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.
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.