Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Narcissist's Strange Relationships

A narcissist's strange relationship with himself has many ramifications for his relationship to others, which is just as warped.

He relates to himself as a fictional character. He also authors the story.

Everyone has a personal narrative, but a narcissist's gives new meaning to the term.

He relates to you as but a character, not a real person.

Now, imagine you're a novelist writing away, and some character comes out on the page telling you that, no, the story doesn't go this way: it goes that way.

Bizarre, eh? Well, in a way, that's what you are doing when you contradict the narcissist's fantasy. He has utter, utter contempt for reality and truth. He is the creator of his own universe, which he makes up on the fly.

No exaggeration.

He is like a little child playing Pretend with her friends. She wants to author the story, and her little friends must just play along. She will stamp her foot and yell at a playmate who doesn't like the role she's assigned him and cry, "NO! You're not supposed to that! You're supposed to do this!"

Narcissists don't dare admit that this is what they're up to with their pathological lying. Probably they repress consciousness of it themselves. But this is what they're doing when they tell you bizarre lies that they (should) know you couldn't possibly believe.

They don't want you to BELIEVE it. They just want you to play along. They just want you act as though it's true. They want you not to contradict their fantasy. For, you make it hard for them to maintain their delusions when you don't play along.

That's all they want.

You are nothing but a bit character in a story all about them.

Characters aren't persons. Characters aren't human beings with minds and thoughts and feelings. They are figments. Ask any narcissist what they think you think. They will gape at you as if the question doesn't make sense. You might as well ask him what his screw driver thinks.

One might as well have asked Shakespeare what he thought Hamlet thinks about the play.

Hamlet ain't a person. He's just a character. A caricature. A piece on the author's chess board.

And so are you in the smoke and mirrors of a narcissist's world, which is the Twilight Zone.

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At 6:03 PM, Anonymous Yorick said...

Long personal story, but this entry really stuck a chord with me Kathy.

I have lived through a narcissist's attempt to write me (literally) into one of their life 'stories'.

This was way back in my senior year of high school, and the N in question dreamed of being an authoress. She began to write this storybook in which she projected herself/her personality onto this character that was technically "perfect". She named the character 'O'Bray'. 'O'Bray' lived in a mansion, was the most attractive and popular girl in the school, could easily nab any guy she wanted to, was currently dating the most popular and handsome boy in the school, and effortlessly topped every class exam without even studying. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the N wished that her actual life could be like this, but (suffice it to say) her day-to-day existence deviated quite significantly from the 'script'.

So the N introduced her three closest friends (including myself) to the book, and told us that we could each take turns writing ourselves as characters (all under similar nom-de-plumes and with similar flourishes of grandiosity, I guess). The N told us that the story would be "unplanned". She gave us free license to "make it up as we went along". So I sat down to write my chapter along similar lines.

I couldn't do it. I felt sick to my stomach. I had been through quite a lot in my life by that age, and it felt so odd to actually even attempt to deny my own reality through such a sick and unreal fantasy. It creeped me out, big time.

That was my first serious 'red flag' about the N in question. At the time I knew that there had to be something very VERY wrong with her on a personality level if she was capable of projecting her life into this complete BS fantasy (and not only that, but to get her best friends to validate what she was doing via their participation).

I submitted my story to the N - and would you believe it - she gave it back to me and told me to "rewrite" it! I asked her why - I mean, if this was the great 'unplanned' script, why shouldn't she just accept it and build her next chapter off what I had written? Do you know what she told me to do? She said “I don't like the conversation your character had with my boyfriend. Change it. He wouldn't ever pay attention to you. He's only interested in me."

Yeah, great unplanned story my arse. It was only OK if the story conformed to HER plan.

I told the N that I wouldn't have a bar of it, and stopped participating in the book from then on. N and her hapless minions start treating me like I have leprosy. About five months after the book starts the N tells me that I have been appalling to her and that she not only doesn't want to be my friend, but that she never wants to see me again.

I asked her for an explanation and she sent two minions in her stead to give it - and one of their excuses was that I refused to participate in the book.

This story only made sense to me after I read that entry, Kathy. I didn't fit into the N's master plan. I refused to project myself as a person and as a character into a storybook that the N could manipulate and control. So I guess that rendered me useless and disposable to the N, huh?

I haven't told anyone that story until now because it's such a ridiculous story. A lot of people wondered our friendship disintegrated so quickly and I've never really elaborated on this reason (and the many other specious reasons) because I've been seriously afraid that no-one would believe me. I have a few more hundred stories about this N and what she put her best friends through. Ironically I suppose those incidents could fill a storybook of their own!

Thanks for letting me vent.

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Yorick, thanks for the story. I found it really interesting. It reminded me of an N I know who had similar sudden and falling outs with some friend every so often. Sooner or later it always happens - going all the way back to grade school. And I bet it's always over something like this - some refusal to play along with the fantasy.

Actually writing the fantasy down in a book. That's like actually practicing faces in a mirror. When they go that far, it shows how far off they are. Almost scary.

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

PS - If you don't supply what they want, they drop you in two seconds flat. That proves that they have no feelings for others whatsoever. Girls at that age normally have strong affection for their friends and don't usually break up over anything but a boy - but not an N. The moment you are useless to her, you might as well be a broken screw driver.

At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know an N who is a writer - and IS writing "his very interesting life story" - of course the twisted time lines, lies about reality, etc are enough to make you puke.

He's convinced everyone he's the victim... everyone but me that is.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

On a similar note, you may be interested in what Joanna Ashmun has to say about the writer John Cheever and his journals.

At 8:34 AM, Blogger Lynn said...

Patricia Evans in her 2 books "Controlling People" and "The Verbally Abusive Man. Can He Change" Covers this aspect of abusive people very well.

She talks, just as you have Kathy, about the fictional character in the play that is the N's life stands out and doesn't follow the script, and his reactions to her if she does this.

This post covers a myriad of issues, including the N not knowing who his authentic self is, projection onto his partner and it explains why the abuser (N) gets angry when the script isn't followed.

Deep, weird stuff that had my skin crawling, to think that I'm a character in my N partners life that he continues to script. Made me go all goose bumpy.

Anyway, didn't endear me to him any, but it did explain a lot of stuff about the way they think and act.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Di said...

Thanks Lynn - I didn't know about the second book you mentioned, though I have read 'Controlling People' by the same author, which has a whole chapter about the 'script' which these people write about their lives and yours, and explains a lot about why they act the way they do.


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