Saturday, April 22, 2006

Be yourself, not what the narcissist tries to make you.

I use quotations on my tennis Website, which is huge. So I was scrounging around the Web for more today when I found one for readers of this blog. When you live or work with with a narcissist, he or she is trying to make you what they say you are. By Projective Identification.

So, these words by Ralph Waldo Emerson are relevant:

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

For, that narcissist will try to make himself your whole world.

And, behind your back, he will paint his lying portrait of you in the eyes of everyone you know. He will do it insidiously, prefacing slander with "I don't want to sound, but...." or "I don't want to seem, but...." to deny that he's doing what he is, in fact, doing = vandalizing your image. He will perfume his rotten offering of calumny with the incense of "concern" or pity for you, just enough to cover the stink and come out smelling like a rose. He will make light of this weighty matter of character assassination.

He is an expert at it, because he has been practicing it, and living by it, since he was seven, eight, or nine years old. By the time others realize that he may not be credible, they are embarrassed about having played the fool.

But that doesn't wise them up. To the contrary! Like everyone suckered by a con artist, they refuse to face facts. They're too proud to admit that they fell for such garbage.

Why? Because they had to unknow everything they knew firsthand about you in order to believe the narcissist's lies, which obliterate every one of your virtues, replacing it with the blemish of one of his vices. As a result, the accusations are preposterous -- a joke -- and anyone who knows you should see that.

But way too many people eagerly gobble up slander about others, no matter how preposterous it is. Because it gives them a warm, fuzzy self-righteous feeling inside. At somone else's reputation's expense. To fall for slander and calumny, all they have to do is unknow whatever facts they know about you and your past conduct that would disprove the slander.

It's amazing how fast people can erase their their memory of anything they don't want to know. So, though they've known you for years, suddenly overnight they don't know you at all. You might as well be a stranger. Then anything anyone says about you could be true, as far as they know.

They know that in believing the narcissist's slander they acted in ill will and did you wrong. Bob Dylan was wrong when he sang that people do whatever they want and then just repent as though that's a "get-out-of-jail-free" card. People never repent unless they absolutely have to. They would rather die than repent. They prefer to unknow what they did and that it was wrong.

So, when the narcissist's lies about you get so outrageous that nobody in their right mind should believe them, people prefer to let him him keep cramming them down their throats to admitting that he's a sick-in-the-head character assassin that they were fools to EVER believe.

That makes them firmly believe the known lies, as if in a willful and wanton effort to make them be true. No matter how preposterous and unbelievable they become. And to protect their own reputations, they want everyone else to believe them too, so they start slandering you themselves. At that point, they're virtual conspirators of his. You'll never be able to do anything right in their eyes.

Painful. But that's the unvarnished truth about the human race. Taboo to acknowledge, but I just did anyway.

Kick the dirt of that corrupted community from your feet. Someday, in a cloud of dust, Clint Eastwood will come riding into Hell and punish that town, but till then justice delayed is justice denied. Meanwhile, remember that truth is determined by reality, not a vote. And remember Emerson's words:

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

It's also a matter of survival, as Prince Hamlet, who was in the same predicament put it:

To be, or not to be, that is the question.

Choose to BE. Otherwise YOU cease to exist, replaced by a figment of the narcissist's imagination.
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At 8:38 AM, Blogger Not Available said...

This entry touched me very deeply. Believing in oneself post abuse is a slow, one-step-forward-two-back enterprise; the very fabric of everything lovely I ever was torn must cultivate an ironclad faith in God (or Higher Power if you prefer)in my opinion in order to fully manifest the potential of one's soul again, when the narcissist(s) literally take your connection to it from you. In a small way I am grateful for my experiences because getting in touch with one's own capacity for darkness and its itinerant seething, libidinous desire for justice has ironically made me into a more balanced human being than I ever knew I could be. In its way, narcissistic abuse asks a person to examine, to really, really examine what they stand for and what they will NOT stand for.
Being careful not to lapse into hero worship, Kathi, thanks again. Your work brings me to tears of gratitude. Please continue to be an angel for many.

At 6:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy said, "that didn't sound like you", to me, but he was so convincing. The father of my children. He and his mother even slandered me to my children. I would always tell myself "I know the truth about me". Looking back on life, I realize I've been surrounded by narcissistic's all my life. Image is everything, to them. I wonder what my defect of character was (or is) that draws them into my life.

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Kathy K said...


It isn't you. Growing up among narcissists does make a person sensitive to criticism and tend to blame themselves for others getting mad at them. This marks you as "easy prey" for narcissists, because you are easily wounded.

But that's no flaw in your character to be ashamed of. Not that you don't wish to unlearn the blame-yourself-for-other-people's behavior gig. Ditch it.

It isn't YOU. They are the ones there's something wrong with. They'd do it to anyone who happens to be there. And like every bully they look for people who aren't likely to smack in the kisser for it. That's all.

At 3:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just removed myself from a relationship with a woman I believe to be a narcissist. She gave me a hint early on, had a name for all her "X's". One was a "heifer", the other "fruitloop" I realized trouble when I was called "miss prim and proper"

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Growing up with a NPD mother and NPD younger brother left me ultra sensitive and fearful. Trust issues abound but through 3 years of therapy and other 12 step recovery, I have been able to create a life for myself, however I am still that wounded little girl inside learning to parent my self. It still astounds me that I can still allow my narcissistic mother to get under my skin with all I have gone through and all the knowledge that I have about narcissism. She controlled me through guilt and pretended that she was the victim with this "sweet" false personality she created in other people's eyes!

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband is narcissistic, always has been, I just didn't know what it was. He's always been terrible to my son and me, but just the opposite with his mother, sisters, and daughter from another relationship he had.
What is it about us that he despises so? I'm gaining so much information from this blog and others, but that is still so confusing to me.
Any comments.

Thanks for Cathy and this blog, we are not alone.


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