Tag Archives: respond

Any Reaction Is Good As Far As Narcissists Are Concerned

Narcissists do their best to elicit reactions from their victims.  It doesn’t matter to them if the reaction is positive or negative, so long as it’s a strong reaction.

If you react positively to a narcissist, this provides narcissistic supply because it builds up their ego.  They see your reaction as proof that they are the awesome, amazing person they want people to think they are.  This means they will pursue you fervently in order to gain more of that precious supply you provide.

If you react negatively to a narcissist, this also provides narcissistic supply.  In the mind of the narcissist, it proves they are incredibly powerful.  After all, only a powerful person could elicit such a reaction, as far as they’re concerned.  Or, they can portray themselves as your victim, which is another great way for them to gain supply.  This situation also means they will pursue you fervently, because they want that narcissistic supply.

Narcissists really are experts at creating “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenarios, aren’t they?

As difficult as it seems, you need to avoid both scenarios.  The more narcissistic supply you provide, the more the narcissist will demand of you.  They will not hesitate to drain you of anything & everything you have- money, possessions, your time, energy, etc- to gain that supply.

To avoid providing a narcissist with supply, you need to stop reacting & start responding.

Reacting is that knee-jerk reaction, that thing that just happens automatically, without thinking.  Responding, however, happens after you take time to calm down & think.  Responding is what you need to do when dealing with a narcissist.

Responding isn’t nearly as easy to do as reacting, but it is possible, even when face to face with a narcissist.  To start with, pray.  Ask God for help responding & to keep your reactions in check.  You also can pray Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” (KJV)

Remind yourself how important it is to stay calm.  Remembering why you need to behave this way can be helpful.  Also tell yourself that you can do this, you are well able to remain calm no matter what.   Remember Proverbs 23:7  “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:…” (KJV)  If you tell yourself such things, you will be able to do them.

Another trick I learned is to stop for a second & take a deep breath, then release it.  This act forces you to calm down because of the breathing.  It also gives you a second to think of a response or ask God for help.

If you are no longer in a relationship with the narcissist, & they are either harassing you (themselves or via flying monkeys) or creating a smear campaign, I still would urge you to remain calm.

If the narcissist is harassing you, block her every way possible- on social media, email, your phone- & ignore her completely no matter what.  If she sends you something via postal mail, before you do anything with it, pray.  Some narcissists see returning mail as contact, thus it provides them with supply, & encourages them to continue harassing you.  Others may not see it that way.  You need to pray about this before you accept or return their mail.  You also may need to get a restraining order (talk to a police officer in your area for more details).  In many cases, narcissists know about stalking laws & stay just barely legal.  This means you can’t get a restraining order since they haven’t broken the law.  Even if you can’t, document everything they do.  Save emails & texts.  Take screen shots.  Save voice mails.  And, save everything in a safe place, such as online storage, so you won’t lose it no matter what.  This way, if the narcissist does break the law at some point, you have evidence that their behavior has been awful for a long time.  This can help you with the legal system.

If flying monkeys are harassing you, also remain calm in their presence & respond, don’t react.  Any reaction on your part just proves to them that the narcissist is right about you & may encourage them to continue abusing you.  Change the subject.  Tell them you don’t wish to discuss the narcissist with them.  If they ignore your boundary, tell them this subject isn’t up for debate & if they continue, you will leave/hang up the phone.  Follow through on your threat.  If the flying monkeys approach in other ways such as via email, ignore the email.

If you’re the victim of a smear campaign, ignore it.  Let your true character shine.   I know it hurts when you hear the horrible lies being told about you, & when people you thought cared about you believe them, & I’m sorry for that.  Unfortunately, people are going to believe what they want to believe.  Some people are so determined to be right, they will ignore all evidence to the contrary.  Let them.  Smear campaigns, as painful as they are, are also a good way to find out who your true friends are.  True friends will question the person saying awful things about you & defend you.  Those people are gems that you should thank God for placing them in your life.

Lastly, you will need to release all the anger & hurt the narcissist has caused you once you are away from them or their flying monkeys.  Prayer is incredibly helpful.  Sometimes you may not feel like talking & journaling is a great way to cope during those times.  I think of my journal entries as talking to God in writing since He & I are the only ones who read my journal.  Talk to a safe friend or counselor.  When you’re able to release the negative emotions, be sure to let it all out.  I admit it- I’ve used awful language & called the narcissists in my life terrible names during those times, but it helped me to purge myself of all the awful feelings.  Not once have I felt God judged me for it either.  Not like He hasn’t heard those kinds of things before!

Whatever your situation with the narcissist in your life, Dear Reader, you can handle it.  I believe in you!  xoxo

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

There Is More Than Fight Or Flight

Most everyone is aware of the fight or flight response.  This describes how a person reacts to extremely stressful situations, such as being attacked.

Fight means you aggressively fight back, because you believe you can defeat the danger.  When it happens, you feel intense anger, may cry or punch people or things, you may grind your teeth & chances are excellent your stomach will be in knots.

Flight means you run from the danger, because you believe you can’t defeat it.  When it happens, you feel fidgety & anxious.  You can’t stay still.  You want to run for the hills immediately.

There are two other responses beyond fight or flight that are seldom mentioned.  Freezing & fawning are the other two responses.

Freezing means when you’re unable to act in these awful situations.  You can’t think clearly.  Think of a deer in headlights.  That deer sees the danger heading straight for him, but is frozen in place.  This happens when you believe you can’t escape or defeat the attacker.  Freezing literally makes you cold when it happens.  Your body feels heavy & hard to move, sometimes it can feel numb as well.

Lastly, there is fawning.  This happens when in an acutely stressful situation, you do your best to comply with their attacker as an attempt to save yourself.  Like freezing, it happens when you believe you can’t escape or defeat your attacker.  Fawning is a typical response of those who have been in abusive relationships.  People who fawn realized that fighting, flight & freezing didn’t work, which is why they resorted to fawning.  They found that concerning themselves with the well being of their abuser was their best chance at diffusing the situation.

While fight, flight, freeze & fawn are very different responses, they all share the same goal: to diffuse or preferably end the situation & protect yourself.  A problem is often people get stuck in only one or maybe two responses when each one can be helpful in different circumstances.  This is especially common in those with PTSD or C-PTSD.  The responses become habitual.  The best way I know to overcome this is to recognize what you do in such situations.  Considering how you acted, without any judgment of course, can help you to discern which acute stress responses you have used.  When faced with danger after doing this, you’re more likely to respond after a bit of thought rather than react as in acting without thought.

Another issue can be for those who have experienced multiple traumas.  We can perceive threats when there isn’t one.  It helps to learn to slow down your thinking a bit so you can decide whether or not the threat is real.  Taking a long, deep breath in then releasing it slowly only takes a couple of seconds, but it can slow your body & mind down enough to help you figure out the situation as well as the best way to respond.

Past trauma can affect your life in so many ways.  Learning to manage your responses can be one way to help yourself handle stressful & even new traumatic situations in healthier ways.

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

Responding vs. Reacting

Good morning, Dear Readers!

As I mentioned in my last post, last Friday, my mother called, & as she so often does, attempted to push my buttons.  A part of me wanted to just jump through the phone & smack her.  I mean really- trying to shame me by acting like I’m the only person in the entire world who likes Stephen King’s writing just because she doesn’t like scary stories?  Sheesh..  how stupid!  Anyway, I refused to show her I was angry, because that only pleases her & makes her meaner.  Instead I either pretend I didn’t notice the snide comments, or respond calmly albeit a bit sarcastically.  With the Stephen King comments, for example, She ended her tirade with “I don’t know where you get your taste in books!  I don’t like anything scary!”  (she likes fluffy, light stories only) In a somewhat cheerful tone, I simply said, “You obviously don’t know any of us Baileys then.  There is not one Bailey I know of who doesn’t like scary stories.  Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker- you know, the GOOD authors.”  My mother responded by changing the subject.  HA!  She wasn’t amused that I didn’t respond in anger & I made a valid point.

My point of telling you this is that there is a very big difference in responding & reacting, & if you have a narcissist in your life, then you need to learn the difference!

What I did in the above story is respond.  I know this is a topic that comes up often (it’s an attempt to shame me for being different than her), so I have learned to prepare my responses ahead of time.  I maintain an air of calmness, even though inside I may not feel so calm, & speak my peace.

Reacting is much different.  Reacting is what you do when you don’t think or prepare ahead of timem.  When someone pushes your buttons, you react by yelling at them.  This is what narcissists want you to do- they feed off of the fact that they have so much control/power over you, they can make you so angry or even lose control.  If they can make you look crazy by yelling at them while they stay calm, all the better for them.  They get that power, plus they make you doubt your own sanity.

See the difference??

If you too have a narcissist in your life, then you need to master the art of responding & lose your reaction for your own mental health.  In order to do this, you need to know your narcissist.  What topics does she frequently bring up to hurt you with?  Does she use the same method with several topics?  How does she expect you to react to her antics- with anger?  Tears?

Once you know what to expect, that is half the battle!  From there, you can prepare various ways to respond.  I do this by asking God for help.  Help me to stay calm in her presence & help me to say creative things to let her know her game isn’t working- I’m not ashamed of myself for being different or feeling guilty because I don’t agree with her or whatever her evil goal is.  It’s worked wonderfully too!  Usually things just happen & I haven’t prepared myself other than to pray before seeing her.  My recent response to my mother’s nasty comments because I like Stephen King’s work was one of those incidents.  A few days prior, as I wrote about in this blog entry the other day, I learned that saying, “well ain’t that nice” was also effective, & it was also a spontaneous event.

Learning to respond rather than react has been very beneficial for me.  It has eliminated many topics that my mother used to use to try to hurt or invalidate me with.  It can do the same for you!  I doubt there is ever a way to completely eliminate all of a narcissist’s weapons of verbal destruction, but this one will eliminate plenty of them! I encourage you to give it a try.  What do you have to lose??

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