how you truly feel about everything.

Chances are, when you first start to do this, you’ll feel some guilt, like you’re going against your narcissistic parent’s wishes.  That is normal.  Just remind yourself that you are allowed to be an individual.  God created you to be an individual.  You were made to be you, not some cheap imitation of you & certainly not some lump of clay molded by a narcissistic parent only concerned with their wishes.

As you begin to know yourself, your narcissistic parent will disapprove.  Don’t let that disapproval discourage you. The disapproval doesn’t mean you’re wrong or a bad person at all!  It means the narcissist is disappointed in you for not continuing to allow her to control you.  If your narcissistic parent attempts to make you feel bad, wrong, guilty or ashamed because you’ve changed, pretend you don’t notice.  Ignore the comments!  You do what is best for you, NOT the narcissist!

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