Let’s play a game…
Let’s play… Spot the Narcissist!
Imagine that you’re at a party, there are lots of people there, this place is packed and buzzing with a mix of all sorts of humans. Going with stats and those sort of number games… someone in this lot of people at this party is probably a narcissist, but who?
Are they who you think they are… are they who they think they are… are you who you think you are… what about who others think you are… and so on?
Some are wallflowers, watching the world go by, observing others, doing the Introvert thing… they’d rather be at home right now, but for some reason they’re not, they’re at this party… maybe they don’t know why they are there.
Some of us just make up the numbers…
Some are loving it, in the thick of it, Extroverting… party party… and enjoying the human contact, networking, making new friends and influencing people… being influenced by new people who make friends with us while the music is playing… yadda yadda… yay!
Some of us are just along for the ride… where and when it stops…
Some are floating between the wall and the centre… mingling, sipping champagne, nomming some weird looking canapes, not sure yet if this is fun yet or something else… but it’s an experience… who knows what might happen… maybe nothing, anything, something… free drinks and food… who cares!
There is someone in the spotlight somewhere telling awesome anecdotes, thrilling their listeners with wild rides of their life, being a consummate entertainer to a rapt audience…let me entertain you!
They once wrestled a tiger in a remote jungle, the tiger wanted to eat them but before the tiger could do that, they’d overpowered it with their brawn and brains… and soon became best mates with that tiger who not only allowed them to ride on its back as it carried them out of the jungle but also taught them to crochet.
They were once stranded in paradise, they were flying solo around the world when their plane disintegrated for no apparent reason, perhaps it got caught in a storm and they had to jump into the void, their parachute didn’t open but they grew wings on the way down… and landed on a cloud which dropped them off in Tahiti, where Vahines showered them with attention – those lovely ladies were far more dangerous than the Hydra they fought while they were in Greece for a layover while they were negotiating world peace between warring tribes.
Fantasist much? Yes, but if you’re in their audience… screw reality! This is a party and anything goes as long as it makes time fly when you’re having fun!
That was my father at a party.
Funny thing is, he hated parties because they were hard work for him. Narcissists will bust a gut to entertain you… as long as they get something out of it. If he could avoid them, he would, however if he had to be there… he’d put on his game face and played the part others needed him to play. He rarely let people down, he was not a party pooper, he was a popper. He could entertain you up the wazoo with his party personality. After a few minutes with him you’d feel on top of the world and that this party was the best one ever!
And strangely for our usual view of narcissists, about it all being about them… he liked to make it all about others, about you – his spotlight was on you! His party was for you! You… awesome you!
It was easy really… he was a narcissist and when narcissists are on their best behaviour, on top of the world, they are great fun to be around. They know how to make you feel special! Even if you’re a devoted grump, they’ll find a way to make you smile and be a silly lover of the ridiculous in life… once they’ve set their sights on you, you’re gonna effing love them, because they know how to make you love yourself… through all the self hate!
Some of his most entertaining anecdotes which people loved to hear… he stole them from books. A few were his own experiences exaggerated, he lived a wild life… narcissists always do, they can make a drama out of absolutely nothing, and it doesn’t have to be a tragedy… it can be a comedy – what you want from them, they’ll give it… as long as it gets them what they want – your devotion to them!
They live that drama as though it was real and then turn it into a story which will be a thrill ride for those who hear it.
I learned a lot from him about how to have fun at a party or other type of social gathering – focus on your audience and give them what they came for, what they hope for, make them forget their social anxieties… make them feel like they’re on top of the world… ma!
Give in to the fun factor, if others have fun because of you… you have fun too! Make everyone feel like they’re the life and soul of the party… even if you have to die to do that!
That shit is effing exhausting… but worth it! We had a blast!!!
My father was an Overt narcissist… Overt narcissists are the more obvious and stereotypical narcissist. They’re in your face with themselves. They can be total a-holes… but they can also be charismatic dreamers who charm you out of your skin, and you’ll enjoy shedding it.
You might regret it later, but the regret will have hues of fun to it even with the hangover… once you get over how mad you are at yourself for imbibing that heady mix of narcohol.
Covert narcissists, on the other hand… are much harder to spot due to their narcissism being undercover of darkness, they work behind the scenes, make you the in your face all up in their face person… and may accuse you of being a narcissist, can convince you of it too, if it serves their purpose to do so. Their in your face narcissism is a hand up your butt, manipulating you as though you’re a hand puppet.
“But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money!”
― George Carlin
They want you to be what they need you to be for them to be who they need and want to be.
They are more delusional.
They’re the ones voted most likely to play the part of the victim… of a narcissist – you’re their candidate for that role… you’re the abuser they love to hate, the narcissist they never stop talking about who manipulates them… while they are really the ones doing the manipulating… but shhhh… shhh…
They’re often the wallflowers at a party, but not the kind which enjoys that role, in fact they hate being the wallflower and they may be the ones staring daggers at the overt narcissist extrovert who is the centre of attention, having fun and sharing fun with others.
They’re only up once they’ve brought others down, down and deeper down… then they’re like – what’s the matter with you, I’m all up and stuff, and you’re bringing me down! They can only be up and happy, once you’re down and miserable… because they’re so low on the scale of happy that for them to fake that shit you need to be real… really depressed… for them to be perky they need someone even lower than them… you’ll do… if you ain’t there before they got their hooks into you… you will be…
My mother was a covert narcissist. Like my father she hated parties and social gatherings, but she denied it where he openly admitted to it. She had this story about herself whereby she was a social butterfly, she was the heart and soul of partydom… but she never lived up to that story. She was like a lead balloon… bitching, whining, moaning, sulking… while pretending to herself that she was smiling, fun, sweet, kind, thoughtful, generous… that’s a Covert narc for you.
Covert narcissists always see themselves as the eternal good guy, the martyr hero, the innocent victim fighting the good fight… random acts of kindness is their wheelhouse… accidentally… deliberately… boastfully… to get their ego boost!
Overt narcissists don’t mind being the villain… if the villain gets to have fun. They’ll even admit to being duplicitous and manipulative if you challenge them… it’s all part of the game!
Castor Troy: Isn’t this religious, ah yes. The eternal battle between good and evil, saint and sinners… but you’re still not having any FUN!
My mother always saw herself as the life and soul of a party, she was the happy flower… she was actually the slug who was hell bent on eating and killing the happy flower. But don’t tell her the truth, she’d destroy you for that, and for less than that! If you were smiling when she wasn’t… how dare you, wipe that shit off your face!
There was one family holiday we all took together… omg… what a frigging nightmare of that enforced game of happy families that was. I hate to admit it, but… that horror of horrors was my idea. Who knew they (my narcissist parents) would actually listen to me (when they never did) that one time they really shouldn’t have.
I’m exceptionally talented in the dumb idiot ideas arena. I was in my teens by then, so I should have known better, but… I kept hoping for Shangri-la.
We went on a Caribbean cruise… seriously… The Love Boat… no… no… no… what sort of TV delusions have you been snorting!?!
… stuck on a small ship… too small for a ship… stuck on board with warring narcissists… WTF was I thinking!?!
There were many awful incidents during that time, the one which stands out the most… perhaps because a penny finally dropped in the wasteland of my brain… was…
…when the ship had an on deck barbecue for lunch.
My father thought this was awesome fun, and he was all for participating in it. So was I… I’ve always had a thang for hot dogs! He said to me – let’s go and have some fun…
dum, dum, dum…
my mother, who was and still is a priggish snob throwback to P.G.Wodehouse (minus the humour), thought this was ‘uncouth’ and something only ‘plebs’ do… not something she would ever do even though she’s the heart and soul of fun!
And because she didn’t want to do it… I wasn’t allowed to do it!
Don’t you dare or there’ll be hell to pay!!!
This was… something which should have been a nothing, but instead it became the something that was everything… the deciding vote to be cast between which warring faction won a point in some amazing race.
Guess who had the deciding vote?
Who had to choose between two narcissists… between the devil and the deep blue sea… the fire or the frying pan…
I ended up choosing my mother over my father, and not lightly or easily, because in that particular black or white choice I knew what I wanted but knew I couldn’t go for it… because I was sharing a very tiny cabin with my mother and that shit was already hell without pissing her off more than she usually was even though she saw herself as sunshine incarnate.
My parents never shared a room… I always ended up stuck with my crazy mother, so she got my loyalty whether it was deserved or not.
Survival makes you do stuff you really don’t want to do…
… and hot dogs have given me gaseous indigestion ever since then, when before they only gave me happy burps.
I ended up in a cold, air-conditioned, fake lighting, false hope, dark dining room, eating soggy salad at a table with other grumpy diners who got to listen to my mother bitching, whining and moaning, ranting and raving as though she was a politician fighting for presidency… about the heathens and barbarians on deck enjoying the sun, sea and BBQ…
I hated myself that day, in that moment more than I’ve ever hated myself… which is a game in and of itself, one which narcissists often inspire in us… Come on down and play how much do you hate yourself and what is it worth in monetary value?… for betraying my joy for the sake of killjoy.
There was an incident later on, on dry land at a resort which all those who had been on the cruise got to experience. There was an evening BBQ, a luau of sorts… my mother, yet again, was the life, heart and soul of the party (poop, poop, poop on that party) and didn’t want to be there, my father… who according to my mother was the actual killjoy… thought it was great fun…
…they began one of their usual arguments with me in the middle… the middle this time decided to get the fuck out of there… let Alpha and Omega duke it out.
I had feet… I traveled with them as far as I could… which was about five paces.
For a moment there was peace and quiet, and I could hear myself… worrying about the consequences of what I’d just done. I knew the price for it would soon come crashing down on me as it always did, crushing the life which had popped its head over the parapet… whether I was responsible for it or not.
My mother, of course, was beside herself with feigned concern… I could have been kidnapped and killed by locals…?… !…? Didn’t I understand the dangers… of a resort hotel which catered to tourists… on an island where the locals were really nice to the tourists who invaded their paradise.
…fuck that, didn’t I get how much of a concerned martyr and saint my mother was!
Oh yeah… I got that…
I also got that tiny sparkle in her eye when for a moment she saw herself being the centre of attention due to her daughter being kidnapped and killed by locals, and she could blame my father for all eternity for that.
I got it when that sparkle died in her eye because not only was I not killed or kidnapped but I was still alive… nothing had happened to me… I could have killed myself, she could have blamed my father for that… omg, why was I such a shit of a daughter!?! After everything she had sacrificed to have me!?! Almost died because of it… damn! I could have done something for once for her, after everything she had done for me… like giving birth to me (she almost died during and doing that!)… ingrate!
I wish I was exaggerating… luckily you can pretend that I am.
Let’s play a game… let’s play… pretend that none of this is true!
Hot dogs still make me smile… but I don’t eat them anymore.
And if you think that shit is weird… here’s some more…
Shortly after this happy family holiday I joined the Church of Scientology… for about a week…
Did I mention my rare and very special ability to make stupid choices?
…before I ran away from that other kind of crazy and was chased by them for running away. They were almost as stalkery as my narcissist parents when you try to get away from them. But they didn’t have the mileage points…
The anecdote about the hotdogs was one I told in my CoS audit sessions… these things are supposed to help you become ‘clear’… don’t get me started on that shit as I signed a non-disclosure bollocks agreement about that… that should have been warning enough…
…when I wasn’t listening to my auditor tell me about how brilliant the CoS was for things which didn’t sound brilliant at all – my auditor had given that particular church all their money and now was beholden to them…
I was listening to them… pretending to listen to me…
A familiar story… where have I heard that before…?
So… you’re in a relationship with narcissists, right?
Many years later…
…at another kind of social party, a dinner gathering which happened to have a Hollywood director there whose child was a member of CoS… and who, when I mentioned having tried that shit out and then run like fuck… wanted to have a chat with me (which bizarrely included comparing my lips to a sofa)…
Party, party… life is a very weird party… when you tell your stories… they all sound like you’re making that shit up just to entertain.
Truth can be stranger than fiction… tell the truth and people are less likely to believe you than when you lie to them… how weird is that!?!
One of the things I’ve learned from narcissists is: Want people to believe you – lie. Not just any lie, figure out what they want you to tell them – then tell them something which fits into that.
If what you want is to tell the truth, because the truth will set you free… adjust your freedom parameters to include no one believing you when you tell the truth. If your ‘truth will set me free’ needs others to believe you for you to be free… good luck with that approach. That may end up tying you up in knots more than lies do.
One can hope… but hope… may be a narcissist…