The Physics of Narcissism

Some patterns emerged over the summer that made me think of Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion: to every action there is always and equal and opposite reaction.  I was never particularily good at physics and so I looked it up and found that physics is one of the oldest sciences.  I also found that Newton said some stuff that although he was referring to the study of matter and nature that some of it could be applied to human interactions, not only to the interactions of objects.

For each behaviour of a narcissist an equal and opposite behaviour is expected (and manipulated) from others

Many of the patterns I saw in how my family and friends were behaving became clearer the more silent I was.  Silence revealed their behaviours and exposed the truth (see post, The Power of Silence)

“I keep the subject constantly before me, and wait ’till the first dawnings open slowly, by little and little, into a full and clear light.” – Sir Isaac Newton

Here are my observations over the summer:

1.  Narcissists asks you a question, to get the question in return

Skype between DH and his brother (I was in the background taking notes):

BiL: How was the biking during vacation?

DH: It was challenging at times because we didn’t expect so many hil- (interrupted)

BiL: We went biking in Seattle and we had some hills, we had to walk some of them, we were able to cruise down the rest of it…blah, blah (He went on and on about it).

DH tried to share our vacation experience and in the end he never got to because BiL kept interrupting.  BiL wanted to talk about his biking experience on his vacation, he didn’t really want to hear our story.  Our interactions with BiL and SiL are often like this.

2. Narcissists do feelers (not feelings): They respond, you offer.

Samy (DH’s best friend’s wife) doesn’t really e-mail me.  We don’t have a realationship outside of our husbands.  If they got divorced, I would not ever talk to her (as with DH’s best friend’s first wife).  The only e-mail conversation she had with me was back in 2011 before her trip to Europe and they had stayed with us.  I got an e-mail from her this summer out of the blue that has a lot of stuff and there was once sentence that caused an enormous about of anxiety.  I had insomnia for 3 days in a row after this sentence:

“We are anxious for you to move a little closer, but hoping to get another trip in before you return.”

After the trip from last time, which was awful, I didn’t want them to come over and stay with us.  When they were here last (fall 2011), Samy said ‘Next time we can just stay at your place for a week and take day trips to different cities.’  I immediately thought of this when I read what she wrote in the e-mail.  And I couldn’t sleep for 3 days thinking it was coming – 7 days in our home!

I spoke it over with DH and we didn’t know if that was her sole intention of the e-mail – to fish for an official invite.  After I responded she responded back with no questions and so I saw no need to continue the e-mail chat.

Then, she responded with this e-mail after our July visit home (we didn’t see them on this visit home because they were on vacation).

“hey! so sorry we missed you this trip. hope it was a great time and that you got to see everyone (else)… look forward to seeing you soon. Hope all is well on your side of the pond. Samy”

I freaked out over the phrase: ‘look forward to seeing you soon.’  In my mind, how is end of December soon?  We wouldn’t be back until around the New Year.  I responded with this:

“hi! I’m sure we’ll see you guys in december. Hope all is well too.”

I got increasingly upset with this and it got worse when DH told me about his interactions with Lou (Samy’s husband and his best friend).

Lou never, never ever initiates contact with DH.  DH is always the one sending an e-mail here or there to see how he is doing.  Lou’s birthday was this summer so DH sent a text with a happy birthday and to see how he was.  Lou responded with this:

“Thanks dude! Hard to believe, isn’t it?  Laid low yesterday, going to the basilica block party tonight and a 5k run/walk tomorrow morning.  Hope you had a great visit here.  Hated that we couldn’t meet up, but we’ll get it next time either here or there! Hope you guys are doing well.  Miss ya and thinking lots about you.”

I was again freaked out by ‘but we’ll get it next time either here or there’.  DH felt it might not mean anything.  Then, just last month DH sent an e-mail to see how he was and he responded with a whole bunch of stuff, never asked DH how he was doing and then at the end wrote this:

“Samy and I are seriously jonesing for some time in Europe!”

DH was upset and decided not to respond to the e-mail.  No questions, no response.

What is maybe funny and not so funny about this interaction over the last couple of months is that, at the same time, a good friend of mine asked me if she could come visit me.  This was her request when I saw her in July:

“We are thinking about traveling to Europe around June 2014 and would love to see you, we don’t know which country, we could either come to your place, if this works for you, or if it works for you guys to meet up with us?”

Kara’s remark of how Ns complicate simple requests rings true here.  All of our friends have an open invite to visit us.  We don’t repeatedly ask because we have been here so long now.  All we ask is that they give us a heads up with enough time for us to arrange our own travel (if meeting them somewhere else).

My friend took my feelings into consideration, Ns don’t do feelings, they do feelers.

3. Narcissists hear No but respond to Maybe

This one was shocking to discover over the summer.  It is not surprising that No (a clear boundary) is often not tolerated by people who behave narcissistically.  My FiL is one of them.  His nice exterior has been washing away as I get to know him without MiL present anymore.

During our trip, we took FiL out to a lake to race some boats.  One of his hobbies is to run these small boats out on the lake.  We got the boat in the lake and FiL starts steering it and then DH steers it for a while.  I had no desire to steer it and when DH offered the remote control to me, I said No.  DH continues for a while then hands it over to FiL and then FiL says ‘give it to TR’ and I say ‘I don’t want to steer it, you guys go ahead’.  FiL raises his voice with a nasty tone and says ‘TR, just take the damn thing and steer it.’  I reacted to this without thinking and steered it.  I was so bored, I hate doing things like this.  I don’t like playing with remote control stuff.  It was the most unfun thing I have ever done in my life.  After a few minutes I gave it to DH and just sat there pissed that he had yelled at me for not steering the boat and not taking No as an answer! (I’m still hot over this and getting to the point of disgust with FiL)

I started to realise that FiL has a problem with this in a lot of situations.  When we went out to eat breakfast we came back to the apartment and we started to play cards.  After about 1,5 hours FiL takes out some snack food to put on the table.  I was still full from my eggs and pancakes so I didn’t eat any.  As FiL started eating the chips with salsa he says to me: TR, go ahead and take some.  I respond: ‘I’m not hungry, still full from breakfast.’  After about 10 minutes, he moves the bowls of chips and salsa towards me and in a way invades my personal space at the table.  He says: ‘don’t be shy, take some’.  I don’t respond and don’t take any.  I eventually move the bowls back to the centre of the table.

After some time passes, he says ‘well, I’ve got other stuff, I bought Cheetos for you’.  I respond with a No, thanks.

This scenario has happened often.  It was a pattern I didn’t recognise until this summer.  No doesn’t mean No in DH’s FOO, it means you are eventually going to say Yes.

They hear No but respond to Maybe.

4. Narcissists respond to Yes with a No

This one is somewhat funny looking back on it.  MiL was the puppet-master of the whole family.  She decided everything we did.  She would choose the restaurants even when it appeared that we had a choice.  MiL took us to a restaurant during the early years of my relationship with DH and I liked this one.  Whenever she would ask when we came to visit where we wanted to eat, I would mention this restaurant.  Ever since she found out I liked this restaurant too we never went back.  She would say ‘oh, it will be crowded’ and I would say: we can call ahead.  Yet, we didn’t go back to it.  This was a pattern when it came to doing things I enjoyed in the city they lived in.  We never did them again or went there again.  I find it funny (now, anyway) because DH and I stopped showing delight in stuff we liked and needless to say, this worked with them.  We know go to places we like, they just don’t know we like it.

If I say Yes once, they respond with a No the next time around.

The patterns I began to see made me hone in better on my responses to them.  I want to adjust my responses so I don’t allow myself to be manipulated.  I am unlearning many, many years of my own natural responses to behaviours that aren’t about my own well-being.  I’m starting to get out the traps they set and learn that there is another path that doesn’t lead to one.

Hugs, TR

P.S.  In reference to physics, SiL posted one photo from our visit in July on Facebook with this caption.  What do you think?

silfacebook

DH and BiL (DH’s brother) made Lego people this week. On the left is TR, with her disco shirt, purple pants and a wrench. In the middle is me (DH brother’s wife, my SiL), as a doctor, with a sword, and on the right is DH’s brother (my BiL), with side burns, mustache, plaid shirt and handcuffs. I would remain afraid if our Lego alter egos come anywhere near you.

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35 thoughts on “The Physics of Narcissism

  1. I’m sharing your post this week. It is so spot on and so straight forward. As to the Lego people… It’s quite telling. A sword? So glad he isn’t my doctor. Actually, the more I think about it, the creepier it is. You and DH are normal, while he’s special… weird.

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    • I just realised that the caption is misleading. My DH and his brother (my BiL) went to Lego store and his brother made this people. Me – in the disco shirt, DH’s brother’s wife (my SiL) – she’s a doctor and his brother (my BiL) with the handcuffs. I will correct this.

      There were numerous patterns that emerged from my in-laws and it seemed like everything they do is opposite to when you interact with healthy people. Thank you for the shout out. Hugs, TR

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  2. What an interesting post, so much to learn from this. First, Lou and Samy. Aren’t they classic friend “types” who ramp up their contact with you when they want something from you? All that hint dropping about visiting you, just waiting for you to leap and invite them? You’ve read them accurately, alas. Good for you for not offering. And you know that you don’t have to put them up at your house? You could aways say you’re remodeling, or something else, or simply that you’d rather they stay elsewhere, if push comes to shove (which with these types, looks like it might). I’m guessing if you have a strong advance strategy (ie, deciding not to put them up if they ask directly), you won’t lose any more sleep over it. It’s incredibly annoying when people do this kind of fishing. It’s insulting and feels like a big imposition. So different from your other friend, who takes your convenience into account.

    Your FiL is aggressive. That is SO aggressive, trying to force you to basically obey a command (steer the boat. Eat these chips) when you’ve said no. It’s a real power play. Your SiL (she’s the one who’s the know it all, above everyone else, yes?), well, that’s creepy. You wear a disco outfit with a wrench, and she gets to have a sword? The subtle power plays are weird here. That this is the ONLY pic she put up from your visit is so weird. What’s that all about?

    Your MiL, you’ve got her psychology down cold, don’t you. How amazing, having to keep what you like secret, because she doesn’t want to feel that you are actually CHOOSING where you go or what you do. That is just twisted! Such an interesting post, the deafness on ‘no’ (it means to them keep pushing); the maybe’s, and the yes’s that have to be reversed. I like the way you’ve structured the post too, elegant and user-friendly (unlike mine, which are often quagmires!). love CS

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    • Thank you, CS. Lou is DH’s best friend since grade school. He is horrible at staying in touch (which DH accepts). However, he has difficulty in communicating – he never asks how DH is or anything? And he also can’t just ask if they can come visit. I thought about if they asked to stay with us for 1 week. I will allow 2-3 days max in my home. I am comfortable enough to tell Samy this, I think about Kara’s friend, Bella who told a friend of a friend that she couldn’t stay at her vacation home because wasn’t comfortable with it. I don’t know Samy enough, every interaction is ‘small talk’ and I don’t feel comfortable having her at all however, I do recognise that this is DH’s best friend so I draw the line at 3 days. I thought it was so ironic that another friend had asked me at the same time these e-mails were going on – it was like a light bulb!

      FiL has been showing more of his character – or actually maybe I’m picking up on it. So true, he is passive/covert aggressive. I thought he was the ‘nice’ one in the family – and when I started to see this pattern that he can’t take NO for an answer, it made me realise how much more dangerous for my health he really is.

      After MiL’s passing, SiL took over this role, and b/c DH and I learned not to show delight for certain things – we ended up going to one of our favourite restaurants twice this past July. How messed up is this?

      SiL’s post was so weird, first, she took other pictures during our visit (of actual people) but yet she decides to post a photo of some stupid objects BiL makes at the mall. It is almost a Freudian slip – she really does see everyone as objects 😉 instead of as people. Second, I read into the choices BiL made in picking out our outfits (at the Lego shop you can create little people, so he got to choose what we wear). The weird thing is – BiL has handcuffs – he is controlled and trapped by his wife and she has the sword (the control) and she identifies her worth with her profession. This is all just speculation on my part. I can go further as to why I am wearing a disco shirt and have a wrench but I am getting carried away with her stupid post.

      I enjoy reading your blog and I get so much out of it. I think you write wonderfully in a very honest and open style. I’m too analytical for my own good so my posts tend towards a structured approach. I love the different styles – then it would be boring :).

      Hugs, TR

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      • Hi Kara,

        DH was with his brother at the Lego store and according to DH, it was BiL’s idea and he wanted to make it for everyone and we each have a set. DH said he didn’t want this. I will have to ask him for more details – DH not so good at details. But I can picture him being irritated (b/c he was irritated when he told me the story) and walking away to have a smoke. So, I think BiL made one of me because DH had said No – not realising that the No was a No for the both of us.

        xxoo

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  3. Hi TR, I don’t think you’re overanalyzing that Facebook picture one bit. It IS a giant Freudian slip, isn’t it? People as objects; Bil gets to pick the outfits, the accessories each has. It seems kind of patronizing to me…that this is the ONE picture she put up. She sounds seriously ‘off.’
    It’s also so pathetic that you and DH have to pretend not to like a place (or not to care) in order to actually get taken there to eat! amazing psychology, these people…. xo CS

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    • It was so weird when it popped up on Facebook; I really thought – this can’t be true – she posted one photo of the visit and this was it. It was so interesting that BiL designed these people the way he did. DH was with him at the store and he wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing.

      I even did some research on the history of disco – I mean, why put me in a disco shirt? When I looked it up on Wiki I saw the origins of it is with ethnic groups in the US. And well, I’m the Indian one in the family – very different from their blond hair/blue eyes origins. And it could be the reason why I have this ‘funky’ (in his mind) outfit on. I am truly the outsider and the fact that I have a wrench is totally awesome. A wrench’s purpose is to loosen a grip (of any kind). If I have the tool to loosen the grip from this crazy family, then that is wonderful!

      xxoo TR

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  4. Hi TR,
    What an interesting post. I found myself identifying with it a lot. Your DH’s friends: they are terribly overcomplicating the issue. And for that reason alone, I would steer clear if you can. Anyone who hints so much for an invitation, instead of just asking out right, is shady in my book. I have many friends like this too (and also get the panicky feeling when I know they are hinting and pushing for something I might not necessarily want to give. But I know that I’m not necessarily being given a choice. If I was, they wouldn’t be so sneaky about it.)
    Your FIL is extremely pushy and obnoxious. That must have been uncomfortable to deal with. My in-laws are like that too. Demanding and never taking no for an answer. I suspect that your FIL, like my in-laws, get some sort of validation about you partaking in the things they are doing. That it is about making them feel better. And how awful is that? That you can’t say when you are hungry or choose not to play with FIL’s boat (such silly things), without them taking offense.

    Dealing with narcs just seems so overcomplicated. I’ve learned, like you have, to not offer opinions or say anything I like or don’t like, because it will be used against me. (My NM would never take me to the restaurant that I liked growing up when I’d visit. She’d silently let me know that I wasn’t to suggest it but tell me to “choose” where I liked. ) I sometimes feel so very unauthentic when I have to behave this way: keep things close to the vest so they aren’t used against me, not communicating my feelings so it won’t be used against me, holding back my thoughts so that I’m not led into traps. It is so very exhausting and I really dislike that I have to think so hard about “strategy” when around them.

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    • Hi Jessie,

      Thank you for your comments. I am hoping they don’t actually ask; then their visit won’t happen :). If they do, I think the option is to decide to say No to 7 days if they are sticking to their original plan and limit it. It is a situation where I would stay clear but that isn’t an option b/c it is DH’s best friend.

      That is it exactly – I think he is trying to make himself feel better. I can understand on the food part – he ate a huge breakfast and 1,5 hours later he was snacking again. I was lost on the boat racing thing – we were out enjoying a summer’s day on a bench at the lake – there was no need for everyone to partake in the boat racing. I thought at the time, ‘where did this come from?’

      I have felt like I wasn’t being myself when I didn’t show delight or disappoint. I think, in the end, I don’t feel comfortable sharing anything with them. There is no connection, DH’s FOO don’t know how to connect beyond the small talk. I can choose who I share stuff with and unfortunately, it is to the extreme with my in-laws – don’t share stuff on even the smallest of things. The strategy part makes it exhausting to be around them.

      Hugs, TR

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      • I can picture my father doing what your FIL did. For them is a matter of authority (because of being older men and all that nonsense). Basically his attitude was “because I say so” ( there was no other logical reason for you to steer the boat, it’s not like it was an emergency and he was looking after something else) but because you’re all adults he can’t just simply say “Because I say so” so he has to “exert” his power with a nasty tone and nasty words. It’s a bullying technique, and a form of intimidation. That he cannot respect your no even in such small things is worrying (my mother is like that too: everything is like a battle to the death – Maybe we should start calling them Darth Mother and Darth FiL…) xx

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      • I hadn’t looked at it from the authoritative stand point and control stand point. It makes sense; I am going to pay closer attention at our next visit. It started to really worry me too. When I started to simplify my language with them, Yes, No (one word answers) with no justification with my response – it seemed to really show his aggressiveness.

        OMG, I was laughing when you said Darth Mother and Darth FiL – Darth Vader – Vader is father in Dutch. So in way, they are like Darth Vader.

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      • You know, as I was writing the comment, the thought popped in my head that “Vader” was similar to father in German “Vater”, and then it occurred to me that there was probably a European language in which “Vader” meant “father”. I had to go out this morning to go to an appointment and was going to research it when I got back. Thanks for saving me the work 🙂 xx

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      • TR, With my MIL, she insists everyone do the same things as a way to boost her own ego. It is a form of control, but it also makes her feel good and “reinforces” her confidence in her own identity. It’s part of the “blob” thinking. If everyone is hungry when MIL is hungry that validates her and her needs, if everyone responds to her offering food, it validates what a nice person she is, if everyone partakes in the boat driving, it validates that her hobby is “worthwhile”. It is one of the things that drives me insane about her, because she will NOT allow anyone to deviate from the “family interests/agenda”. She takes it quit personally, because, in her mind, it invalidates her feelings. In her black and white world, if you don’t like (or do) something she does, than you are saying she is WRONG to like it. For example, I am a good cook, but dislike baking. I’m not good at it, I dislike following recipes to the letter, and I find concentrating on all the measurements “unrelaxing”. MIL loves to bake and takes great pride in it (her mother is also a baker). When I stated at a family gathering that I just didn’t enjoy it, MIL took great offense as if I’d said that she shouldn’t like it either. She can’t allow for differences as it damages her self esteem.

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      • Hi Jessie,
        I can understand what you mean about your MiL. FiL could feel bad about snacking after a huge breakfast and feels better because he isn’t the only one that is hungry after such a meal – validation of what he feels. Control can be used to minimise any of the unpleasant feelings – something I know I do when I feel anxious about my feelings (Kitty wrote more about this at http://www.bravenewkitty.com/2013/05/how-not-to-deal-with-anxiety-part-ii-control-power-and-manipulation/).

        Even if FiL felt bad or anxious about another situation, he could have been aggressive with me, control me to alleviate feelings from a past experience. MiL was similar in what you say about your’s (my MiL passed away a year ago). She didn’t want anything to deviate from the family agenda. We did what she wanted all the time (now, SiL stepped into her role as the queen bee). That is interesting what you say about her reaction to you not liking baking. I often find myself on the defensive whenever I say I enjoy something and then they turn around and say they absolutely don’t like it. It could feel as a big blow to their image? Difficulty in relating to something different? It is an interaction that has never felt normal – you like, I dislike, you dislike, I like.

        Thanks for sharing your in-law experience, I can relate and helps understand FiL’s puzzling aggressiveness. xxoo TR

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      • I wonder too if your FIL felt you were rejecting “his hospitality” and his “efforts” to be nice by not eating his food. I know my MIL does this. If I don’t partake in it, it’s offensive to HER as the hostess. But maybe I’m projecting my experience onto your FIL.

        Interestingly about MIL, as you said about your in-laws absolutely disliking something, she did that too. It was kind of ironic, but she could play both sides of the coin. I’m from German heritage and got a cook book of German food for Christmas. I was excited about the book and showing it to her and she made a HUGE point of saying how much she dislikes German food. In normal relationships, someone stating they dislike something or like something isn’t a huge issue with me. But with her, it’s clear that it IS a big issue. It’s much more than someone just liking or not liking something and getting to know each other’s preferences. I have many friends who like or dislike things different from me, and I don’t feel slighted. And if I hadn’t observed MIL in both situations, it would’ve been easy to dismiss it. But when I saw how much offense she took to the baking thing, it was clear she was also trying to offend ME (project much?) by telling me she hated something I liked.

        And for the record, the woman loves German food. At first DH didn’t believe me that she meant anything by it. But as little stories keep coming out of times she’s eaten or enjoyed the food, it’s helped me point out that what she said was more to hurt me than about her true feelings.

        I also think she likes to like all the same stuff because it makes her feel “bonded” an intimately connected to her family. But it’s all artificial an crafted by her. Nothing authentic about it at all. Which is maybe the point of my ramblings ;).

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  5. The battle over small things–Kara’s right, that it’s indicative of bigger control issues. Normally we’d wonder, who cares about the small things? With narcissists, the small things are the maintenance mechanisms of their control. I think it’s like making you give in on the little things keeps their thermostat set on “Full control.” Narcissists are very rigid, and often think that losing their way on smaller matters indicates they’re losing their mastery over you. IMHO!

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  6. Hi Everyone,
    I had a light bulb go off from your comments; SiL posted only this picture of our July visit. I looked at her postings from their trip to visit us in April. She posted lots of pics and wrote captions – like seeing the sites, visiting Antwerp (where I live). And no where did she mention she was visiting family. While they were here, they went to Scotland to visit her family – no pics of her aunt and cousins she saw, no mention of them. We got pics of her hotel room and some landscape of Scotland. She also didn’t mention visiting with family as well. This tied together with Lou’s e-mail to DH: “Samy and I are jonesing for some time in Europe.” I feel at the same time – it isn’t about us (DH and me) because people are spending a lot of money and time to come out here. And on the other hand, why is there no mention of it being a visit to see family members, to see people? xxoo

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    • Sounds like SiL is completely disconnected from everyone. Same as Lou & Samy, they do the bare minimum to “fly below the radar” but ultimately they are disconnected. To say “Samy and I are jonesing for some time in Europe.” would make sense in an email to a work colleague but not to a best friend. Sometimes it helps to figure what a normal friend would have said in the circumstances, i.e.: “We were really sorry we we missed you when you came. We’d love to see you before December, so we were thinking of coming over to spend time with you if that would be ok with you/fits with your plans/is convenient, etc”. I also think that Samy’s email to you was full of cliches, she was basically just ticking boxes. She sounds way too casual for someone who has missed the visit of her husband’s best friend. A true friend would have written it differently. Say something like:
      “So sorry we missed you this trip, did you have a good time? Look forward to hearing all about it” or something along those lines. The way her email is written sounds to me that she’s not interested at all in knowing how your trip (or your current life for that matter) is going. We all say similar things on emails at times (Hope this goes well, sorry I missed your call, etc) but the difference with Samy is that she doesn’t offer any opening at all for you to share your trip/life with her. So while her “words” make all the right “noises”, her actions don’t back up her words at all. Mind the gap 😉 xxoo

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      • Your insight about Samy makes a lot of sense; part of why DH and I struggle with her is that it seems she says all the ‘right’ things but we just feel bad and not like there was a true exchange. Her friends seem to adore her, she has a lot of ‘fans’ and they think that she is a really great person – and I feel like at times, I am a bit crazy. And then I know that how I feel whether I interact with her in person or over e-mail, I just feel blah.

        She does sound too casual and at times I feel like why are you writing this stuff when you don’t seem to ask anything about us when we are in person. They do all the talking. That is so key – I am not able to share our life with her – either b/c she doesn’t ask or doesn’t shut up.

        I’m going to show DH all these comments because I think everyone hit the nail on the head of why we walk away frustrated, irritated and used. Hugs, TR

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  7. Mind the gap, yup, the new code shorthand for disconnect between what people say and what their hidden agendas are! xxxCS
    ps that disco outfit plus the wrench, could it BE any more random? And yeah, where was your DH? is there a plastic doll club he forgot to pay dues for?

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  8. Hi Guys,
    DH read your comments last night and he found them helpful especially when it came to dealing with Samy. From the first moment he met her he was irritated and she is spouting out all the ‘right’ things and her actions don’t reflect it – on whatever she is talking about.

    I did ask for details of the Lego people: BiL wanted to make a set for everyone with all of us; DH didn’t want one of him so BiL made one of me, SiL and himself. He left for a while and then came back and BiL was still working on designing it. DH got impatient so he picked out the sword for SiL. I asked if he did this on purpose and he said: Kind of. Hahaha 🙂

    Thank you for all you comments, it shed some light on viewing our interactions with them.

    Hugs, TR

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  9. What a great post and discussion! I can get all wrapped up in theory and clinical distinctions and completely miss the fact that someone is DOING what I’m studying! ha! Like your point about ‘not telling’ narcissists what YOU love! This is so true that it brings flashbacks to all the many times I was overtly and totally joyful about a particular activity (or restaurant) and then BOOM! The narcissist said or did something to rain on my parade.

    Overtime, even though the process isn’t conscious, we withdraw, hold back, become anxious WHEN we are having fun. We unconsciously numb ourselves a little to avoid the rainstorm that’s sure to follow when we’re overtly happy or content! Is it envy that drives their need to ruin our fun? Is it envy of our joy that makes them choose other restaurants rather than the one we love? Unless we ‘wise up’ and pay attention to their behaviors, we’re susceptible to reducing our enjoyment of life to avoid displeasing the narcissist! That is what I can see this morning after thinking about your post! How many times was my JOY smashed simply because I didn’t catch on to what was going on?

    Your story about the steering incident is right out of my history, both as the daughter-of-a-narcissistic-father and the wife of a SuperNarc, Mr. Plastic Fantastic. Ha!

    Hugs
    CZ

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    • Hi CZ,
      I have thought about my approach of holding back on small joys like the things we do or the places we go to. My anxiety is there already from having to deal with them and I am not having fun. I have learned to go and do things myself without them and that has helped a lot when I do hold back. I can see how holding back continuously would lead me to hold back on feeling good. This part used to be a natural reflex and now, I feel very aware of when I’m doing it. Thank you for bringing up that point.

      Hugs, TR

      Like

  10. Pingback: Spot on N observations… | The Project: Me by Judy

  11. This is an excellent post – it contains a lot of insight and truth. I have to agree with some of the other commentators that this sort of “fishing” is rude and that the Lego caricatures are very strange. They certainly show where you rank in things, though! Not telling a narcissist what you like – yes! I figured this out about my ex-narcissist, too. I think that they either don’t want others to enjoy anything or to be happy, which in my opinion is a function of their built-in jealousy, or they don’t want others to enjoy the same things that they enjoy, which is a demonstration of their selfishness. And btw, I use the word “enjoy” loosely, because I don’t think that narcissists really know what that means.

    Thanks and well done! 🙂

    Like

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