Table of Contents
This is part of a four post series. The topics are as followed
- Why talk about Narcissism
- Why Narcissists are the way they are
- Tactics they use and how they operate
- How to deal with them
They are unrelenting
Not saying they all do all these things, but these are all common themes I have found. But the one thing I realized is this: They have absolutely no concerns about conflict and arguing, many even enjoy it. They don’t shy away from it at all. For many, it seems to bring a sense of satisfaction, a craving. More importantly, they are always looking out how you can be seen or feel bad. Until they have whatever they want, whatever pain they have quenched, they will always want more. You can never reason, you can never bargain. Everything you do is ammunition for them to make things worse for you.
Maintaining control – Weaponized ignorance and Weaponized incompetence
They absolutely need the control. It is just never you doing what they asked, they need to feel that you are doing what they asked because THEY said so. You are not enjoying something they expect from you? They will make your life worse. You asked them to do something for you? They will make your life worse.
Weaponized incompetence is when they will do exactly the opposite of what you asked them to so that you won’t ask them to do the task again. Ask them to do the dishes? They will not clean them entirely. Ask them to do the laundry? Maybe they will use bleach with the colors. So on and so on. Basically they have no problem doing incredibly stupid things just so they don’t have to do it again.
Weaponized ignorance is when they will do a “nice thing” but it becomes more work. They sprung reservations at a nice restaurant for you this evening! Except you have plans, and you have no idea who is going to watch the kids. Now your planned evening is in chaos because they are trying to do something nice for you.
There is no end to their demands
I have heard it described that the more you give them, the more they demand. It feels like a constant “one step forward, two steps back”. You say you expect one thing, they will bring up 3 things they did wrong. Things you care about that they failed to do, is not a big deal. On their end, everything is a misunderstanding…but on your end, everything is a huge failure. You are asking something of them, you are a hypocrite. You feel like the arguments are going round and round in circles. They sound rational on the surface, they sound rational to anyone who is new to the situation…but you know you are being triggered by their logic.
They try to isolate you
They may complain about your job if you are doing well and know people. They will make demands of you to make your job more miserable. They may position that your job is contributing to a moral failure at the house. You may feel you are a bad person simply for having this job that you enjoy. Friends and family, they will try to cut you off. They may be feeling sick one day, they may expect you to stay home…for a party you have had planned well in advance with your best friends. If you break up with one, they may try to go out with one of your best friends. YOUR family members that they get along with(i.e. Probably narcissistic tendencies as well), they will quietly talk about problems about you. And they have no problem lying about it as well. Between telling you how you no longer care for them, telling lies to people who will listen, and forcing you to choose between things you love…they want you to become 100% dependent on them. Fun fact: At work, I had a guy run a meeting with everyone else excluding me and my manager to simply disagree with my finding with 0 evidence. Classic example.
The more they take you for granted, the worse they treat you. When they know they are losing you, the gloves come off
As I mentioned above, there is no end to their demands. This happens when they take you for granted and assume you will not go anywhere. The sad reality is that even if you are completely miserable, that everything you asked for is never coming true, that you are constantly blamed for everything…this may be the easiest you have it. When you start realizing that it isn’t going to work, when you start trying to leave them…this is where they will do one of two things. The better option is to start giving you everything you asked for….then they will eventually take you for granted again. When they know you realized their game, and that you may leave them…
Everything you do and say is ammunition for them
Setting boundaries or things that you need in your life, all you are doing is giving them avenues to trigger you later on when they are feeling bad. You are giving them options for future “misunderstandings”. Anything that keeps you sane will be used against you.
All those things you enjoy? They will try to mess it up or take it away from you later. They tend to show no interest when they take you for granted, but tend to want it when they know you are leaving or want to attack you in some way. Anything that makes you happy will be used against you.
They will antagonize you in private so that you escalate things in public
When they finally find there is no going back to control, this is where they will do everything in their power to make you look and feel terrible. Lie, do subtle things to make your life worse, make excuses for everything they do to make your life worse. They will even make you look crazy, and if they can…make you think you’re crazy yourself. They will privately make things difficult so you publicly make yourself look bad. The reason is they don’t care about anything except looking good to everyone else and making you look bad.
I want to emphasize as well, part of their escalation tactic is possibly hoping the other will get violent. I have one friend where the cops were involved. The cops are all too familiar with this, but one cop pulled her aside and told her specifically “Don’t let him create a situation where you attack him first.”. She was confused, it never crossed her mind…but it seems it is a common situation. I knew someone else years ago who was an ex-navy seal. He told me of a story where his ex-wife intentionally egged him on and even said in an argument “Go on, hit me!”. Luckily he knew how to cool off(and never did).
They will always be at least one step ahead, they can play for “scorched earth”
Almost always, they started the divorce process first. They started spending money first. They started planting the seeds of doubt with those around you first. As I said previously, they are not looking for peace and civility, they are wanting you to look as bad or worse as they feel. And you have to think about everything they do from that perspective. It seems that the goal is not to come out better than everyone, but to come out better than you. This can materialistically, emotionally, liked by others, etc. Sometimes even all those things.
For some, their entire emotional need is to come out both feeling superior to you and you feeling miserable and hopeless.