Tag Archives: narcissist

When Life Hands You Lemons

When Life Hands You Lemons
When Life Hands You Lemons

September 1970
A young girl was born in Chicago, IL to a woman that did not have the financial resources to care for her. The woman chose to give her daughter a better life and decided to give her up for adoption so that she could be taken care of properly. As she grew older, she realized that money doesn’t buy everything. It doesn’t buy love, security, hope, honesty and normal mothers. She remembers thinking about her mother in hopes of trying to figure her out. She remembers thinking about why a mother would hide from her when she got off the bus and then saying, “what would you do if I was really gone?” “If I wasn’t so chicken I would kill myself,” the mother would say sometimes. You must clean the entire house on Saturday she would say, and then there was the dreaded white glove test. Learn how to give me shots so that I don’t have to go to the allergy doctor. The mother would attend doctor’s visits and say, he said that he never saw anything like me! There is no point in joining that club, you can’t stay after school, you must be home to take care of me. The list goes on. One constant lie, hurtful word, and manipulation after another for 47 years.
October 2012
The daughter dealt with all she could handle. One part of her heart still felt compassion for her mother. Compassionate people are the ones that narcissistic people prey upon. She always expected the daughter to treat her like a queen. I’m the most important person in this room, the narcissist will say. The daughter had a broken marriage had to move back home with her mother. It was a bad move in more ways than one. The daughter once again felt like a child. If her shower took too long, the mother would yell. If she stayed out too late, the mother would yell. If she left a crumb on the counter, the mother would yell. If she spent too much time with her art, the mother would yell. It was like being let out of prison for a while only to find yourself back there serving another sentence. The daughter’s life was a prison with no chance for parole. Never. It was a for better or for worse, ‘til death do us part type of relationship. It was always the worse and death will be the only way to break free. The warden did everything she could to keep the convict in her place. Verbal and mental abuse was her choice of punishment. The convict often referred to the warden as a porcupine. The warden would allow the convict to get close enough so that it really hurt when the quills came out. Over the years the warden took advantage of the convict by pulling her into drama, not allowing her to live, treating her like she was clueless and degrading her every chance she got. She hurt…. on purpose. I’m counting on you, text me in the morning and make sure I answer. I could be dead. I get so scared at night, you need to be here. I don’t know what would happen to the convict if she ever gets the opportunity to live. What will she do? Where will she go? Set free from the prison life. Will she grieve, or will she be relieved?
November 2017
Although the abuse continued, the convict kept in touch with the warden. Compassion fueled the fire. The convict prayed for the warden in hope. The convict never gave up on the warden. Eventually, this drained everything within her. She cringed with the phone rang and let it go to voicemail. She would read messages and not respond to the drama. She would pretend she wasn’t home when she came by. There was never a place to truly rest. She avoided her at all cost but eventually they would have to talk. In researching about narcissism, the convict learned terms and their meanings.
Gaslighting found its way into the research. A persistent manipulation. The convict realized that over her lifetime, she had jumped from one career to another. She even pursued careers because that is what the warden wanted her to do. The convict doubted every decision she ever made. She always worried that she would hear the dreaded, I told you so. She was convinced that she could never do anything right, so she quit trying. You will never be good enough, so she thought, so just give up. Let life knock you down, its ok, that’s what you deserve. If narcissistic predators can get you to believe this about yourself, they have won. They will sit there and look down their nose at you in satisfaction.
Any conversation that you could possibly have was always one-sided. There was always an interruption and the conversation always turned back to the warden. I know you are facing foreclosure but let’s talk about what I have and how I always managed money successfully. Here let me rescue you and give you money. The more she gave, the more power she had in the convict’s life. She loved being the center of attention. She loved having people worship the ground she walked on. She loved being in control.
Hoovering happens when you least expect it. Hoover vacuum cleaners are made to suck up things and that just what narcissists do, they suck you back into drama. If the convict wanders too far, the warden will suck you back in using guilt or other similar tactics. The goal is to get the convict back under their power and control. Sometimes they admit that they are wrong or that they will change their ways, but this convict has never gotten an apology, only blame.
Sometimes a narcissist will become like you. They want to dress like you, do their hair or makeup like you, or mimic your behavior. It doesn’t make sense that the narcissist wants to consume your life, ridicule you and then want to become like you but it happens. Jealously plays a key role in mirroring. What are they jealous of though? This convict was raised by a narcissist, but I’ve worked so hard to not become her. I recognized the narcissistic characteristics and have chosen to be something different. I do not want that negativity in my life. I do not want the drama and I do not want the pain.
Sometimes the narcissist will take anything adoration that they can get. They need, not want, to feel in control. If something goes wrong, they only resolution is to blame their problem on their victim. There is no way that the narcissist is at fault nor will they take responsibility. They must have a scapegoat. I’ve taken the blame and apologized for her behavior for years. As a result, people assume that I’m the same way which is very frustrating by the way. Again, I’ve worked hard to not become her but, yet I justify her behavior. Am I the enabler?
This process has led me to believe that I cultivate this personality glitch in her. But then I remind myself that she was already broken before I came around. Speaking to her sisters has reaffirmed the fact that she has been shattered for years. So, did she create drama when something happened that she didn’t like and then she got her way? Where is that fine line? What causes the behavior?
My youngest granddaughter is almost 2. At the age of 2, she tends to be the center of things. For more than one reason (but that’s another story). At some point in time, proper rearing of this child will include transitioning her to believe that you don’t always win every time and the world does not revolve around her. You see, early childhood ‘narc’ behavior is normal. The parents fail when they don’t cut the child off at appropriate times. Do I think that my grandparents are to blame? No, not necessarily. Do I think that my aunts and uncles are to blame? No. What about my father? No. I really wish I could narrow down the why. I love solving problems, but this is one that I have waved the white flag on.
According to Psychology Today, there are the following reasons for this behavior. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/warning-signs-parents/201701/childhood-roots-narcissistic-personality-disorder
• persistent bullying behaviors such as making fun of, threatening, degrading, or scapegoating people (including parents and other adults)
• persistent need to win no matter who is hurt
• persistent lying to benefit oneself (will lie about lying, turn lies into someone else’s fault, deflect accountability by attacking messengers who point out lies)
• egotistical view of extraordinary self-worth
• preoccupation with getting own needs met over other people’s
• entitled attitudes which lead to acting as if they deserve special treatment and to get whatever they want, no matter the circumstances
• aggressive responses to being criticized, wronged, or upset
• repetitively blaming others for bad outcomes
• and being much more competitive than cooperative
I would never say that this is anyone’s fault, per se, but where did it come from? Why wasn’t it stopped? Does the person or persons that caused this behavior know what they were doing, or did they simply not care? Did this go back more than one generation? Something in their lives that bruised their ego and chipped away at their self-image. Intentional? I’m not sure. Reality? Yes. An unbroken cycle? Yes. Create the same problem for generations? Yes. Healing begins when someone recognizes the problem and makes a conscious effort to change the pattern.
Narcissists are incapable of true empathy and true love. They cannot exist outside of themselves. They align themselves with a weaker person to elevate themselves. At the end of the day, their goal is to look good and feel superior to others.
I have heard and read that the best way to deal with a narcissist is to cut the tie with them. To be honest, this bothers me a bit. It may be good for some to do so but I live my life with compassion. I believe that a person can set a boundary and stick to their guns. Does this make me weak? I don’t think so. I believe it makes me strong. I do not deal with the drama. I do not let things bother me as they have in the past. I know who I am and what I stand for. To answer my previous question, will the convict grieve or be relieved when she passes? I think both. I choose to see good in the warden despite everything, there is good. It is a glimmer of good, but it’s still there. But yes, this convict will be relieved because the abuse will finally be over.

Toxic Relationships

Toxic Relationships
Toxic Relationships

Toxic Relationships

I believe that God has a sense of humor.  Let’s face it, He puts a bunch of humans with different personalities on a fiery ball in the sky and tells us to all get along.  It’s like watching my daughter with her children, stepchildren and nieces in one room and she is in charge.  Part of me wants to just sit back and watch her figure it out and the other part of me wants to help her guide these precious faces to mind their manners and eat without smearing food all over themselves and the floor.  It’s comical.  Very comical.  It’s a ‘good luck with that’ moment.  On the other hand, my daughter should have the skills to deal with the different situations that will arise from raising these precious souls.  As I watch, I wonder to myself, did I really give her the tools?  Raising respectable, honest, well-behaved children is a series of strategic negotiations and sometimes can result in hostage type situations.  Bottom line, we are all failed parents.  We have all done things that result in our children misbehaving or their less than stellar acts.  Why?  Because we are not perfect.  God, with His incredible sense of humor, made us less than perfect.  You may think you are, but you aren’t.  Nowhere near.  Don’t even go there.  So, because of our imperfections, sometimes we find ourselves in toxic relationships.  Relationships with our parents, spouse, children, friends and even co-workers.  It happens because we are human and not necessarily because we are the quote unquote bad parent.  We want to give something more to our children that what we received from our parents.  All of us do that.  We can all remember times where we thought that our own parents were being unreasonable, dishonest, narcissistic or even abusive.  There are always two sides to the story.  Simply put, perception is reality.  Some people have skewed perception but to them it is a reality.  I’m not making light of any situation because your pain is very real.  Time does not heal those wounds yet diminishes the appearance of the scar.  You get used to a new normal.  Normal is never the same when dealing with toxic relationships.  You can never go back in time before toxicity, only forward in a different direction.  With that being said, let’s look at several aspects of a toxic relationship. I’m sure you can identify with several of them.

 

  1. A relationship is between two people, not one.  Oftentimes there is one person who takes control, makes final decisions and even leads the relationship.  When those lines get blurred and the one in “charge” becomes bossy or makes decisions without consulting the other person, then there is a problem.  A relationship is a two-person sport.  Think of a tennis match.  One serves the ball and the other receives to bounce it back.   A healthy relationship is one where both people serve and both parties receive.
  2. Have you ever been in a relationship where just talking to an individual hurts your head? You dread the conversations and try to avoid them at all cost?  I’m not talking about your mother-in-law.  I’m talking about the person who talks a mile a minute and you cannot seem to process the information quickly enough.  When talking to someone becomes a physical chore, you may need to reevaluate the relationship and decide if having them in your life is mentally healthy for you.
  3. In my opinion, trust is earned. You can say all the right things to someone but if they don’t completely trust you, then you need to move on.  I’m talking about the person who calls your phone repeatedly until you answer or sends texts one right after another.  It will drain you eventually.
  4. Have you ever deal with someone who is hostile? I mean mad for absolutely no reason.  We all have disappointments in life but how we handle them makes all the difference in the world.  I always taught my children to handle themselves with dignity and grace.  Did I always display those qualities in front of them?  No, more than likely not, but I attempted to and apologized when I failed.  We all have triggers but you shouldn’t have to be around a person that is the proverbial loaded gun that could go off at any moment.  Do not be a pushover but do not be a loaded gun.  Find people that are willing to live in the happy medium and share your life with them.
  5. People are just so judgmental. People are willing to offer an opinion for anything at any time for any reason.  If you would have done this, then you could have had a different result.  You should have done it my way or I told you so.  Any of those things sound familiar?  I believe in guiding people.  Not to a result that is beneficial to me personally but rather to an end that will better their lives.  Don’t we all want to help others along this crazy path of life?
  6. People will let you down. That fact is 100% correct.  If you are human, you will or already have let someone down.  My girls knew that when I said, ‘I promise’ that I would fulfill what they asked for or a task that needed to be done.  I rarely said I promise because I never wanted to let them down.  The reality is that people are unreliable no matter how hard they try.  Don’t be a victim of a constant unreliable person.  They are just saying what you want to hear.
  7. Please do not get me started on narcissism. It is the excessive interest in oneself.  A healthy interest in oneself is normal, excessive is not.  Narcissistic relationships involve two people.  One person stands still and the other revolves around them.  The revolving one exists to adore and admire the person standing still and if the one stops revolving, the consequences are that of manipulation and despair.  Have you ever severed a relationship with a narcissistic person?  If you have, my hats off to you.  It isn’t easy but it is totally worth it.  It is truly a form of abuse.  It’s akin to having your insides ripped out, stomped upon and then shoved back inside.  They never work right again but you can heal and they will work differently.  If you have ever been a victim, you can spot a narcissist from a mile away.  When you do, change directions.  It isn’t worth it.
  8. Negative people. I call them Eeyore.  Winnie the Pooh spend a lot of time building Eeyore up and the poor thing still didn’t get it.  He was a pessimistic, depressed and gloomy character.  We all have someone that is an Eeyore.  Like Eeyore, negative people generally like being alone.  When they are among people they call friends, they spread their gloom and despair.  They are people who don’t expect much of themselves. They are constantly looking for someone to listen but cannot seem to put their feelings into words.  Negative people need compassion but be careful not to let them zap your good mood.  It is easier to pull someone down than it is to lift someone up.
  9. Have you ever made a toxic person mad? One guess as to what type of retaliation you received.  No communication.  They think they are proving a point but really, they are doing you a favor.  You can take a deep breath and know that they will soon reach out to you.  In an unhealthy way of course, but they will reach out.
  10. I believe Aretha said it best. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.  I think it means everything.  I think someone who doesn’t respect you should have no part of your life.  If someone respects you, they think highly of you and will treat you well.  Showing respect is just being polite and kind.  If you cannot have respect from someone, they do not need to be in your life.  One important thing to remember though, you must be worthy of their respect.  Carry yourself in such a way that deserves respect.
  11. Have you ever played chess? Dealing with a controlling person can be like a chess match.  They are waiting on you to make a move so they can counter act in a way that is beneficial to them.  They wait until you are backed into a corner and then come towards you with a vengeance.  Controlling people do not care who they run over to get what they want.  They will make your life miserable until they get what they want and when they want it.
  12. Ah drama. It’s such a way of life for people now-a-days.  The bigger the tantrum, the more the drama.  We live in a world of self-entitled people.  Instant world full of self-gratifying people who will not stop until they pull you into their chaotic lives.  It’s a show and they want you to feel sorry for them.  Stop the drama, you will be much happier.
  13. We fear the disapproval of others so we squash our own dreams, personalities and desires to become someone that another person can love unconditionally. We change who we are to become more desirable.  You must get to a point that you really don’t care what other people think and grasp with both hands who you are and what you stand for.  Don’t let others tell you how to live and do not allow them to treat you like a doormat.  You are worth it.
  14. Speaking of unworthiness, stop…just stop. You are so worthy.  I used to tell my daughter, ‘you are worth so much more.’ There came times in her life where she just needed to hear that.  She changed for others.  She became what they wanted instead of who she really was and desired to be.  Just stop…. you are totally worth it.
  15. Toxic relationships make you feel trapped. I used to watch Fear Factor.  I always thought it was interesting to see people stretch themselves to the limit.  I seen an episode where they had to scurry in an underground series of tunnels full of mud, rats, snakes and spiders.  Some tunnels let to another but some were dead ends.  I think when you are trapped in a relationship you found the dead end muddy tunnel that is full of undesirable creatures.  If it doesn’t feel right, or if your morals are compromised get out before you reach the dead end.
  16. Undermining is gradually damaging or weakening someone. Although I do not understand why someone would want to do that, it happens.  It is like whittling a stick.  The whittler (toxic person) starts with a whole stick and chips away until there is nothing left.  An abuser will chip away at you slowly.  You will eventually compromise your character and morals.  If faced with someone like this, take the whittler’s knife and walk away.  No one is worth compromising yourself.
  17. I remember once I tried out for chorus at school. I was so nervous and I’m sure I sounded awful.  I wanted so desperately to be a part of the music department.  After I auditioned, the music teacher looked at me and said, ‘you are awful’.  To a 6th grader, I was devastated.  Unfortunately, I still had to attend music class but I remember not being able to get past those words.  It took me years to attempt to sing again.  I know I’m not the best singer but I can carry a tune.  Every church that I have ever attended, I’ve been a part of the music department.  I just love that ministry.  But those words, you are awful, still ring in my head.  I am good enough and so are you.  You are worthy of someone who believes in you no matter what.
  18. This one is close to #14 but I must say it again. Do not deny who you are.  Do not deny who God created you to be.  Do not allow someone to tell you what you are not worth it.  Do not sacrifice so much of yourself that there is nothing left for you.  You are worth so much more!