“You’re too sensitive!”
This seems to be a phrase many ACONs have heard their entire lives. And yes, many of us are more sensitive than the average person, which is why we were targeted, scapegoated, and bullied in the first place.
Narcissists know being sensitive means we can see the truth about things, that we can see through bullshit and lies. They don’t like that because it exposes them for what they really are, so they turn a quality that gives us intuition and insight into something that makes us seem weak and defenseless.
If our parents were narcissists, we were trained to be ashamed of this quality and turn it against ourselves, rather than learn to refine it and develop it into the powerful gift it really is. Society doesn’t help much with that either. Sensitivity is generally thought of as a weakness rather than a strength. It’s not something you would want to admit on a job interview when the interviewer asks you what your “worst quality” is. I actually did that once, and was shown the door. They want to hear “I’m too impatient” or “I’m too greedy,” or “I obsess too much about power and control,” not “I’m too sensitive.”
I think narcissists also like to pull out the “you’re too sensitive” card because they’re projecting what they see as a fault in themselves onto us. They’re good at that. Narcissists are incredibly hyper-sensitive–but only about themselves; no one else ever benefits from their hypersensitivity.
It’s my opinion that narcissists, before they adopted narcissism as a defense mechanism, started out life as extremely sensitive children and in some cases even had the potential to be empaths. Abuse and neglect turned them into narcissists. Narcissism is an elaborate defense mechanism that obscures, buries and eventually can nearly destroy the sensitive true self. It almost would take an act of God for a narcissist to ever shed their swagger and their “I’m a big mean unfeeling badass” mask and let their sensitive true self come to light. Most of them couldn’t do it even if they wanted to.
But narcissists can’t hide from themselves–not completely. Most of them have exquisitely tender feelings and are easily hurt. It’s very easy to insult a narcissist. They have no sense of humor about themselves and are unable to take a joke at their own expense. They are big crybabies who will whine, sulk and complain loudly should you hurt their feelings (and it’s almost impossible not to). Most will show their hurt as rage–because raging makes them seem big and tough, something they really aren’t but wish they were. Or they will retaliate by ignoring you, abandoning you, cutting you off, or giving you the silent treatment–because those things make it look as if they don’t care. You’d be wrong though. They care alright, and when you have caused them narcissistic injury they are off licking their wounds in silence where you can’t see. Or loudly complaining to others about how
mean and narcissistic YOU are.
They call us too sensitive because they’re unable to own their own hypersensitivity. They turn it into a bad thing because they know they have lost that part of their sensitivity that would have made them able to feel for others and empathize. They’re crippled people. They can’t ever feel sorry for someone else–but as far as self-pity goes, no one can beat them at that.