Let the N just B

I’ve spent most of 2011 practicing ‘just letting people be’.  Joyful Alive Woman writes a great post about this subject (click here).  She refers to Maya Angelou in her post…

So… when people show you who they are, believe them. It saves a lot of time and aggravation.

Thank you, Joyful Alive Woman!  Through just listening and not reacting (and fighting my natural learned tendencies) I discovered that I was able to see who was an N.  From just ‘letting’ I ‘spotted’ 2 new people in my life as Ns.  I cautiously proceeded with my interactions with them before drawing anything definitive from it.  Another great blogger, Kathy Krajco (RIP), said that she has learned how to spot Ns and she moves cautiously with them without pre-judging.  I also took this with me as I ‘let’ 2 new people (both females) into my life this year.

One of the things I discovered is that I was able to ‘spot’ the N immediately and move cautiously…this saved me a lot of aggravation.  Here is a list of what I discovered about myself and when I was first getting to know a potential N.  Have you noticed other early warning signs?

How to Spot an N….Immediately: the early warning signs

  1. The first impression is great! My first few encounters with them gave me a great first impression!  I liked them right way!
    1. My natural tendency is to be attracted to Ns.  That is what is comfortable to me so it makes sense that I am naturally attracted to them.  Now, I put it to good use!
  2. Makes a negative out of nothing. I’ve noticed this in all my females Ns…they take a fact (it isn’t positive or negative) and make it a negative for you…when in fact it can easily be a positive.
    1. One of them said to me (upon learning that I was an only child)…‘doesn’t it suck to be an only child, you don’t have that personal connection with someone…that special bond.’
    2. The other one said to me (she is a co-worker): ‘do you like that sort of work on that project, I wouldn’t want to do that project.’
  3. Hiding comparisons in empathetic/sympathetic statements. Ns love making comparisons, especially if it makes them look and feel good about themselves.  But often, the comparisons they make at the beginning of a ‘friendship’ can be masked.  They wouldn’t want to alert you too soon to their Nness!
    1. One N said to us about their other 2 friends: ‘E & J are not used to all this (sympathy), we are able to do all this walking around, I guess, because we have kids.’
  4. Creates an image for you. Ns love creating their image the most, they love creating images of others, the second most.  My pre-Ns made assumptions about me without any facts.  Nobody told them this information but they assumed things about me.
    1. One of the pre-Ns stopped a conversation when a friend of mine said something about me (which was positive)…she turned to me and said…’oh, I thought you….’.  She assumed and was hit with reality…that her reaction was to stop the conversation to get clarification that this actually happened.  How messed up is that?
  5. Saying Thank You (over, over and over again).  One of the things I noticed that the 2 ‘new’ Ns kept pointing out things they were being helpful in and my natural way of responding was to say ‘Thank You’.  The pre-N at work (working on a project with her) kept telling me all the things she was doing and she ‘played’ it off like she was doing me tons of favors.  I noticed that every time I saw her I was saying ‘Thank You’.  And later into the project, she was actually not helping but stating things to make it seem like what she was doing was helpful or so generous.  
    1. Saying Thank you is important but NOT when there is nothing to actually THANK.    The way the N can communicate is to ‘paint’ you a picture of their helpfulness or generosity but in the end it didn’t help (and may have actually hindered) and the generosity came at a price.  
  6. Communications with others.  Since the Ns were new in my life I was usually around others and never really alone with them.  So, I became more of an observer than a participant.  Digital communication started up with one of them (Facebook).  And from the communications with others and with me I could sit back and let them be.  I started to see the lack of interest in what other’s had to say and how their communication seemed to more information seeking then out of a genuine concern for other’s well being.

This list is based on my personality and may not hold true in a lot of situations.  Seeing a pattern helped me understand myself and my natural tendencies…this helped me hold back, hold judgement before putting any energy into a new ‘friendship’.  After more time with them I did come to realize that these 2 were in fact Ns.  The early warning signs did help me and save me from a lot of grief in the future.

Does anyone know of other warning signs you have noticed when first getting to know a potential N?

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11 thoughts on “Let the N just B

  1. I love your list of ways to spot a Narcissist. I’d like to do something similar – you’ve really stimulated my mind with this post.

    I never noticed that “Thank You” thing: that the Narcissist gets you to thank them a lot. Very perceptive, now that I think about it my N was *extremely* into ‘please’ and ‘thank you’s and instilled in me a sense of duty to say them, more than once.

    Great post. Off to read Joyful Alive as well…

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    • Hi PWC,

      Thank you. It is weird how they instill that in you…it is like they have some sort of mastery of the language…how they can spin words to get a certain reaction.

      See ya on your blog!

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  2. (Forgot to contribute a warning sign: they run ‘hot’ and ‘cold’. They make you feel good and the next time you see them they withhold. I think Ns get a real kick out of this, and they also find that it gets people to work *harder* to please them. And it’s not just Ns – toxic people in general do this as a way to emotionally manipulate people, even if they’re not aware they’re doing it.)

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  3. I notice in hindsight that it was all about attention for my N. I thought my ex really liked me and I loved how he bragged about me and stuff like that, but now I realise it was about the attention it got him rather than me at all. He was very charming at first, became the man I wanted to be, then it all changed.

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      • Thanks, its amazingly helpful to hear comments from people who understand. I think another thing that is just so unbelieveable is the lack of empathy. I had a mental breakdown where I blacked out and have no memory of a couple of hours of my life. And it was made into this terrible ordeal for HIM not me. He was the victim. He will always be the victim. I ended up the next day in a city on the other side of the world by myself, whilst he hung out with his friends, he sad thing is i spent weeks making it up to him and thanking and comforting him, for my own mental breakdown. it generally scares me now how much he brainwashed me.

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  4. This really hit home for me. I have recently came to the realization that my mother is a narcissist. It has been helpful to pick up a few books and to stumble across blogs like yours to help me to better identify and respond to her behavior. This also gets me to thinking about new people that may come into my life and being just as aware of their behaviors and possible “Nness,” as you’ve stated. I’m wondering if I might even have a social attraction to Ns as well; if my relationship with my N mother had predisposed me to be drawn to the personality type. Thank you for this post!

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    • Hi Resilient Brilliance,
      When I read some of your stories, I could relate, I did not come from a family of alcoholism, however, in some situations where there is substance abuse the dysfunctionality of the family operates like what I grew up with. I’m glad you have started writing your story and found blogs to help. I have others on the sidebar that I check-in with it and many share stories of dysfunctionality (either during their childhood or past relationships).

      This was the hard part to stomach, still is – the attraction to similar personality types like my mother. It is a consequence of not growing up with healthy boundaries and healthy ways to live and communicate with each other. I read that we tend to shy away from others who communicate differently than our family of origin. I’m glad to find this post helpful. xxTR

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  5. I like your list and have noticed some of those same things but never realized them before. I am struggling with the loss of some friendships that have affected not only me but my husband and kids too (each had friends with members of the other family). I was looking for some help and stumbled on your blog. I now see that one friend is an N, who loves to have whatever I do, especially other friends that she thinks are “worthy”. Now, for the second time, she has inserted herself (and her family) into a close friendship we had with another family, to the point we never see this other family anymore. A family we introduced her to and included in many gatherings. She then started planning things with them, leaving us out. My husband noticed it happening and said “she is doing with A just what she did with B.” as this had happened a few years prior too. I never really saw it (or wanted to) until then. Even my kids started to notice what was going on – they were young teens.
    She is the type to really pour it on when she wants to sway someone to her “side” and can be very engaging, persuasive, sweet and nice. And I think many people can’t see beyond this, as who doesn’t want to be wanted and needed and treated special!
    The “thank you” item leaps out at me as she will do lots of “extra” things for you – that are often beyond the norm and over the top – just to hear the praise and gratitude from other people. She will also let you know, over and over, how she handled this situation or that person and now the rest of us are benefitting from it. This can be something she did yesterday or something from 4 years ago, yet you are expected to be grateful none the less. And if you aren’t, then you just look bad.
    One of the hardest parts has not been just the loss of her friendship, but that she took over the person who was my closest friend – and the friend just let it happen. This friend was not what I would call a narcissist and had observed some of what the N “friend” would do to me. It hurts more than I care to admit as it sounds so junior high. I’ve had nothing to deal with near to what you have with your mother so it makes me feel a bit silly. But I have to admit that this has left me quite lonely and there is a bit of a hole in my life.
    I can handle it, but when she planned a surprise adult birthday party for her husband, and then proceeded to invite the children of the two families we had introduced them to, yet left ours out, we were dumbfounded. I could hardly wait to leave. We decided not to tell our kids, but they found out anyway (they put a few things together and guessed). It hurt them too. I just keep wondering how someone could do this as I would never treat a friend this way. But now that I’ve read a good portion of your blog, I get it. Doesn’t make it easier, but I get it.
    Thank you for letting us know that we aren’t alone in what we’ve been through. It seems situations like this aren’t just confined to junior high girls, but can happen at any age and stage of life.

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