If you have read about narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder you will have read that one way to deal with narcissism in your life is through no contact or low contact. In some cases this can be a lot simpler but in others it may involve a family member. If you have decided to not have contact with this person then the next question becomes do they come back into your life? The answer for me, unfortunately, is YES.
I have gone no contact with my mother and low contact with my friend, Marian. Cutting out my mother was difficult and Marian was a friend for about one and half years when I cut her out. Both have tried to resurface into my life. And not in a normal way but in a manipulative way…very, very manipulative. Never once have the two asked me why I cut them out or what is wrong or if they did anything wrong…somehow I hope that this happens with my Mom but I know that the reality is that it won’t. However, the manner in which they resurface is weird.
Marian has just tried to resurface into my life this week (7 feb 2011). In June of 2010 I began low contact with Marian - I stopped carpooling with her to work, having lunch breaks with her at work, and stopped emailing/talking to her. I had not removed her as a friend on Facebook yet because we were still colleagues and having read about narcissism I decided against the removal from Facebook because it might set off her anger (rage). During this time of low contact I had moved to the city about 30 minutes from the village that Marian lived in. I was excited to be out of the village where you are assured to run into someone you know on the street. By the end of 2010 I had left the company and I had then decided to remove her from Facebook.
Since June 2010 Marian has made 3 come-back attempts and we did see each other through a mutual friend (I call it the low contact lapse) – so in total 3 come-backs and 1 lapse (in my judgement):
1. After 4 months since low contact from me began: She stops me in the hallway at work and says to me (as I am trying to walk faster than her to get away from her) – ‘I heard you moved.’ And as I picked up my already fast pace I responded, ‘Yes, that’ s right.’. Walked away.
2. After 5 months since low contact from me began: The day it was announced at the company that I was leaving I get an email from Marian saying: I heard you moved and that she wished me luck. I simply wrote back ‘Thanks’.
3. After 8 months since low contact from me began: Through a mutual friend she proposed all of us getting together (which I was not on copy on this email). The mutual friend, Lois, sent an email to us saying that Marian had suggested we get together. I did not respond to this email at all due to my last lapse.
My lapse: After 2 months of me initiating low contact I felt bad because I felt that I was being mean to someone. And I haven’t really ever treated a friend like that before. So through our mutual friend, Lois, we went on a shopping trip together. Marian never once mentioned the fact that we hadn’t spoken to each other in 2 months. Throughout the day she insulted the things I like to do and ignored me whenever I told a story. It felt like she was punishing me for not giving her narcissistic supply for the last 2 months. She even tried to use me (because I was driving) to go get her lamps that she ordered that had just come in…it didn’t happen. And of course she has to show us her house (although I had been there several times) but this time she wanted to show off her new dining room table. She never once asked me how I was doing even though I had asked her. She was punishing me. And from all her behaviors I decided that I had made a bad lapse in judgement…that you can’t just have a normal friendship with someone who behaves like this.
What was manipulative?
Attempt 1 – She acted like nothing had changed when in fact my behaviours had.
Attempt 2 – She contacted me to feel good about herself; I was leaving the company without going to another job (my work permit expired) so I had to leave my current job and find another one in the country I currently reside in.
Attempt 3 – She is probably looking for some supply to feel better about herself through the fact that I am jobless and that maybe my new place sucks.
Narcissists come back when they need you to feel better about themselves, they come back for the supply. It is not over yet with Marian.