Trump’s military spectacle in DC is anything but patriotic.

Jason Heuser’s illustration was meant as an ode to Trump, but actually is an accurate depiction of his narcissistic sense of grandiosity and toxic masculinity.

Trump has a funny way of taking bipartisan things that traditionally unify people and make them divisive and political — and always all about him.

Just as he has done with Christmas and football, Trump has politicized the 4th of July, by using our tax money to pay for a ridiculously expensive — and ridiculously tacky —  spectacle of power and military might complete with tanks and salutations by the various branches of our military to Dear Leader himself.    Not only that, but he has designated a VIP section just for his wealthy donors.   And just like with his endless golf trips and tax breaks for the rich, WE are paying for it. 

There is absolutely nothing patriotic or American about this disgusting spectacle making its way down Pennsylvania Avenue today.   It’s intended solely to please Trump’s base and donors.  It’s basically a very expensive rally for his reelection campaign.   It’s also meant to impress Trump’s dictator buddies like Putin and Kim Jung Un, who also hold military parades in their own countries.

When asked if the United States should have a military parade to “show off its might,” President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Absolutely not. We are the pre-eminent power on Earth. For us to try and imitate what the Soviets are doing in Red Square would make us look weak.”

Eisenhower was right.  Modern democracies and countries with real strength don’t lower themselves to putting on military parades.  These ostentatious displays are the province of two bit dictatorships and banana republics, and Trump’s military parade is an announcement to the world that the United States has become a two bit dictatorship and is using a display of military might to compensate for its growing weakness in the world.  We now have concentration camps that torture and imprison children and innocent families who try to apply for asylum.  Why not show how big and tough we are by having big ugly tanks roll down the middle of our Capital and salute Dear Leader too?

Public spectacles of military prowess are nothing more than preening displays of power by insecure and cruel leaders who use bullying, punishment, torture, and intimidation to “govern.”   They are not intended to be celebrations or patriotic traditions for all the citizens to enjoy, but are meant to intimidate and scare the populace, to show them they better not mess with Dear Leader.   That’s what Trump is doing.  This parade is also intended as a massive dose of narcissistic supply, which Trump regularly infuses himself with by holding his partisan hate rallies, among other things (like those nauseating meetings he has where his cabinet members, sitting around a long table, each have their turn to shower Trump with praise as he sits there gloating).

I know I won’t be watching Trump’s stupid narcissistic display of toxic masculinity.  I’ll stick to the Macy’s Day Parade, fireworks, and hamburgers cooked on the grill.

Happy Fourth, everyone!

 

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Narcissism and sadism.

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5 reasons why you should never tell a narcissist they’re a narcissist.

Originally posted on July 1, 2015

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In my dealings with narcissists, it’s sometimes been tempting to tell them to their face that they’re narcissists, thinking maybe it could be the wake up call they need. It’s a nice fantasy to think they might take a look at their obnoxious, abusive, insufferable selves and try to make some changes, but unfortunately that’s just a fantasy. It won’t work, because narcissists cannot feel remorse for their actions or empathy for hurting you. In fact, they may take pleasure from it.

The following reactions are far more likely if you “out” a narcissist to their face:

1. They might rage. Or give you the silent treatment. Or laugh at you. Or deny it. Or abuse you. Or call you names. Or tell you you’re crazy or deluded. Narcissists hate the truth, and if they know you have their number, they feel threatened and will attack like a cornered rattlesnake. It’s in their nature.

2. It might give them twisted narcissistic supply. Some narcissists may actually take a perverse pride in being called narcissistic. Rather than making them feel shame and remorse, telling a narcissist they’re a narcissist may flatter them and inflate their ego even more, which could lead to them becoming even more narcissistic and abusive than they already are.

3. They might project it back onto you. This is surprisingly common. Projection (attributing their own bad behaviors to their victims) is one of the more common red flags of a narcissist, so if you call a narc a narc, don’t be too surprised if they start telling everyone YOU are the narcissist. They might even turn the tables and play the victim (see DARVO).

4. They might learn more to hone their weapon. Taking #2 a step further, some bright narcissists may actually decide to learn more about their disorder–but not to learn how to control it or improve the way they treat people, but rather to educate themselves about abusive narcissistic mindgames they haven’t already tried in order to use them against you. I actually know someone this happened to when she called her ex a narcissist. He started reading every book he could get his hands on about NPD and narcissistic abuse, and systematically started using the information to “prove” his girlfriend had NPD and that he was the real victim (see #3).

5. They might not be a narcissist. There is always a possibility (even if small) that the person you think is a narcissist really isn’t. If you’re not a mental health professional qualified to make a diagnosis based on standardized testing and interviews, your own bias, lack of knowledge, or just plain dislike of a person could be influencing your judgment of them. Perhaps they are having a bad day (or a bad life), or suffer from some other disorder that can mimic narcissism. Even non-disordered people can act like narcissists at times. All of us can. So if you’re certain someone is a narcissist, you may be right, but it’s still best to keep that information to yourself–or only tell your close friends.

“How to Spot a Collapsed Narcissist”

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The following is is a very interesting article I found on a site called  Flying Monkeys Denied, that explains how to identify a narcissist who has “collapsed” –in other words, a narcissist who has been denied adequate supply (leading to narcissistic injury), perhaps by having failed to meet his or her goals or obtain the admiration they thought was their due.    He (or she) will spiral into “pit bull” attack mode in their last ditch efforts to force others to provide them with supply.   They become hypersensitive, hateful, rage filled, tantrum throwing, angry, snappish, intolerant, and sometimes even violent.   Any pretense of niceness or charm they might have formerly displayed when things were going better for them disappears and the rage just underneath the mask of pleasantness comes out full throttle.

They still cannot accept any blame or criticism of themselves.    They project their self hatred onto the “targets” they have selected (people of another race, religion, ethnic group, gender, or people with a non-traditional lifestyle).  It’s as this level the narcissist displays bigotry and small-mindedness.   It’s at this level you see xenophobia and intolerance toward viewpoints outside their narrow worldview.   It’s at this level the collapsed narcissist may batter his wife or girlfriend so badly she winds up hospitalized or dead.

Archie Bunker in the ’70s hit TV show, “All in the Family” was a narcissist who was painfully aware he was at or very near the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder.   Fearing he’d sink to the even “lower level” of the minorities and various ethnic groups he looked down on with so much contempt, Archie hung onto that one thin thread of hope: his whiteness, his conservative values, and his blue-collarness.

There’s another narcissist in the public eye right now, similar to Archie Bunker in many ways (only with a lot more money),  who is running for president.  This narcissist also displays all the signs of having collapsed or being in the process of collapsing, perhaps due to the pressure of running for the highest office you can obtain but deep down knowing he really isn’t qualified, so he attacks those who question  his competence or criticize his agenda.   His bigotry, sexism and racism ensures that should he fail (lose the election, win the election but become the most hated president ever) he will still be “above” these other groups who he has deemed are beneath him.

The next stage in the narcissistic collapse (if getting supply through aggression, threats and intimidation fails) would be a descent into depression, suicide, or even psychosis (when a narcissist reaches this point of having hit rock bottom, they may become so desperate  as to voluntarily enter therapy, and this is when inroads into their psyche are most likely to be made).   Such a massive blow to the narcissistic ego could also result in complete loss of control  called “going postal.”   It is this possibility I think many of us sense in The Donald that makes his possible presidency so terrifying.    Should he collapse that far, he could start a nuclear war or turn America into a police state or order the extermination or deportation of all the groups of people he dislikes.  Gay people, people of color (particularly Muslim-Americans),  even women are at risk should that happen.

My apologies for applying Godwin’s Law,  but I believe this is how Hitler went from winning an election as a smooth talking populist who promised to “make Germany great again,” to the monster who became responsible for the extermination of 6 million Jews and other groups he disliked.   I could see this happening with Donald Trump all too easily.    There aren’t enough checks and balances any more to keep him at bay should he decide to unleash his narcissistic fury.   This is one angry and disordered man who is coming undone on national TV and I wouldn’t put anything past him.

I didn’t intend for this intro to be so long.   Here is the article I’m linking to:

http://flyingmonkeysdenied.com/2016/10/10/how-to-spot-a-collapsed-narcissist/

“Will the real victim please stand up?”

Some narcissists (especially if they’e covert) pretend to be victims of narcissistic abuse. How do you know, when someone tells you they have been abused, if they are telling the truth, or if they are just trying to manipulate you and get your sympathy so they can use and abuse you themselves later?  It can be hard to tell. This article explains the telltale signs of an impostor and how their behavior differs from that of a real victim.

Comments have been disabled; please leave comments under the original post.

Will The Real Victim Please Stand Up?

Reblog from After Narcissistic Abuse

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It’s NOT EASY using the V word.

Personally, I don’t LIKE it. It’s not a word I’ve used to describe myself through very many situations in my life, because I am the kind of person who takes responsibility for things that happen to me. While, I certainly had choices and consequences (thus responsibility) in my relationship with a narcissist as an adult – it is the only experience I think the V label accurately describes and depicts.

I was caught unaware. I was told things that weren’t true. By relying on those things, I made decisions that put me in harms way. I was sold a bill of goods and promises by a person who was well aware that they had no intention of ever delivering on those promises nor being capable of being a good person towards me, so that he could use me for things that benefited one person in the “relationship”: THE NARCISSIST.

This being said, I don’t throw this word “Victim” around LIGHTLY. I think that the topic of FALSE VICTIM claims by narcissists should be evaluated with a more discerning eye when considering the damage and injustice done by a narcissist to the lives that their false allegations destroy.

Let’s examine the traits of a well-trained pathological liar, a narcissist; with a history of duping others and manipulating to avoid responsibility vs a credible, honest, albeit “emotional” target of the narcissist.

False Victim vs. True Victim

1.  Flat Affect.

A FALSE VICTIM isn’t emotionally vibrant and attached to the events which they are sharing that were abusive. They appear as if they’ve just gotten back from a calming vacation. Very smooth. Cool. Detached.

Whereas, a TRUE VICTIM will appear FRAZZLED, RUFFLED and SPENT. They’ll cry hysterically, appear jumpy, nervous and afraid. They’ll space out then come back to the conversation with shocking emotion. They have an urgency with their speech and inflection and it will be PEPPERED with emotions that are all over the place. There are instances of true victims of narcissists who are completely detached and disengaged; hopelessly depressed with a flat affect from the abuse. There will still be evidence of victimization in that “spaced out” appearance not like the cold, cool demeanor of a lying narcissist.

TRUE VICTIMS experience the grieving process. Shock. Denial. Anger. moving all the way through acceptance. Whereas a FALSE VICTIM will appear to get over the emotions of the experience rather quickly. They don’t appear to dwell, (ruminate / obsess) over the “abusive” experiences.

Read the rest of the warning signs in the original post.

Karma comes a-calling for my malignant narcissist ex.

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Sometimes you can actually see what happens to a narcissistic abuser when they alienate everyone and have nothing left.

My MN ex has effectively alienated not only his ex wife (me), but also both his children. He has no other living family (and his deceased mother was also a malignant narcissist).    He runs off potential friends the first time they disagree with him and becomes abusive toward them and starts badmouthing them to anyone who will listen, so he has no friends either.

Most of you no I am No Contact with my ex.    He finally stopped trying to hoover me and these days does nothing but badmouth me to our children because I am no longer of any use to him.    My children are sick of it, and they’re sick of him.   My son can see right through his lies and bullshit, and has been able to do so for years.   Without his narcissist father in his life, he is doing very well and is reasonably happy.  He has supportive friends who serve as a kind of surrogate family to him.    He has only a few scars (Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder, including a rather pathological fear of germs) from having been his father’s scapegoat growing up, but is working on that in therapy, as well as his lingering issues with self esteem and depression.

My daughter, who got “rewarded” when she was younger for being the golden child and her father’s flying monkey recruit, is over it–and she’s over her father.  Since he had no one left in the family to bully, lie to, steal from, triangulate against, gaslight, and abuse, she became his newest victim and scapegoat!   If you’re the golden child of a narcissist, never get too comfortable.   They will turn on you in a heartbeat if no other supply is forthcoming or their original scapegoats defect.  You, too, are merely an object for them to feed off of so their false self doesn’t fall to pieces.

There have been two incidents lately that made her finally wake up to the truth about him.  About a month ago, he stole her entire savings–almost $300, that she’d been so proud of and diligently adding to for over three months.   He not only lied to her about the theft, he tried to blame ME and suggest I might have taken it.   Even her tears didn’t move him–his own DAUGHTER’s tears, and he continued to deny that he had taken it and told her she was overreacting.

A week ago he broke into her car at work (somehow he got a spare key) and stole more money and some of her prescription medicine she takes for anxiety.    She was always too trusting of him–and she’s too trusting in general.  She tends to be codependent, the way I used to be.    But now she knows her father isn’t a loving person who will support her; he is treacherous and has zero conscience or empathy.  Like everyone else, she’s just an object to him.   This was a hard and painful truth for her to realize, and she hasn’t spoken to him since this incident.   Although she’s not officially No Contact, she is taking No Contact actions by not having anything to do with him.  She does love her father, but she is starting to realize he never loved her, or anyone, because he’s not capable of it.  She knows it’s nothing she did; it’s because he is very sick.

Now he has no one left and still lives with my daughter’s ex boyfriend because he can use him too and he’s too lazy to look for a place of his own.   The ex boyfriend (who is still friends with my daughter) is tiring of his mind-games and his constant demands too and never talks to him anymore, even though they are living in the same house.  He thinks the way he treats his own children is appalling.  He continues to allow him to live there, because he helps with the bills in exchange for the room, but he doesn’t like him and barely talks to him at all.

The strain is showing.  My MN ex is beginning to lose his mind (whatever was left of it).    My daughter’s ex tells us he is acting more and more erratic and bizarre, talking about things that make no sense that sometimes sounds like the word salad some schizophrenics are known for.  He threatens suicide all the time and spends his days and nights abusing random people on Facebook and trolling political websites, abusing and bullying the people he finds there.   He’s unemployable.  Even if he could find work, no one would hire him.  He not only acts insane, he looks it too.   He never bathes and dresses strangely or barely at all.  And so he just sits in his room all day, never coming out except to eat or use the bathroom.

My ex is an example of a malignant narcissist who has no supply left to inflate his false self–no family, no friends, no job, no recognition of any kind, ill heath, and he’s losing his looks with age and both mental and physical illness–and now he’s completely losing his mind.   He’s unrecognizable from the charming, handsome, ambitious, and charismatic person I met in 1985.   He doesn’t even try to hide his malignancy behind a “nice” mask anymore.   He’s openly mean, nasty and negative.  He appears to have completely lost any soul he might once have had and now he’s batshit crazy to boot.   Soon he will probably need to be housed in a mental institution, if he doesn’t take his own life first.

He’s a perfect example of a narcissist way too far up the NPD/ASPD spectrum to ever admit he needs help or realize that he has sabotaged himself by running off everyone, including his own family, with his repellent personality and refusal to accept any responsibility or blame for the pain he has caused them. He still constantly projects his own malignant narcissism onto the people he was supposed to love but never could.    I don’t see this man ever becoming so beaten down he would go into therapy to try to understand what his own role in this might have been.   He denies he is a narcissist and always will.   He has zero self awareness and always will.   If he ever “hits bottom” (which he’s really close to now), all I see him doing is committing suicide.   He’d be too proud to humble himself and willingly renounce his ways.  He’d rather die than do that.

I don’t exactly enjoy seeing his deterioration, but a part of me can’t help but think it’s all due to his choices and refusal to take any kind of responsibility and that he’s just finally getting what he deserves.

A Covert Narcissist’s Worst Nightmare, by Anonymous.

I saw this today and thought it was brilliant and creative, so I’m reposting it. I’m pretty sure it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. 😉

A Covert Narcissist’s Worst Nightmare

By Anonymous.

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You wake up one day and all the people who once respected and liked you, and gave you supply — supply that gave you esteem and a sense of self — have turned against you, because they found out you were a Narcissist, and now they’ve actually all conspired together, in an attempt to systematically destroy your false-self, because “that’s what’s best for you honey.” Your family ostracizes you. Your work is no longer valued. Any attempt to garner supply from others is met with contempt and slights and ridicule. Now every innocuous glance and comment is an attempt to put you down. Rage just pushes people away, as does snapping and hurting others. Your inwardly-constructed personal reality and persecutory delusions that originally took the blame off yourself, and upheld your false self, begin to falter, and you focus more on your deeply wounded true-self.

So you buy a Ferrari and drive around and associate with your fellow yuppies, trying to look cool and make others think so too, but they just see you as trying too hard, and all your associates stop hanging out with you, because they don’t think you’re worthy anymore. “Mr. Nobody” is your new nickname. Even your attempts to get supply on social media is met with zero likes.

Turning inward to fantasy (violent and grandiose) and narcissistic withdrawal, and numbness, you try to generate supply from the inside, which works for a while, until even that fails. Taking drugs and getting drunk to escape from the nightmare just makes things worse. No matter what you do, you can’t ever get any more supply.

Everyone sees how fake you are, including your friends; they see you are over-exposed and vulnerable. It turns out no one appreciates you anymore, probably because they were all narcs themselves. You try to fight it, but you know it’s the truth. You feel the very essence of who you are break apart — pure ego death — and there is nothing you can do about it. You know that the only way to feel alive is to get gratification from others, and in the end — you can’t get it at all, and suicide seems like the only option. (My note–Please don’t do this if you have NPD and lost all your supply–go get some professional help ASAP!)

But then it turns out it was all just a bad dream, like the ending of “Click”, and you go on living your life the way you always did, using others to pump up your false self, blissfully unaware of your own inadequacies.

Guest Post: Descartes and the Killer Bees (by Anna Girolami)

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A reader named Anna Girolami (she has a blog called Good Red Herring) emailed me wondering if she could write a guest post for this blog.    I felt honored that she wanted to do this!  The post she wrote is definitely out-of-the-box and thought-provoking and has some intriguing ideas about handling people with various personality disorders, especially the Cluster B’s. I had to laugh at the reference to the “Killer Bees” (and will overlook the fact that technically, I’m included in this category, but since I’m recovering or maybe already recovered from BPD, maybe not).

I do want to add a disclaimer, however.   Anna’s thoughts about “managing a narcissist (or other disordered person)” are interesting, but I don’t think it would be wise in most situations, at least not for any length of time, and certainly not for any malignant narcissist or sociopathic personality.    No Contact, is of course, ALWAYS the best way to “manage” a narcissist, but there are situations where going NC may not be feasible.   In those cases, there is a technique known as “grey rocking,” which basically means being so mind-numbingly boring to the narcissist they go elsewhere and leave you alone.  Even that doesn’t always work, but I don’t think it’s really feasible to “manage” a disordered person without doing damage to yourself.  I think to try to manage a narcissist or another person with a personality disorder in this manner would prove extremely exhausting at best, and soul killing at worst.  Essentially, it means providing them with narcissistic supply!  So I don’t recommend it, but perhaps it’s something you can try if all else fails. It might work for the non-“Killer Bees” like the obsessive-compulsive or dependent PDs that Anna mentions; I’m not sure though, since I’m not as familiar with the Cluster C category of personality disorders.

That being said, I do see Anna’s logic here, and perhaps with a narcissist who isn’t very high on the spectrum or someone with a different personality disorder, this type of management might be an option.  Or, it might work in a pinch, when you can’t get away but you’re only with the disordered person for a short time, say at a party or a meeting.  It might work on a boss, too, if you really don’t want to leave your job and grey-rocking might seem too rude. (Never tell your Histrionic boss they’re sexy, though!)

Descartes and the Killer Bees.

By Anna Girolami

Blog: Good Red Herring

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René Descartes is regarded by many as the father of modern western philosophy. For most of us, he boils down to a single, famous phrase:

Cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am).

A lot of disordered people, however, operate on a variation of this theme. I’m talking about Cluster B people – the Killer Bees. They don’t think, they really don’t want to think. That’s the last thing they want to do. No, their being depends upon something else:

Videor, ergo sum (I am seen, therefore I am).

Equally important to them, is the flip side:

Non videor, ergo non sum (I am not seen, therefore I am not).

One of the hallmarks of disordered people is “splitting” – the simplistic belief that things are either completely wonderful or completely dreadful. Anything more ambivalent than that is just too difficult to deal with.

For our Killer Bees, this habit of splitting combines with the above dictum in a catastrophic way. They can admit only two possibilities – either the whole world is watching them and thus they are alive or no-one at all is watching them so, arrrrgh!, they cease to exist.

Given that very terrifying choice, which one would you go for? A Killer Bee has no real option but to cling desperately to the belief that every single person in the world is watching them for every second of the day. It’s either that or existential obliteration.

This belief requires that – consciously or not – they beat down any aptitude for empathy that they may have. Iris Murdoch (who was a philosopher before she was a novelist) nailed this when she said “Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real.”

I take some issue with this as a definition of love. As a definition of empathy, however, it’s absolutely bang on.

The proper acknowledgement of other people’s autonomy and identity is a highly evolved function – one that many people seem unwilling to develop, on the very understandable grounds that it would deprive them of a great deal of secondary gain.

A Killer Bee cannot afford to acknowledge that anyone else is real. Even those – especially those – they ought to love the most. Other people are merely robots whose only function is to watch the Bee and thereby preserve them from extinction. Ideally, they should watch and approve. But even watching and disapproving is better than nothing.

What the watch-bots simply cannot be allowed, is any independent thought or action or intent of their own. That would mean they might stop watching the Bee for a while and then the Bee would cease to exist.

For a Killer Bee, it really is that simple – and that important.
Non videor, ergo non sum.

*****

If you’re married to or in some other way entangled with a Killer Bee, it is futile expecting them to notice you, support you or in any other way treat you as if you are real. They can’t do it. Not without professional help and not unless they want to. Very, very few want to – why should they give up this way of living that means lots of lovely attention and never having to think about anybody else?

So, what do you do? If your Killer Bee is of the mild-to-moderate variety, you have three choices:

1. Suck it up, suck it all up.
2. Ditch ’em.

Or..

3. you can manage them.

If you can’t/don’t want to ditch them, it seems obvious that your best option is to manage them. They’re quite primitive machines and, if they’re not too far gone, it is possible to manage them once you understand the clockwork. Oh sure, it makes you seethe, having to “manage” an adult, simply to stop them behaving like a three year old with low frustration tolerance. But it’s either that or suck it up, suck it all up.

Remember: videor, ergo sum.

Each variety of Killer Bee needs to be seen in a slightly different way.

–The Narcissist needs: “I see you, darling, you’re amaaaazing.”
–The extraverted Histrionic needs: “I see you, darling, you’re sooo sexy.”
–The introverted Histrionic needs: “I see you, darling, you’re so pretty but don’t get up, you’ll spoil the effect. Just you sit there and look perfect, I’ll do everything.” Or something like that.
–The Obsessive-Compulsive (OCPD, not OCD) needs: “I see you, darling, you’re trying so hard.”
–The Dependent or the Borderline needs: “I see you, darling, don’t worry. I’m here, I’m always here.”
(Yes, I know obsessives and dependents aren’t technically in the Cluster B group, but they often wander over into their territory.)

If you don’t know exactly which type you’ve got, just go with “I see you, darling, you’re wonderful.” That will keep most of ‘em happy, it’s the seeing that really matters. When Killer Bees are happy, they can actually play quite nicely.

This sounds easy enough but here’s the thing – you have to do it all the time. Every waking second of their day, or near enough. Once a week simply doesn’t cut it.

Remember: non videor ergo non sum.

They genuinely feel that if they are not sufficiently seen, then they don’t exist. When that happens, anxiety quickly overwhelms them. The narcissist will rage and belittle you, the histrionic will weep, the obsessive will sulk. Whatever.

It’s exhausting (and maddening) to have to supply this amount of constant watching with, inevitably, no reciprocation. It is, however, less exhausting than the tantrums. It may help if you realise that it doesn’t always have to be you who does the watching. They’re not fussy, these people. No one is real to them. One watch-bot is as good as any other.

So if you can do it reasonably, consider offloading some of the watching duties onto others (although not onto your children, that’s absolutely not supposed to happen. It’s a tragedy that it so often does). My own particular Killer Bee, an Obsessive with a heavy histrionic topcoat, is good at running, so I encourage him to enter as many races as he can. When he does well (which is usually. He’s an obsessive, after all), he gets a big chunk of lovely watching and approval from a whole host of other people – and I get a bit of time off. Its almost win-win.

Our holidays aren’t very restful though.

Have a great week,
Anna

The narcissist game of “Gotcha!”

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An earlier post of mine described the 8 mind-games  that narcissists all love to play.   (Please be aware this was actually a reblog of someone else’s post).  One of the more popular games, played by both covert and overt (grandiose) narcissists is “Gotcha!”

“Gotcha!” can be played two different ways, but both have the same devastating effect on the narcissist’s opponent (victim).   Both are intended to bring your mood down as low as it can go and at the same time, reward the narcissist with supply (which you provide with your emotional reaction) which makes them feel better about themselves.

Here are the two versions of “Gotcha!”

Bug.

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This game is most popular with overt narcissists because it allows them to exercise their grandiosity and turn it into a handy weapon and suction tube for feeding.

In “Bug,” the victim always goes first.  You start the game by feeling down, depressed, or worthless after some misfortune.    The narcissist is good at faking empathy and love bombs you by spreading that phony sh*t on thick.  Eventually you let your guard down and confide in the narcissist all your woes, misfortunes,  and feelings of dejection.   You tell them your whole life story, feeling like you have found a kind shoulder to cry on.   A patient, empathic person who cares about you and wants to help you.

Not so fast, there!   Your narcissist is already planning their next move, and it has about as much to do with empathy as a Canadian Mountie has to do with a Taliban terrorist.    What is that next move, you ask?   They’re about to pull a bait and switch on you.   The next time you confide in them about losing your home, your spouse, your job, or your mental health, they will callously “share” with you all about the exotic vacation they’re planning to take, the big promotion they just got, or the new romantic partner in their lives.   They will crow about how blessed they are (“blessed” is a favorite term used by narcissists as a subtle envy-generator) and how unfair it is that others aren’t as fortunate as they are (this last is a snide put down, implying that you’re not one of the chosen people that God has chosen to shower his bounty on).

Of course you’re not an envious person, but hearing all about their perfect, blessed life at a time like this when you are suffering is too much.    The narcissist doesn’t care.   In fact, they may actually be lying to you about all those wonderful things.  They want to see you suffering and envious of them, because (1) your suffering provides them with a comparative ego boost (hey, at least they’re not as unfortunate as YOU!)  and (2) your envy inflates their ego even more.   They feed off your pain like a pig rolling in slop.

To them, you are just a bug, not worthy of respect or any real compassion.   Maybe they’ll getcha with some pitying contempt though:  “Oh, I feel so SORRY for you!”   It’s intention is to make you feel shame.  When you’re already down, expect to be stepped on and squished under the heel of the narcissist’s boot until there’s nothing left of you.

Wet Blanket.

wet-blanket

This is a game almost always played by covert narcissists.   The tactics used to win the game are very different than “Bug,” but the end goal is the same:  to make you feel like shit.

As in “Bug,” you (the victim) begin the game.  (Of course you don’t know it’s a game, but that doesn’t matter.)   You think you’ve found a friend in the narcissist because they seem so interested in you.   You just found out some great news–you got that promotion, your book is going to be published, you just found out you’re pregnant after months of trying, you won the lottery.

Naturally the narcissist doesn’t like your good news. To them, it is very bad news, because in their minds, the good fortune of someone else diminishes them.  Life to them is a zero sum game.  There can only be one winner and it has to be them.    For something good to happen to you means it didn’t happen to them which means they hate your guts because you have something which they do not.   It doesn’t even have to be something they want:  the fact you have something good at all is an affront to them.  They must find a way to ruin it for you and in effect, bring you down closer to being as miserable as they are (evening the score).

So after a phony congratulations (maybe), the narcissist becomes a concern troll.  Out of “concern” for you (and always for your own good), he or she just has to “warn” you about the dark  side of your good fortune (and if possible find a way to put you down too, or tell you why it doesn’t count).    So if you got a promotion, you’ll get a speech about how much harder you’ll have to work and how you’ll probably lose all your friends stil in lower positions.  Or you’ll be told why your promotion doesn’t really count because it’s one of those “honorary” titles or it’s really just a “lateral” move.   If your book just got accepted by a publisher, you’ll be told that publisher is a crook or their business is failing and you’ll never see your royalties; if you found out you’re pregnant they’ll tell you all about how horrible pregnancy is and about all the drudgery and loss of freedom you’ll be facing; if you won the lottery, they’ll trot out stories about people whose lives were ruined after winning the lottery or they’ll remind you that “you did nothing to earn it; it’s only chance–I could have won too!”

Of course, after you listen to the narcissist’s “advice,” your heart will feel heavy and your smile might have disappeared.    You might even be gnawing the sides of your fingernails in anxiety over all the things that could go wrong.  Checkmate!  The narcissist won and now he can feed off your new worries too.

A variation of “Wet Blanket” is actually the mirror-image of “Bug.” After you’ve shared your great news, the narcissist brings down your mood by telling you how terrible their own life is and how they never get any breaks at all. The intention is to make you feel guilty for having so much while they have so little.

Whether it’s guilt, shame or envy the narcissist is trying to induce in you doesn’t matter. They just can’t stand to see anyone happy and must take you down to their level or obliterate you like a bug if you’re already down.

A question that probably has no answer.

Belle-in-Beauty-and-the-Beast-disney-princess-25447780-1280-720
Beast transforming; Belle watches in astonishment/credit Disney Pictures 1991

I’m following a blog where the writer, who is a diagnosed NPD in therapy (I am not going to link the blog here), has been showing signs recently of his hard shell beginning to crack and unfamiliar emotions starting to break through his formerly impenetrable emotional wall.

It’s been happening over time, and in fits and starts. His last post expresses quite a lot of vulnerability and sadness for his lost self and the hurt he felt as a child. It made me feel like weeping, but in the good kind of way. If this blogger is being candid and honest, then his unfolding is a beautiful, painful, magnificent thing to behold.

But earlier posts by this writer have described the way he feeds off the emotional reactions of other people (the way all narcissists do). Whether the reactions are positive or negative don’t really matter; it’s the fact they are emotional reactions to him that feed him. The blogger also happens to be an extremely skilled writer. I could easily believe he may be merely manipulating his readers (many who are empaths) into falling for the epic drama of the Big Bad Narc transforming into a man with the ability to love and feel like a normal person. It’s the stuff of Hollywood. It would make a great 10-Kleenex movie.  He no doubt knows the effect such a thing would have; he could use his skill with the English language to write breathtaking, transformative passages and become the star of his own tear-jerker movie.

I must have watched the ending of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at least 20 times, and it still has the ability to make me sob like a little child.   It’s basically the story of a narcissist being healed by the love of another person, all dressed up in period costume and fairy dust and magic, and rendered suitable for children.   I can’t get enough of that damn sappy ending.  But I think that, for me, it’s symbolic of something much deeper going on.

Maybe I’m being (in Sam Vaknin’s words) a malignant optimist, or maybe I’m just a gullible fool, but I really, really want to believe the blogger isn’t manipulating his readers for narcissistic supply. I want to believe what he says he’s feeling is actually real. Nothing would move my soul more than witnessing a narcissist actually healing from his disorder. I’m a starry-eyed romantic INFJ and love this kind of stuff. I need to see that movie and believe it’s true. Maybe my obsession with narcissists being able to open their hearts again has to do with having narcissistic parents and having wanted so much to see it happen for them, but alas, my dreams were dashed.

Is there a way to know if this writer is telling the truth or just putting on an elaborate show for his readers in order to garner supply for himself? I suppose this is a rhetorical question since obviously no one can answer that. Only the narcissist himself can answer that, but there’s no way to know if his answer would be the truth or not.

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Further Reading:

Beauty and the Beast: A Metaphor for NPD