Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Acting Like It Didn't Happen

Acting like it didn't happen, and getting you to act like it didn't happen, is the most diabolical dirty trick in the narcissist's bag of dirty tricks.

If you don't, she will accuse you of "dredging up the past," which is a sin, you know, because you must "forgive and forget."

Even though the offender doesn't admit what she did. Let alone that it was wrong.

Neither does the offender show remorse. What for? since she neither admits that she did it nor that it was wrong. And if she isn't contrite, why should she refrain from doing it again?

Amend the damage she did? What damage? It didn't happen. Hey, even if she ruined your professional career by calumniating you all over town to paint a perfect picture of herself and call it you, she isn't required to repair any damage.

Does the offender offer you assurances that she will never do it again? Hah! Why SHOULD she?

Look again: She hasn't been required to admit what she did, let alone that anything she did was wrong. She isn't sorry/contrite. Quite the contrary: today she is happy as a lark, as though her rage yesterday relieved a bad case of constipation. She incurred no liability, so she pays no price (YOU pay the price for what she did) and isn't held accountable to make amends and repair the damages. So, why should the offender offer any guarantees that she won't do it again? Do WHAT again?

Bottom line: she did nothing wrong = she has every right to do it again. By forgiving the unforgivable, you gave her a carte blanche to.

And before holier-than-thous start regurgitating pious slogans and scripture at me, I challenge them to consult their own theologians on this matter. For, they agree with me 100%.

Notice what's missing there. All the elements of a thing called "repentance." It isn't strictly a religious term: it is just as essential in a secular context. (More on this here at the Main Site.) Without repentance on the part of the offender, there can be no reconciliation between the offender and offendee. A state of war/hostilities still exists, because the attacker attacked, and without assurances to the contrary, PRESUMABLY will attack again.

Hence the existing state of hostility.

What? You must treat someone you know is going to attack you as a friend? We TRUST friends. We must trust an enemy? You must tolerate an enemy in your home? You must be vulnerable to an enemy by allowing her into a close enough relationship with you so that she can get personal information about you? You must let her within arm's reach? You must let this predator near your children? Let's get real!

You are nuts if you don't keep that threat at bay and far away from you, deterring her by threatening hostile action in return if she ever crosses the line.

That's not only the only sane thing to do, it's in accordance with Natural Law, and it's your human right to self defense and self preservation and the pursuit of happiness.

Which just goes to show why honesty is the best policy, as the saying goes. By acting as if it didn't happen, you are acting out a lie. It DID happen. And you are not only lying about that, you are lying about the very nature of your relationship with the narcissist: you are portraying it as a friendly relationship when it is a hostile one, a predatory one in which you are the prey.

No sheep is stupid enough to associate with a wolf as though a state of peace exists between them, so why are people pressured to associate with a narcissistic abuser as though a state of peace exists between them? That's not only stupid and crazy, it's a lie in deed.

Why lie?

A forthright enemy, adversary, or opponent is respectable. A treacherous one = one who acts out a charade of being on friendly terms with you, is contemptible human sludge. This is the con artist, the snake in the grass, the parasite, the traitor = the malignant narcissist = the scum of the earth.

But Wait -- It's a Catch-22

Yes, though you MUST resist and refuse to act as though it didn't happen, you CAN'T. For, as I pointed out in my previous post, it's a Catch-22. Why? Because a narcissist FORCES you behave as she wants you to. To do this, she exploits the decency, goodwill, and humanity in you to FORCE you to act as if it didn't happen.

Time and time and time again. A thousand times, she erases yesterday's assault on you by forcing you act today as though it didn't happen.

How? By simply throwing a temper tantrum if you don't.

That's it. No brilliant grand strategy -- nothing but the old temper-tantrum tactic of a three-year old.

And it works. Because narcissists are three-year-olds and are relentless. They are weird people who don't mind fighting all the time. In fact, they enjoy fighting and therefore PICK fights. Fighting is a release for all that pent up rage inside.

Thus they bludgeon you into acting like it didn't happen by just throwing a fit if you don't. They NEVER quit insisting that you act out their charade for them. If you refuse to act like it didn't happen, they punish you by abusing you even worse. That's nothing but negative reinforcemnet, like we train a dog with. If you contradict their lies, they just repeat them one billion times to have the last word. They NEVER quit, because Narcissists are from Pluto and LIKE fighting: it's an opportunity for them to land blows on you.

They NEVER tire of it. To the contrary, they THRIVE on it. The narcissist is a three-year-old spoiled brat who will erupt into a temper tantrum the moment you depart from her script and fail to act like it didn't happen. That's the stick she herds you with.

She has a lifetime of practice at these temper tantrums. Like a three-year-old, she deliberately makes her temper tantrum as obnoxious as possible, so that you can't stand the sight and sound of it. She makes faces, becoming an obnoxious, loud, irrational, raging, orgre. To keep you from making a point, she emits a wall of Nimrodean nonsense to bounce everything you say right back in your face. To keep you from getting in a word edgewise, she emits a blast of noise to drown out your voice and shout you down. To revise history, she repeats her lie about yesterday one billion times if necessary, like a three-year-old, to get the last word. All these devices have but one end: to block your every attempt to communicate with her in order to REASON with her.

She thus behaves so repulsively during one of her fits that you will do ANYTHING to avoid being assaulted with the sights and sounds of one -- especially that wide-open maw of hers.

So, what are you going to do? Fight all the time? Fight every single day for the rest of your life? Or give in and let the brat have her way? We eventually do give in and just "act like it didn't happen" to have some peace. Why? Because, like every spoiled brat, she can carry on for an hour, whereas you are outraged and silenced in less than a minute. Because you can't bring yourself to stoop to such undignified behavior. Because YOU have some self respect. She doesn't.

So, what are you going to do? Fight all the time or give in and act like it didn't happen?

I don't know. All I know is that there is no such thing as peaceful co-existence with someone suffering from NPD. (Exception, another narcissist can get along with one. But that is a marriage of convenience between two people who fear each other, scorpions who form a mutual non-aggression pact.)

Some people have apparently managed to occupy a household with a narcissist by separating within it = by drawing the battle lines within it. Lines the narcissist dare not cross. They force her to leave them alone by showing that they have teeth and claws too, and won't hesitate to use them on her.

That may be the best choice in some cases. But, when at all possible, a better life is life free of the burden of the parasitic narcissist. She is a disease. It's better to cure a disease by getting rid of it than to merely control it. So, when possible, the solution is to kick the narcissist out of your life.

Don't feel guilty about this. In fact, this is the only thing you can do that MIGHT help her. It might bring on a narcissistic crisis and thus force her to face facts and seek psychiatric care.

But then again, it might not.

On the other hand, ENABLING the narcissist will surely lead to her only getting worse, never facing facts, and never seeking psychiatric care.

So, it's better to take a chance on action that might do the narcissist some good -- even if it's a long shot -- than to continue enabling her and thus ensure her doom.

SHE is responsible for what she is, not you. You can't fix her. In fact, as prey, you are the LAST people in the world who can have any good influence on her. That takes professionals, strangers, people she cannot hurt.

All you should feel morally obligated to do is nothing that encourages her to get worse. In other words, all you should feel morally obligated to do is to stop enabling her.

The rest is out of your hands.

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At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Acting Like It Didn't Happen:

On occasion, our family narcissist has irritated me to the point of raging back at him. He always skulks away like the frightened little child he is inside, but the next time I see him (family situation, so it happens), he comes up to me and starts joking around as if we are old friends continuing a friendly conversation that left off only minutes ago. I swear, sometimes it's like stepping into the screen and being trapped in one of those strange indie movies with the creepy, quirky characters.

The only thing I hate more than him acting like that is when he actually does offer a phony, self-serving apology for his behavior. It makes me feel like I need to stand with my back aganst the wall to protect from the invisible knife.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Louise said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Kathy K said...

Reminds me of a neighbor I had once who was downright dangerous. Had to screw down my courage and confront him right at the property line, hard as nails. I figured he'd convince himself he won and go off looking for easy prey, and he did. That's pretty bad when an N has everybody either so intimidated or so fooled that this all you can do, but you have to make sure you aren't the one they regard as easy prey. In fact, I was only he never bothered after that.

Nerve-wracking though. because you never know when they're just gonna blow.

At 6:32 PM, Blogger Louise said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Kathy K said...

Yes, I can certainly do that. I think the dates will be a big help. Because the trick is to find them all. I do keep email copies of posted comments. The search function should work too, so long as the entire blog has been crawled by Google (so that's not a flawless way to find and to eliminate all your comments.) I will think about the best and quickest way while aiting for email with the dates.

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Wayness said...

I enjoyed this post a lot. It's so validating to know that other people see the same things, especially after existing in the funhouse's room of crazy mirrors.

But one thing I didn't see addressed and something I mentioned to gh in my previous comment was not just the temper tantrums as such, but that the subject matter of temper tantrums are all about personally attacking YOU and how hateful and horrible you are, and the N accuses you of all sorts of evil and vice and general badness.

I guess if it didn't happen to me throughout my childhood and on up through adulthood interactions, giving me a major complex, I might find it too absurd to credit. But it did happen and I bought it. And I'm really pissed off. Mainly I'm pissed off at all the work I have to do now to overcome the ways I've been taught to sabotage, undermine and generally denigrate myself. And part of me still can't quite believe that my parent could be so inimical. But he is. But I still can't quite get my head around it.

On that note, I'm looking for resources for adults on how to overcome the limitations of once-functional survival strategies that become serious limitations after leaving the N's environment. I've looked at all the links Kathy has posted and I welcome any further suggestions.

At 11:57 AM, Anonymous GH said...

I found "Trapped in the Mirror" by Elan Golomb an insightful resource for adult children of narcissists. She gives some good examples of what the narcissistic environment looks like growing up and some thoughtful bits about the characteristic ways kids learn to cope and how those strategies for coping become counterproductive in "normal" environs.

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides that lack of remorse, what's also interesting -- and I think is the other side of the same coin -- is how long Ns hold onto grudges, even ones based imaginary slights. The same N who tells you to "get over it" for real grievous injury he has inflicted on you, will dwell (sometimes for years) on trivial injuries he thinks were done to him.

I knew one who was so malicious that he delighted that a woman whom he thought had once slighted him gave birth many years later to a special needs child. This guy never accomplished a thing in his life -- his own business and marriage failed, and he never had children. Yet, you could see the malignant delight in his eyes when he found out that this poor sweet woman was suffering such an awful misfortune (I think he imagined he had caused it somehow). He actually made jokes about it.

But, at the same time, this guy dwells on things kids said to him way back in grade school that hurt his feelings. He rages that he wasn't given his full measure of glory in college. And, he obsesses (and has for years) about a particular former friend whom he heard once made a less-than-adoring remark about the N's terrible business acumen.

You may need to “get over it” -- but the N never will.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Not only do they hold a grudge, but they will also recreate the events! And spread THEIR version to any audience they can find, especially if it makes their victim look bad. They don't care if it's an out-and-out lie; the goal is "divide and conquer".

At 7:10 PM, Anonymous GH said...

And God forbid they should figure out who in your life is supportive -- because darned if that's not the first place they'll go to try to soil your good image.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Louise said...

SO true, GH- they will either damage you in the other party's eyes, or if the other party can't be swayed, discredit THEM! It can have a dominoes effect within a family.

And the N? Sits back and enjoys the turmoil they caused.

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, my lovely and Intelligent Women! Being one myself, may I quote Nick Nolte (a prophet LOL) in "Price of Tides" (OY!):
"What am I gonna do with all you smart women?"
Here's fun:
The planet itself cannot sustain these morons anymore. Dig?
I have for the most part sharing my thoughts here sat on my unequivocal belief that "victims" of narcissists have in fact been carefully selected at a SOUL level to overcome the EVERYTHING (and to TRY everything compassionate imaginable before taking off your halo and pulling out your pitchfork dealing with these predators) in order to clear biological karma imprinted in YOUR cells in order to embody the NEW biology (the spiralling of one's THIRD strand of DNA...googgle if you like!)...
...get this, beautifuls: THESE FREAKS DAYS ARE NUMBERED. In time in your lives and mine, you WILL hear about their ruin, these narcissists. Guaranteed.
What I of course still struggle with is how happy that makes me sometimes. I went through hell because of these dingbats.
"What's the difference between a narcissist and a piece of s***?
"The cigarette."

At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find this painfully truthful. Everything said. I just found out that I have been with a Narcissist for over 10 years. I just slowly, over time thought that I was losing my mind. It wasn't until I had my third child with this man & went to my Dr. thinking I was horribly depressed that she began probing me about how my life was. I am still married to this man, I still live with this man. Literally 2 weeks ago is when this came into the light. It's all really new to me. I am trying to retrieve as much info about it as I can. This websight has been so very helpful. I hope to learn more about this.

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

20 years layer...three children, debts and pain. four separations knowing something was wrong and he would work harder than ever to get me back... I went back hoping to salvage some sense of family for my kids. I have a degree, beautiful friends and family and now after the umpteenth betrayal and lies that have finally come to the surface, I am free. But i have read and re read everything I could get my hands on about NPD and in time I will get past the pain of it all. I would like to add I have one of his ex lovers to thank for turning on the light for me... from all he had told her about me and she met me by accident and realised it was all a lie.. she then told me how he used and abused her... how vile his behaviour was. She then said the magic word... Narcissism. Now I am here putting the pieces of my life back together. Despite the heartache... his latest betrayal gave me my freedom and the universe plucked me out of my hell by allowing me to catch him out. For once he didn't cover his tracks well enough.
Peace comes but it takes a long long time.
My heart goes out to you all.
Stay with the process of healing and recovery.

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It floors me how this is so accurate,and you don't even know the N who has affected me.
This N did horrible things(psychological torture)to me many years ago.She was dating my former boyfriend at the time.Years later,I saw her,and made pleasant small talk with her,but also wanted her to know that I have a family now and hoped that there would be no problems,if we run into one another around town.
"Oh,no that was so long ago,and I'm so happy now" she said.Total denial of her horrible behavior,and no apology,either.
Long story short...She over the course of several months she told lies about me,and tried to have me barred from public events that I attended,in which she was also attended.I had to get a lawyer to have this behavior stopped.
The lies she told about me,and the way she painted me were almost exactly equal to her sadistic behavior years ago.I made the mistake of giving her the benefit of the doubt when I spoke to her after many years.
As ridiculous as it seems I'm so worried about the influence her lies have had on others.I can only hope most who hear these things about me will peg her for the N she is.Any thoughts? Thanks.


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