Saturday, November 10, 2007

Let's Play Pretend

Let's pretend (I love those words) that we are children again. We're being Superboy or Supergirl, pretending that we can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Then some other kid comes up and asks, "What are you doing?"

You reply, "I'm leaping a tall building in a single bound. See?"

Then he says, "That isn't a tall building. That's nothing but a stick lying on the ground."

What's going to happen? You know, don't you? You are going to get angry with him. But why?

Is it because you care what he thinks?

No, what he thinks won't even cross your mind. By that I mean that what he thinks isn't even a consideration. Shakespeare would be as likely to wonder what Hamlet thinks of the line Shakespeare is writing for him.

No, what makes you angry with your little playmate is the fact that he is reminding you that you are just pretending. He is reminding you that your fantasy isn't true. He intrudes on it with reality, making it hard for you to maintain the fantasy that you are leaping a tall building with a single bound.

In other words, he spoils all your fun.

That's what makes you mad. That's what makes you stomp your little foot at him and try to make him stop it. He is threatening your delusion of grandeur.

Now turn the clock ahead. You have grown up, but no narcissist has. You don't need imaginary friends and imaginary superpowers anymore. But every narcissist does.

He or she plays the role of you in this story: they get mad at anyone not playing along with their fantasy, with anyone who reminds the IN ANY WAY that it isn't true. They go off at anyone threatening their delusions of grandeur by not following their script in a lifelong game of Pretend.

This explains the mind-boggling fact of them punishing every good deed you do for them! By coming to their aid, you have reminded them that they are not Superman or Superwoman, so look out. You are challenging the existence of their imaginary self -- a god towering above us all, a god who could never be brought so low as to need the help of anyone.

Hence, by helping a narcissist, you humiliate him or her. Doubt that? Then just wait and see the payback you get.

They hate you for reminding them that they have feet of clay. You have seen them weak and in need of your assistance, so you aren't going to be in awe of them anymore, are you? You will gain some self confidence from the event.

They hate you far more for that than they appreciate whatever you did for them, even if it saved their life and even if it was at great sacrifice to you!

In other words, the more they should love you for it, the more they hate your for it.

There is a French author (whose name I cannot recall) who describes malignant narcissists as, above all, perverse, perverted. I think she is exactly right.

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At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dead On, point well taken. I loaned my N brother money to help pay for his attorney when he was going thru his divorce.I told him to pay me back as he was able to. Years later in an argument with him he said "You always have to throw it back in my face that you loaned me $1500 when I getting divorced".This is a common phrase he uses "Throw it back in his face". Only thing is I never even brought it up. And I didn't loan him $1500, it was $800.
But I came away from that exchange by 1) questioning myself "did I really ever say anything to him about the loan?"(I didn't) and 2)I realized he actually resented the fact that I helped him when he was in need. How bizarre.
Kathy you are absolutely right they hate you for your kindness.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Stormchild said...

It's about hating you for any reason they can manufacture. If you help when they ask, they hate you for 'making them feel' helpless. If you refuse to help because you've seen that movie before, or genuinely can't spare whatever they're demanding, then they'll hate you for 'being selfish', or whatever excuse they can concoct.

The bottom line is it's about hating you much, much more than it is about anything else. If you're going to help them, you must count on virulent ingratitude, and never expect anything to be returned or repaid.

Makes much more sense to hold onto the good things you have and use them to help decent people, but it can take decades to figure that out, and often more decades to stop feeling guilty about it.

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stormchilds last paragraph is such a punch in the gut because it it so true. You can go on for decades (I did) trying reach the N"s better self, (there is none) and even longer being angry at yourself for being so foolish for trying. Excellent post.

At 5:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post was so perfectly right and concise!!

Their storyline HAS to be in line with the "image" and in that image they are NOT EVER the bad, wrong or down right evil thing they really are or have done.

You will have every trick in the book used on you to get you to go along with that story and re writing of your own history!! Stolen from, you're still the bad guy, abused in every possible way? Well, you are still in the wrong! They spew their own wrongs and ALL the bad feelings back on to you...then they get right back to play acting. Satisfied it was your fault. And the bystanders reassure them that it was. They've drunk the kool aid and are in the N's play party.

Every normal human flaw of yours will be used as evidence against you to PROVE it was all you and not the N. Nevermind that what they do is a kind of abuse and betrayal the normal person can't even conceive of. So you get abused, and you are at fault, the N says so! That's all there is to it, and the little game can go on for them.


At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes kathy- that pretty much wraps it up. i laughed out loud at first reading this post- but turned very sober very quickly. and at the end said out loud "wow". NO ONE in my life will ever understand this- about my husband. (which is probably part of the playbill as well) and i am nearing the point of not wanting or needing to even explain why. i am embarrassed at our eventual break up because no one will understand--but i know it is just a matter of time. lonely as all hell--sadder than what ive ever coped with so far-- but never turning back. damage done. no desire left for more. this sight keeps me educated and strong enough to deal with the anger, sorrow and frustration. keep tellin' it like it is ! jt

At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been lurking here for over a year and I just had to comment. The final insult with my ex-n came when he told me that I was sexually and physically abused as a child because I enticed my abuser to abuse me. Later on when I told him he was the most abusive mf I had ever met, he tried to force me to say he was not abusive or he said he would never talk to me again. lol. I said good riddens.

At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy, I read three books from a French author about malignant narcissists describing them as perverse/perverted - maybe you mean Marie-France Hirigoyen ?
It was the very first time I got helpful information about what I had been struggling so hard to understand for years and about which I couldn´t find any help - I had not yet access to internet at that time and therapists I went to asking for help didn´t help me at all - they were convinced, that I was not traumatized but that everything was my own fault, guilt and disorder.

Kathy, thanks a lot for this helpful and precious blog!


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