Narcissism is the Game, and You’re It

It always makes me chuckle, a slightly sad and tired chuckle, when I read certain things. In recent years Narcissism has become big news. For psychologists, pop psychologists, bloggers, and the media. That’s the way of the world, something catches our attention and starts to trend, and off we go. Overexposure ensues, we get bored of that subject, and move on to the next. Just like with all other trends, fads, and popular culture subjects. It is neither good, nor bad, it’s just the way we evolve, learn, and move. It has a rhythm just like everything else.

Narcissism is one of those subjects on which I would consider myself to be a bit of an expert. Both my parents were Narcissists. But other than that I have no credentials. So… my view doesn’t really count. Doesn’t matter, I’m used to that, growing up with Narcissists you learn very quickly that you, as an entity, a living, breathing, independent soul, don’t exist. You’re a thing. An extension of someone else. A piece of property. A slave to a master. A blood source for a vampire. Food. An ego boosting vitamin. As long as you know your place, and play your part, you’re fine… well, sort of, because you’re never fine as far as Narcissists are concerned. Let’s just say you’re ignored, useful, and used. And as long as you tacitly accept this, you’re tolerated, very generously put up with by the Narcissists. Because they’re wonderful like that. If at any point you decide to think for yourself, claim some independence, or do that most inconvenient thing of having personal feelings and emotions… well, you brought their hellfire down upon yourself. You asked for it, and so they gave it to you. Narcissists are incredibly generous.

I have read countless – countless as in I can’t remember how many – books and articles on Narcissism. They all glibly tell you the same thing. If you’re in a relationship with a Narcissist, leave, get out, and don’t look back. This is when I chuckle that sad and tired chuckle. If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a Narcissist – a real Narcissist, not just someone you’ve decided is a Narcissist because they are a little bit self obssessed – then you know that there is no such thing as leaving or getting out of the relationship. Not if you are the one doing the leaving, and even if they discard you, they never let you go, because they know you might turn out to be useful to them some day.

I cut all ties with my parents… eventually. It wasn’t an easy decision. Not because of them and the endless guilt, shame, and blame they generously gave me. But because of innocent outside observers who have opinions about your life they like to share when they feel you need to be told the truth about how badly wrong you are living your life. And Narcissists always have an army of acolytes to do their dirty work for them. My Godfather was a child psychologist. He believed all children were evil, or, at least, that’s the impression he gave me when he told me that I was the one to blame for how my parents treated me the one time I asked him for help. I was a brat. I was obviously born that way, nothing at all to do with my parents. My behaviour never had anything to do with my parents and their complete lack of parenting skills. Of course not. Blame nature, not nurture. Nurture is really quite powerless and completely pointless it seems, especially where nature is concerned. Especially the nature of children of Narcissists. Poor Narcissists, they made the mistake of breeding, of passing on their impressive and totally awesome genes of utter super human supremacy, and the ungrateful offspring spat in their perfectly symmetrical faces.

Children of Narcissists usually don’t ask others for help, because they’re encouraged not to do so. It is an inconvenience. And no one ever believes you, because Narcissists are very adept at putting on a show, appearing perfect, wonderful, sane, reasonable, and good. Their victims always appear crazy, illogical, unreasonable, and evil. And their children are always ungrateful brats.

And people wonder why I keep my distance. Why I don’t confide in my friends. Rarely, if ever, ask for help. I’ve tried to explain… but it’s one of those conundrums which can never be solved. I try to simplify the story, but nothing connected to a Narcissist is ever simple. They use confusion and complication as a tool of power. Keep people’s heads spinning and you own them. When I simplify the story, I make it worse. When I tell the unsimplified version, I make it worse. Lose/lose situation… just the way the Narcissists intended it to be. They win again. And again. And again.

I created my own version of the Witness Protection Program when I severed ties with my parents. It worked for a while. It was nice. Quiet. Simple. Still… Narcissists always know how to find you, when they want to do so. Really, you can only succeed in getting away from them when they are not interested in finding you.

A few years ago I was contacted through a friend by The Samaritans. My mother was trying to find me. Yes, she used The Samaritans, because that’s how Narcissists work. Anything and anyone is a means to an end. They have no conscience. Consciences make you weak. Narcissists do not like to be weak, they will pretend to be weak to lure a victim, but they are just using other people’s weaknesses, such as empathy and caring, against them. Which is very clever. Aren’t they clever, and isn’t everyone else such a weak, caring idiot. I know I am, I was proved this on many an occasion.

My father died recently. You can’t escape from Narcissists and their games even when they die. Fact. In fact, when they die, they often are more powerful than when they were alive. My father knew that, and prepared for it. I knew he would, which is partly why I dreaded the day he would die. My mother knew about my father’s death a whole month before she decided to contact me to inform me of his passing. Why. Because she found that she could not get her hands on his inheritance without me. So, she needed me. To use me to get what she wants. I am keeping her at arms’  length at the moment. It won’t last. I found out about my father’s death, about a month after he had died, from a news article. I thought nothing of it. I tend to detach when something happens. I detached. Then my mother resurfaced. I still remained detached, hoping she would get bored and go away. Shortly after my mother contacted me, my father’s companion contacted me. This thing is not going away any time soon. In fact it is getting more and more complicated by the second. The lovely, quiet, simple life I had finally managed to create for myself is crumbling away into a sticky quagmire of complications. So it goes. Welcome to my world.

Some years ago I came across a book – Going Mad to Stay Sane: The Psychology of Self-destructive Behaviour by Andrew White (which has just been reprinted. The author has a blog too – Narcissism and the Fruit of Suffering). This book… it could be an unofficial autobiography. I don’t know how to thank the author enough. He doesn’t offer an easy solution to a difficult situation, which is awesome in and of itself, what he does is explain every detail of it, and that is very precious to me. Understanding the self, and others, and the dynamics of self, others, and the situation… priceless.

We all have conundrums, Gordian knots, in our lives. It is always easier to play the part of Alexander the Great when it comes to other people’s Gordian Knots, not so easy when dealing with the one which belongs to you. So, before you tell me how to solve my knot, show me how you’ve untangled yours. Then, and only then, will I respect you enough to listen to your solution to mine. Sorry, but life has taught me to be cautious where others are concerned. Especially as I am A Narcissist magnet. I always recognise them. And they always recognise me. I was trained from day one to enable them, feed, them, and completely detach from myself and my needs. I do endeavour to be less delicious to such people, but… the mind is a labyrinth, and life itself, in many ways, is a Gordian knot which even Alexander the Great’s sword couldn’t cut.

Do you know a Narcissist, and do you understand what I’m saying or… is this all the illogical prattle of an unreasonable being?