Tales from Narcville – Gender problems and Blame Games

Have you ever used the phrase – It’s not you, it’s me – and did you mean it when you used it?

Did you really think it was you and not the other person?

Or did you actually think – It’s you and not me – but you did not want to confront the other person with it being about them and not you.

You took responsibility for being the problem in the relationship to make things easier for yourself – you were future problem solving in a preemptive manner. Perhaps you were concerned about how they would react when you accused them of being the problem, or you knew exactly how they would react, perhaps because they are a narcissist and they would turn one problem into a saga of drama, piling problem upon problem until it looks and feels like a real life game of Jenga which always topples over onto you.

You were trying to avoid playing a blame game, or another of the games people play (this link takes you to Eric Berne’s website which explains some of the games people play in relationships) by blaming yourself.

That’s a habit which those who spend time in Narcville tend to do, because whatever it is, it is always your fault whether it is or not. Breaking that habit is difficult if you grew up with narcissists, or have lived a long time with one in your life up close and personal. It’s so much easier to accept all the blame and let them get away with whatever they’re doing than try to make them accountable for even a small portion of the problem.

This is often the narcissist’s calling card:

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Victim card

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I was taught to play a version of the ‘If it weren’t for you…’ (IWFY) game by my parents. This is one of the games which narcissists play, and my parents played it all the time with each other, with me, with other people, with society, and with the world in general.

It’s a blame game which is used by one person to justify why they don’t do something which they often claim and may believe they desire to do, but they don’t actually want to do it, although that reluctance may be subconscious, so they use someone else as the reason why they can’t do it.

Eric Berne classifies it as a marital game played between a restricted wife and a domineering husband:

“The aim of IWFY may be stated as either reassurance – It’s not that I’m afraid, it’s that he won’t let me – or vindication – It’s not that I’m not trying, it’s that he holds me back. “

However, a game like that can be played by anyone taking on the role of the restricted one due to the domineering one, and anyone can be given the role of the domineering one  – they don’t actually have to be domineering, although it helps if they are, to be placed in that role because that part is just there to complement and support the one playing the restricted leading role.

My mother used to play this one with me when I was a child – If it wasn’t for me she would have left my father a long time ago, she wouldn’t be stuck in a dead end marriage, she would be free, single, she would have a career, be successful, be famous, be happy. She also blamed my father for all of that too, and she blamed society for it too due to the conventional view of gender roles at the time. If it wasn’t for everyone else she’d be who she wanted to be and have everything she wanted to have.

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Jean-Paul-Sartre-hell is other people

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She would also use that game to blame me for why she and my father hated each other – I had ruined their marriage by being born, it was perfect until I made it a crowd of three.

However, she also liked to boast about how sneaky she had been in order to have me, that she had deliberately gotten pregnant, kept it a secret until it was too late to do anything about it, because she knew my father did not want children, and since their relationship had gone from bad to worse she decided that having a child would fix things between them. In her words – I thought having a child would make your father and me less selfish.

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its-not-about-narcissism-its-about-me

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Someone recently commented on one of my old posts – Men Are Stronger Than Women – wherein I related a story from my childhood about a lesson in gender issues I learned at school, not in class but through social interaction. It is a bit of a meh post, I’d forgotten about it, and would probably delete it when I eventually get around to tidying up this blog. The best bit about it on rereading it, is that it shows how manipulative I was as a child. It highlights my own narcissistic tendencies – which is always interesting to observe and of which to be aware.

The comment this person made is reasonable, valid, they were not antagonistic or aggressive, and they make some fair points, although they seemed to me to have misunderstood what I was saying (which happens a lot to me – then again maybe I misunderstood what they were saying, that also happens a lot to me). They seemed to suggest that I was putting women down and bigging up men, therefore aiding the subjugation of females by males. Which was not what I thought I was saying (but maybe I misunderstood myself).

In my own experience, when it comes to undermining the confidence of females, women are better at doing that than men are, perhaps because when your own gender puts you down they know exactly where to hit you because females know the weak spots of females better than males do, and you take it more to heart because if a women tells you something is wrong with you, then it must be true.

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Ludwig-Wittgenstein-hell is yourself

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Growing up female you learn quickly to be wary of males, to not trust them, to beware of their intentions, what they say, what they may want to do to you, what they’re thinking and feeling. It’s often a male, like your father, who warns you as a female to be careful with and of men. Your mother is most likely to make that one of your first lessons too – never trust a man – and she may teach that repeatedly as she criticises your father and tells you how much she has suffered because of him and his gender.

As my mother did – my mother was a misandrist, she hated men, and wasn’t shy about it. She was also a misogynist – women can be that too, and when they are, they do it better than men because you don’t expect it from a woman, and it’s also more subtle. They hate you with a smile, bat their eyelashes while tearing you to pieces, and tell you that what they are doing is for your own good, they’re teaching you to be a better female as they are.

As a female you’re not as quick to learn to be wary of other females, sometimes you trust them because they’re female, because in theory you should be safe in their company.

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Narcissist mother

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My mother saw herself as the ultimate mother. And she saw me as the means to prove that to herself, and to all and sundry. She did this in many ways, because a narcissist is flexible like that.

She liked to tell others that I was a monster, a hideously deformed tumor which had grown inside of her and almost killed her, but she had prevailed, and had loved this tumor-child in spite of the challenges which it posed, despite its birth ruining her life, and many other wonderful truths which narcissists tell to make themselves seem like angels who have incarnated in human form to bless the lowly world.

It took me a long time to realise what she was telling other people about me. Perhaps because I didn’t want to know due to having a hard enough time trying to deal with what she was telling me about myself.

Once upon a teenage life, I was at a friend’s house, sitting at the table in her kitchen, chatting about this and that, when my friend’s mother suddenly said to me out of the blue – You’re going to be beautiful when you are older. I was shocked, and lost my manners for a moment, I challenged the statement – Why would you say something like that!?! My friend’s mother smiled, understanding my dilemma, and simply said – I just thought you needed to know that.

Later that day, when I returned to my home, I made the mistake of relating this event to my mother because I was still rattled by it, I was almost confident, and almost had a grasp of self-esteem. She immediately told me that my legs were crooked, and reassured me that I was as ugly as I thought I was, and there would be no miracle cure for me. I would never be beautiful, therefore never loved, as I had my father’s genes and unfortunately his had somehow won over hers – which means she’d always be the fairest of us all, a dainty queen amongst barbarian trolls.

No one would ever love me, I was too ugly and awful to be loved, but that’s okay because she would love me unconditionally as that’s what saintly martyr mothers do. It’s their burden, their job.

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Jason and mom

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She used to tell me that she loved talking to me, confiding in me (and doing it all the time, never shutting up), because I was a great listener. What she actually said was – Talking to me was like talking to a wall, and she liked bouncing things off of me as I was a great flat surface which gave her balls a lot of bounce.

She said that as though it was the most generous compliment she could ever give me, and I should be eternally grateful to her for it because I wasn’t good at anything else. She was showing me what was special about me.

Narcissists have a way of doing that…

If I ever refused to listen to her when she wanted to talk (and she wanted to talk pretty much all the time, unless she was giving me the silent treatment, and even then… she talked to others), then she would punish me for my insolence.

One time I went for a walk. She insisted on accompanying me even though (and perhaps because) I made it clear that I wanted to be alone, but she got bored after a mile and wanted to return home. I wanted to keep going (even though I knew that was a crime in her eyes), and that time I did keep going. When I returned from my walk…

She was lying in bed, her arm bandaged, and a doctor was in her room. He looked at me with suspicion, and indirectly accused me of physically abusing my mother. He’d have accused me directly if she, as a victim of my abuse, had not been so stoic, so used to my abuse that she accepted it as though she deserved it, made excuses for me, and such.

Apparently after I kept going my mother fell off of her fashionable shoes and broke her wrist breaking her fall. This was my fault for leaving her alone. I had physically abused her… by not being physically there for her for a couple of hours.

Those couple of hours were blissful to me… I knew I would have to pay for that!

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narcissistic happy place

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Are narcissists aware of what they’re doing? – is a question which is often asked, more so when people have just discovered they’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist and everything about the interaction comes into question. What was real and what was not? Was any of it real? Did they ever love you or was it all an act?

In my opinion, based on my own experience with narcissists (therefore this is personal not professional), some narcissists (covert ones) are completely oblivious to what they are doing and others (overt ones) are more aware but their awareness is narcissistic therefore it is not the same kind of awareness that a non-narcissist has and considers to be awareness.

Both the oblivious and the aware narcissist share a common perspective – Whatever they did to you is your fault, you asked for it, you provoked them. They are doing to you what you did to them (sometimes before you do it to them – they’re psychic like that), or they’re protecting themselves from what you’ve done and are doing to them.

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“So what do narcissists do differently from regular folk? There are a few things, not all of which are immediately obvious. For one thing, they may actually talk about themselves less…

…it’s far more likely that narcissists would use the word ‘you’ because they blame people for everything and rarely take responsibility for their actions. It always about what you did. ‘I-talk’ isn’t going to help much because not all narcissists like talking about themselves anyway. We’re used to the expression ‘it’s always me me me’ and immediately associate it with narcissism… Nothing could be further from the truth.”

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My experience of my relationship with my mother has made me rather odd in my relationships with women.

Explaining this is complex and may creep you out (as it often creeped me out) – there were times when I had the impression that my mother wanted me to be her replacement husband.

She was frigid, so no sex or any form of physical contact was desired by her. She hated even hugging me – yuck!

My father, her husband, was always disappointing her expectations of him which had a domino effect of destroying her persona as his wife, the woman behind the man (an important aspect of her generation), and other things she saw herself as being for him (without her he would be a nobody!), and that was something she told me about constantly – many of her rages directed at me were about him, triggered by her disappointments with him – his fault = my fault = never her fault.

I reminded her of him, I looked like him, I had his mannerisms, his this and that when it suited her… she punished me instead of him, because he could fight back (if I fought back, and I did try because I was stupid like my father, I paid for it in triplicate – by the power of 3X3 – because I didn’t have the power my father had over her). He was also a narcissist.

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narcissist sensitivity sting

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I had to be her improved version of him for her. Take her out to restaurants, buy her flowers and romantic gifts, woo her, and make her feel like a man makes a woman feel when the man is admiring a female – without the inconveniences of my actually being a man and wanting anything in return for my services.

What I was never allowed to be was myself – me being me was a waste of space and time, a terrible thing to be. This triggered my version of the ‘If it weren’t for you…’ game.

If it weren’t for my mother, my father… I could be myself. I would have been normal, happy, self confident, have self esteem, a career (which I had chosen for myself), a life that was my own (rather than belonged to them), friends (because you can’t have friends around narcissists), and so on. If it wasn’t for them I would not have been a screwed up mess.

The problem with a game like that is it becomes a prison of false hope, the Chateau d’If (which was an actual prison on an island used as a setting in a book – The Count of Monte Cristo – which featured the IWFY game being played). The land of lost dreams which you mourn, a weighty world of if onlies, if it weren’t for them, for that… and rather than doing something about it you make excuses for why there is no point doing anything, you’re too crippled, too paralysed by fear, too far gone into failure, too messed up… it’s a hard habit to break because there is truth in it, but it is also riddled with lies.

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My mother trained me to be male more than female, as she didn’t like being female or other females. She saw femininity as a weakness, and… was intensely envious of women who embraced their femininity and liked being female – How dare they! They were making things worse for other women (her) by being feminine!

But she also hated women who had embraced their masculine side, that was wrong too.

The only right female to walk the Earth was her.

Basically, like most narcissists she hated everyone, because she hated herself, but pretended she was love personified and loved herself. She saw herself as superior, and everyone should admire her for it, aspire to be like her… but fail miserably if they tried.

She was good because others were bad. She was heaven because others were hell. It was never her fault because the fault was yours.

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black and white thinkingvia 9 logical fallacies

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My mother was sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what little girls who want to be boys and never grow up are made of. She saw herself as compassionate like Mother Theresa with the looks of Princess Diana and the guts of Margaret Thatcher, but she was doing what they did before they did it (maybe they were inspired by her – no, they weren’t but she often thought things like that and said so) – that’s a narcissist’s view of themselves, they always were doing it first if it’s viewed as being good, heroic, original, wonderful, popular, etc, by others. If it is viewed as being bad then it has nothing to do with them.

She was a saint, martyr, the epitome of random acts of kindness towards all the lowly people whom she pitied due to her being so generous with her sympathy, sensitivity and empathy that knew no bounds.

If she was mean to you, that was tough love because you were being a pussy and pussy-whipped. Or she wasn’t being mean to you – you were being mean to her. And that is that, don’t argue or talk back to her as that only proves her point.

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shit butterflies and piss rainbows

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Some women, the covert narcissist kind, find me attractive because… I behave a bit like a man but I’m not a man, which means I’m feminine style sensitive to their needs while not expecting them to be sensitive to mine male style, I admire their beauty and don’t compete with them, keep my mouth shut and let them talk, and talk, and talk – bouncing their balls off of my wall.

I have been asked if I’m a lesbian on many occasions, by lesbians, by non-lesbians, by a few men, but mostly by women who think I’m in love with them because they expect that kind of thing, and because of the way I behave – not like a typical female.

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cupid knives

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Have you ever experienced one of those moments when the phrase – It’s not you, it’s me – hits you like a wrecking ball shattering your perception of yourself as being the ‘normal’ one?

Maybe you said it not meaning it, but then… or maybe someone else said it and you heard it the other way around because people often use that phrase to mean – it’s you and not me but I’m saying it’s me because it’s you and you’re a pain in the behind.

Either way… Self reflection kicked in and kicked you in the gut…

Have you ever been creeped out by someone else, only to later realise that the reason you thought they were creepy is because they thought you were creepy, and their creepy behaviour was due to how you were affecting them with what they thought was your creepy behaviour?

Have you ever thought of yourself as being creepy? Too strange for this world? Too weird to be around other people (for their safety, of course)?

Or…

Have you ever had a moment of realising that you’re not as creepy, strange, weird, awkward as you thought you were, and that the reason you thought that about yourself is because you were surround by creepy weirdos who made your non-creepy weirdo seem odd?

Have you ever realised that – It’s not me, it’s the other person… and yet… perhaps it’s not as simple as that?

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Vane_black-sails“Are you as surprised as I am that I’m the only one here behaving myself?”
    ―Charles Vane to Eleanor Guthrie, Black Sails.

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If it wasn’t for my mother, and my father, if it wasn’t for the narcissists in my life and growing up in Narcville… perhaps I would be normal and be who other people want me to be for them, say what they want me to say to please them, do what they want me to do to make them feel right about what they do, instead of being a creepy weirdo who thinks it is okay to express my views the way that I do come what may…

If it wasn’t for them, maybe I’d not be so rebellious… maybe I’d be a member of society as I should be rather than a bit of a little match girl…

…because when your daily bread as a child and an adult was the awful truth about yourself, and nothing you did or said or were was ever right for anyone else, at some point you stop giving a shit and just go with being authentic… whatever that is.

Gosh, I’ve talked a lot… over to you. What do you think?

 

 

 

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33 thoughts on “Tales from Narcville – Gender problems and Blame Games

  1. “there were times when I had the impression that my mother wanted me to be her replacement husband”…and your impression was right on. I saw this from the outside looking in at my ex narc friend’s family. Her oldest son plays the role of her replacement husband. I was the replacement for awhile until I woke up. Her kids loved me- and I loved them too & I know the burden was kind of lifted when I was around. They could be normal kids. The type of relationship is a form of incest really…not necessary physically or sexually involved but the boundaries are not clear as to where one begins and one ends which in the end is a perfect storm in forming more narcissists within the family. I recall her saying that a friend of her took baths with her 8 year old son. She wanted to see my reaction. I now know it was her that she was referencing. A kid in an adult’s body (a narcissist) is dangerous in this way, as they have no limits and their kids suffer as a result of this boundary invasion. Nothing is off limits, no rules or protection = unhappiness. I just wanted to comment on this because I too saw it happening and what you experienced & your impression was so true. You are so insightful & awesome and I am in awe of your strength 🙂

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing that 🙂

      It was very creepy on so many levels when that idea struck me, when that impression became conscious. I know it was more real than I would have liked for it to be. I wanted it to be a figment of my own warped self, but I knew it was less of a figment of mine and more of a narcissistic thing.

      I didn’t know about NPD at that time but I knew my parents were crazy… hard not to know that because they did everything to make that obvious, although for them it was everyone else who was insane.

      I knew I was crazy, At that time I was focused on trying to be less crazy, sort my inner mess out, and things like thinking my mother was trying to make me her replacement husband… both helped and didn’t help. That period in my life… I have blanked a lot of it out because it was a constant onslaught of utter insanity.

      For instance – There was an electrical glitch. My mother first decided that this electrical glitch was my father’s spirit reaching out to her for help – he was alive and fairly healthy at the time. Then she decided that my father’s lover was using witchcraft to do something or other… this was completely ludicrous but for my mother it was ‘sane’. Anyone who questioned her was dismissed very viciously.

      I know you know how the story goes when it comes to narcissists creating realities and making you a part of them whether you like it or not.

      As I see it, when we tell the story, our story, their story which sucked us in even if we were refusing it, however insane it may sound… we are releasing ourselves from it, and we may also help others who are experiencing what we experienced.

      When someone says – this crazy stuff happened – it allows all of us to say – this crazy stuff happened to me too. And through saying it out loud we take a lot of the sting out of the crazy. Keeping it hidden hurts us and helps people like narcissists.

      Sometimes we have to live it, live with it, before we can tell it, and understand it.

      I too am in awe of your strength and your insight 🙂 such is the flow from soul to soul who share an experience of life.

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      1. I love how you said “keeping it hidden hurts.” It does, it’s so painful…happy you have this blog. It has allowed me to free myself “soul to soul” and draw strength. Thank you ❤

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  2. I glad that your friend’s mother gave you the compliment – she was right. You are beautiful, and not just physically. Your mother taking that away from you and at a time in life when we are so concerned with our bodies – well, that was parricularly mean and mean-spirited. My mother did similar things, but usually it was more about undermining my confidence so that she could gain control.

    I loved Linda’s comments about Taos and Sedona, but Taos in particular. There is really something about it. I felt very much a part of the universe there, but it was also very humbling. I got that I’m small, not in an inferior way, but just a tiny blip on Time’s radar.

    Good post. 🙂

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      I’m just glad to have had that seed planted in there, doesn’t matter if it was true or not, all that really mattered is that it made me question things. Once we question the reality we are told is the only reality… the rest is up to us to figure out, and to realise that we can figure things out for ourselves, question reality and find our own.

      I’ve had those moments of seeing how small I am… a small atom in an ocean of atoms… it can be a rather lovely and exciting experience when it is natural. To be meaningless and yet also see how the small things matter as they are an intrinsic part of all that is big.

      Wide open spaces embrace every tiny grain of sand and dust!

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  3. Your description of being the only ‘normal’ one in Narcville reminded me of Saffy in the UK sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous!”

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    1. That’s an absolutely fabulous observation! 😀

      When I used to watch Ab Fab, the scenes between Edina and Saffron made me cringe under the weight of the all too familiar, it was actually quite good therapy because it made me laugh at the absurdity of my relationship with my mother. I was very much like Saffron, eerily so, I even did the whole dressing up dowdy and escaping into logic and intellect.

      Thank you for sharing!

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  4. “It took me a long time to realise what she was telling other people about me. Perhaps because I didn’t want to know due to having a hard enough time trying to deal with what she was telling me about myself….” yes, in my experience, this was my reality as well. As this truth unraveled, the entire sordid story made sense. Always everything was my fault. I fell coming into one of our homes carrying 2 pieces of cheesecake from a neighbor, and I sprained my ankle and a big knot came upon my shin, I was 10 and she got mad and stood over me yelling for me to get up and accused me of being an ox….I had dropped one piece of cheesecake and she made me go back and tell the neighbor that I was clumsy and needed another piece.
    And the part about not having friends…I could never have friends..but then we never stayed in one place very long, because of the physical abuse..but my mom did not talk to me at all, she screamed, stayed in her room, and locked me in my room..literally locked me in my room…Thank you for this sharing. I continue to heal and am so grateful for removing myself from the grand illusions of a mother that cares.Namaste’
    ..

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      It can be very confusing to grow up in that kind of environment because it is so unstable, so dependent upon the shifts and mood swings of the parent. Sometimes it can take a lifetime for us to figure out our own story, and the stories of others who participated in the creation of our story. It can take a while for us to feel safe enough to look at our story as it was and let it out, tell it, then let it be and accept it.

      I remember a long time ago while I was reading Castaneda, he mentioned that mothers often have this hole in themselves after giving birth and nothing can fill that hole once it is created. Of course a lot of what he wrote was BS as was later revealed, but that piece of a tale explained something for me, as a metaphor. It explained my mother and my father to me, and some of myself as well.

      Some people have a hole within and nothing can ever fill it, and much of the crazy stuff they do is a desperate attempt to fill the hole and be whole, but often all they end up doing is making holes in other people, and those other people may make holes in other people, and so on. Until someone stops and says… maybe this hole isn’t as scary as it seems, maybe it can fill itself if I just stop and let it be, understand its story.

      Sometimes our wounds are the source of healing for not just ourselves, but others too… we heal by knowing our wound, our wound heals us by teaching us its wisdom 🙂

      Take good care of and be gentle with yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, my mother was not wanting me, but it was not me..it was she did not want to be pregnant at 16 years old and forced to marry my biological father. ( my grandfather, her father, was a pentecostal minister) and so she resented it all. My grandparents raised me till I was 6 when she married the stepfather. Turns out my biological father was very unstable as well. He committed suicide in 1984. He never was involved in my life either….my soul sure took the awaken or else route this lifetime😀
        This is where I began healing…understanding it was their stuff not mine… I had to let it go to experience healing..and to end the dysfunctional narcissistic cycle. Thank you for your excellent and courageous sharing. Very empowering…

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        1. Thank you for sharing such a powerful story 🙂

          It’s like the roots of a tree, all these lives which come together, tangled and twisted, forming a family, sometimes nourishing our growing sapling with sweetness, sometimes with bitterness, depends on where those roots get their food, and they’re a part of us, but also not a part of us, it’s up to us the kind of tree we become, how we grow, even if they influence some of our growth. Sometimes a bitter food creates a beautiful being.

          Understanding that it is their stuff and not yours is incredibly healing because we so often take on their wounds and we can’t heal their wounds.

          It’s so wonderful to hear about people breaking free from dysfunctional cycles, it has a ripple effect, passes on healing.

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    1. OMG, I loved that meme too much. I found it on Pinterest, which is a great resource for images and ideas, and people who Pin things often say things like – I laughed too much at this!

      I laughed too much at this! 😉

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  5. i have a question. when your friend’s mother told you you would be beautiful when you got older, why, exactly, were you upset? i have another question. i hope it doesn’t come across as rude. is your mother as attractive as she thinks she is? i’m asking because my mother thinks she’s extremely beautiful, and she actually is, which posed many problems for me growing up. popular opinion is that i look exactly like my father. the truth (as i see it) is that i look just as much like my mother. however, i am not as attractive as she is. this, to me, is why people are so quick to say that i don’t look anything like her. the experience of growing up in the same house with her was much like yours. it was like…that beauuuuutiful woman…and those other three toads. that’s what it felt like. there was only room in our household for one beautiful person, and, there was REALLY only room for one beautiful female. the point i’m trying to make is that her beauty (and my non-beauty) was just one more thing that kept anyone from believing me when i tried to speak up about her. it felt to me as though her beauty, literally, blinded people. her beauty, her sophistication, her mannerisms, all of it. she knew it, too. it was her greatest weapon (she is getting older now, and it is fading, which is just making her meaner and crazier). meanwhile, my non-beauty made me, literally, automatically to blame. in terms of self-love and self-care, i never had a chance. to this day, those things remain the hardest part of my recovery. that was absolutely the hardest thing about being her daughter -just feeling like a complete and total worthless, ugly piece of shit in her presense, and, having other people pretty much confirm this. i’ve realized that i don’t even view myself as ugly, but, trying to get over being programmed to believe i am is the hardest thing i’ve ever done. it goes beyond feeling just ‘ugly’, it’s more like, disgusting…completely unworthy…completely undeserving…soiled…stained. that’s why i asked what bothered you so much about your friend’s mother’s comment. was it just because you were so not used to being complimented? did you think you didn’t deserve it? did you think she was insulting the way you looked at the time? why do you think she said, “i just thought you needed to hear it.”?

    i agree with you about the ‘if it wasn’t for…’ game. it’s a waste of time. you can’t change it. all you can do is learn to live through it. i am an acon, and that makes me weird. if you want to be in any kind of relationship with me, that’s something you’re just going to have to accept. i don’t mean that in a narcissistic, “you have to deal with me abusing you” sort of way, i just mean, if you’re looking for ‘normal’ (whatever that is), go somewhere else.

    just some comments on gender…i’m gay and don’t think it’s any coincidence that every narcissist in my life (except for my father) has been female (i was not involved with any of them romantically). being attracted to females, i just think it is much easier for me to spot the males. also, i was a very gender non-conforming child, which my mother hated. she was very girly, and wanted me to be. i was feminine (and masculine), but, not girly. it’s very interesting that your mother tried to make you masculine. never heard that one before.

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing and asking 🙂

      It doesn’t come across as rude at all, it actually made me think some more about the experience which is always insightful.

      It happened in my teens, which was some time ago so a lot of the memory is vague, the vivid part of it stayed with me because, well, I really did need to hear what she said to me – she was very right about that part of it. Those words were a gift which gave me a bit of light to guide me through all the darkness. It may have been a vain thing, but every tiny morsel helped me in those days.

      There have been a few people along my road of life who have done something similar to what she did, give me a gift no strings attached, and I’ve never forgotten them or what they did for me. They showed me that there were some truly good souls in the world, it wasn’t all made up of narcissists and people like that, and that it was good to be good. They also let me know that I wasn’t as bad as I thought I was, at least to them I wasn’t and that was something worth considering. Those moments of goodness made a huge difference to the path I took. I fought very hard against myself because of them, as well as fighting hard for myself because of them. I quit being manipulative, and that was a hard battle because I was trained to be that way and not trained to not be that way.

      One of the most grueling aspects of growing up with narcissists is dealing with the narcissistic version of awareness which has been passed onto you. Every wound they give you is a wound which many humans have, and there is a dark side of empathy which is one that can be used to destroy others from the inside out as it has been used by the narcissists you know to destroy you from the inside out – because that’s what has been done to them and they’re passing it on. You have to rise above that, turn destruction into creation… sometimes doing that makes life so much harder for you.

      All those things you said about how you feel about yourself regardless of what you know intellectually and logically – every human on this planet experiences it in some form, maybe not as intensely as you, but they have that within them and it spurs a lot of what they say and do, and that’s why they may gang up on you, may side with your narcissists – your narcissists get them to side with them against you because they know what is in those people, deep dark inside, and they use it consciously and unconsciously.

      So much of what happens between humans is unconscious. It can be very difficult to be conscious of it – it makes you very weird and rather creepy.

      I wasn’t upset by what my friend’s mother said, I was shocked in a pleasant surprise manner. It was unexpected and it seemed so genuine. Remember that when you grow up with narcissists everything that is said to you, especially a compliment, has strings and stings attached. This didn’t and I didn’t know how to deal with it.

      Also my friend’s family were so different from mine, they really seemed to care for each other, and they were very straight (rather than completely crooked like mine). They were proper parents rather than parents like mine who behaved like they were the same age as me, sometimes younger, especially when I had friends over. My parents would compete with me to win the friendship of my friends. Very weird.

      This incident also had the contrast of when I returned home and stupidly relayed what my friend’s mother said to me to my mother. I will never forget the way my mother reacted. The way she told me that I had crooked legs, the look on her face and the tone in her voice. That need to steal my moment of happiness away from me for herself, and how she succeeded and was relieved by it. It was all very matter of fact, yet also had a sinister undercurrent. I saw something that day which was a spark of real awareness dawning. It never faded but it did go through many permutations.

      I was also a typical teenager, so very awkward about my looks and body and such things. I also didn’t like being singled out or paid attention (because that meant trouble in Narcville). So this was like a trifecta of awkward inspiring things for me. And she said it in front of my friend… I may have been a bit worried my friend would see that as a problem due to my paranoia about anyone singling me out for a compliment in front of my parents.

      Lots of things to think about…

      And yes, my mother was actually physically beautiful. It was very important to her. It was in some ways her only possession by the time I was born, she’d given up a lot of the other things through which she had an identity by then, and she always had an excuse (my father’s fault usually or mine) for why she didn’t pursue them. My father was very cruel, so some of her blaming of him wasn’t just fabrication. And he did nag her until she gave everything up to help him with his career, but he never gave her kudos for that – because he knew she wanted it. Much of what she did with me was a knock on effect of what had happened between her and her own father, which also played a part in her choice of my father as her husband, and her relationship with my father was narcissist versus narcissist… and therefoe a never-ending saga of hell.

      I get a lot of what she did to me, why she was and is the way she was and is, what was and is going on with her, what had been done to her and so on… it’s strangely comforting to know the story behind your own story, yet also rather bleak. Because narcissists are stuck there… and a part of you is also stuck there due to them keeping you stuck there.

      But the rest of us can understand, and figure things out, and hold onto those moments which are beyond narcissism. Like… it doesn’t matter if I’m beautiful or not, what matters is if that matters to me and what it makes me say and do, to myself and to others.

      Hope I made some sense, I’m rather spaced out at the moment 🙂

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      1. “So much of what happens between humans is unconscious. It can be very difficult to be conscious of it – it makes you very weird and rather creepy.”

        soooooo true. reminds me of a lyric from a song by a band called everclear. the song is about the lead singer’s growing up without a father. he says (thanks to his father not being around), “i will always be weird”. it used to really bother me that others perceived me as weird, and that i never fit in. it’s much easier to deal with now, though, because i understand why. it’s lonely sometimes, but, i understand now that it’s just the way it is.

        i am also shocked by compliments. i’m also immediately suspicious. my first thought is, “what do you want?” i knew that’s why your friend’s mother’s comment upset you without you even saying. i remember well that feeling of being in the homes of “normal” families. i was utterly fascinated by any good relationship between a mother and daughter. i remember that feeling when i went away to college as well. i couldn’t believe girls’ mothers would call them just to talk! it was like, “what?! your mother likes you???” i would call my mother and she would say, “didn’t i just talk to you?” i truly believed all mothers and daughters hated each other.

        your story of how your mother took the moment of your friend’s mom’s compliment from you is making me quite emotional. i know that feeling. you weren’t stupid for telling her. something made you feel good and you just wanted to share it with her. but, of course, she had to take it from you. there’s nothing quite like looking in your own mother’s face and seeing that happy cruelty. it should have been a compliment for her as well, but, of course, it was not.

        “I get a lot of what she did to me, why she was and is the way she was and is, what was and is going on with her, what had been done to her and so on… it’s strangely comforting to know the story behind your own story, yet also rather bleak. Because narcissists are stuck there… and a part of you is also stuck there due to them keeping you stuck there.”

        yeah, we’re so close to our mothers in relation to what was done to them, because they’re doing the same thing to us. but, we’re so far apart from them in how we’re choosing to deal with it. it’s the one thing my mother and i have in common, but, it can’t ever have any beneficial effect on our relationship.

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        1. Yes, I do that too, ‘What do you want?’ is my first reflex when complimented, it’s not always a wrong one to have. The reflex is always going to be there but I’ve added an upgrade to it which reminds me that sometimes all people want is to give you a compliment because they feel like it, it makes them feel good and I can allow myself to feel good about it too, share in the fun rather than worrying about the other shoe dropping.

          A little upgrade here and there to my system has made me less uncomfortably weird. I’ll always be weird, but it can be a fun and funny kind of weird. Blogging has taught me a lot about it being okay to just be myself, and exploring other blogs and the internet has shown me that everyone is weird, everyone has a story inside of them. I think that we all think we’re weird compared to others, and being weird is more normal than we realise because we get so caught up in how we feel and forget that others are probably feeling the same way too.

          There was this intriguing documentary on UK TV a while back which showed the sort of things people do when they hang up their normal outfit and just indulge in being themselves. It was wonderful to see human weirdness being celebrated.

          For me understanding my mother’s story, why she is the way that she is and does what she does, has helped to alleviate some of the gunge which got clogged in me. I don’t ever want to have a relationship with her, and definitely don’t want her to love me because her love is poison, but I don’t feel weighed down in the same way by the issues. I’m still angry at her, and always will be, but the anger is healthier for me, it’s doing the job that anger is meant to do and protects me.

          Same applies to my father, understanding his story better has shifted my perspective.

          And researching NPD has made a big difference. I don’t feel so crushed by everything as I used to. I can handle my own crazy better these days. When I get a spell of the old stuff I can walk and talk my way through it, guide myself, without tripping over and landing in shit as often.

          Going NC really helped, as did spending time with healthy people, and blogging about my story, breaking my silence, has been amazing, and the responses I’ve had, meeting people like you – that is the most incredible gift.

          I’m feeling strangely positive about life, which isn’t freaking me out as much as it might have done not so long ago, and I’m not as afraid of losing it as I used to be. Being unhappy always felt like a safer place to be. Anyway, we’ll see what happens. Just got to keep going come what may 🙂

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          1. your blog is teaching me a lot as well. it’s teaching me that i don’t always have to be that person hanging around the perimeter and not participating. it’s okay to speak, and reveal things about myself, and it won’t always be a complete and total disaster. in fact, it might actually be a very good and helpful thing. so, thank you for that:)

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            1. Cool! Thank you! 🙂

              One of the best gifts I gave to myself was accepting that I was a mess and learning to enjoy it rather than fear it. That change in perspective has made a big difference to how I experience myself, others, and life.

              It’s amazing how wonderful life can be when you just let yourself be as you are and don’t worry about the things which narcissists taught you to worry about. Narcissists make you paranoid about being yourself, because that’s how they feel so you have to feel it too. They’re so anxious about not being perfect… screw perfect! Being perfect (or pretending to be) makes people more uncomfortable around you than if you just own up to being a mess.

              Life is strange and so are humans!

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              1. i will definitely have to try that…learning to enjoy being a mess. since i truly am a mess, it’s really the only choice i have:)

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                1. Being a mess and embracing it is a powerful experience, not just for you but for others too. I’ve had so many great interactions with others, strangers and friends, due to admitting I’m a mess, and admitting it with a sense of relaxed ownership of messiness rather than shame. It allows others to relax around you and admit to their own mess, as well as allowing all of us to see where we’re rather awesome, and many other things, and how we can work together. The only people who can’t stand being a mess, being human, or others being a mess, being human, and enjoy it, are narcissists, so it makes for quite a good narc-detector when you own up to being a mess and let it shine.

                  Narcs are always trying to be perfect, superior, the smartest person in the room, and they expect that pretense of their progeny, of those they are using as extensions of their identity. It is way too stressful keeping up false appearances… much more fun just to let it all hang out and be messy. 🙂

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  6. “Have you ever been creeped out by someone else, only to later realise that the reason you thought they were creepy is because they thought you were creepy, and their creepy behaviour was due to how you were affecting them with what they thought was your creepy behaviour?” — Yes.

    “Have you ever thought of yourself as being creepy? Too strange for this world? Too weird to be around other people (for their safety, of course)?” — Yes.

    Or…

    “Have you ever had a moment of realising that you’re not as creepy, strange, weird, awkward as you thought you were, and that the reason you thought that about yourself is because you were surround by creepy weirdos who made your non-creepy weirdo seem odd?” — Yes.

    “Have you ever realised that – It’s not me, it’s the other person… and yet… perhaps it’s not as simple as that?” — Oh hell yes.

    Good post. I relate to so much of this. Even to the part where some people mistakenly think you are a lesbian because you don’t fit the stereotypical gender role.

    My stepdaughter and I went to a spiritual retreat in Taos, New Mexico this past weekend. It was intense. Maybe the most intense two days of my life. The retreat was for women only, held in a church, a very Christian church, Calvary de Taos. The atmosphere in the church was like…. a foretaste of heaven. The atmosphere in the beautiful village of Taos, on the other hand, was…. hmmm…. I don’t know how to explain it. Odd. Also intense, but in an upside down way. I am still assimilating and decompressing. Then I come here and read this….

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      I also can answer ‘Yes’ to all of those things!

      That’s a very intriguing story, experience, and a great example of microscosm and macroscosm. The juxtaposition between the atmosphere of the retreat and that of the surrounding village is fascinating, and worth exploring.

      Recently I’ve been house hunting, and being aware of not only the house I’m considering living in, its vibes, the story of those who ave been living there, and many other things of the place, but also the community it is in, has become a matter of awareness. A house can be perfect on its own, but it also needs to be considered within the context of the greater house and home – the home of the house needs to be understood. As the village which is home to the retreat needs to be understood – how does one relate to the other, what if you took that retreat and placed it somewhere else?

      We’re all connected by invisible threads… there are times when the invisible becomes visible, and it’s up to us to see it and learn from it.

      What a wonderful experience you had!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree about the invisible threads connecting us all, and the importance of considering the home your future home lives in, its surrounding community and history.

        History… it is everywhere in Taos.

        Yes, I have wondered if that retreat, held in a different community, would have been the same or different. I believe it would have been different anywhere else. The intensity would probably not have been there without the surrounding mountains, the high altitude forests, the artsy hippie historic Olxe Plaza, the Native American Pueblo, the juxtaposition of young and old, rich and poor, famous, infamous, and unknown/anonymous. I would like to live there…. I think…

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          1. I had to check out if there was an Olxe Plaza somewhere, but Google said No (I didn’t search very deeply though). Wouldn’t it have been intriguing if auto incorrect had led us to some wonderland, a Shangri-La.

            I’ve never been to that part of the USA, the images of it are always so stunning, and the culture so vividly rich with all its mixes of old and new. I did try going once, but the places I wanted to visit were all booked up for a festival, or something like that, and I ended up somewhere else entirely where a chance meeting changed the course of my life.

            Life is such a strange adventure, and the experiences we have are often unexpected.

            Have you ever been to a vortex? I always wondered what that would be like.

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                1. Well, I’m not really sure that I believe in a vortex. I didn’t experience anything out of the ordinary in Sedona. As for the giant ancient tree in our back yard, we joke that it is a vortex because of the extreme sudden weather changes we often get here. Super cells, mesocyclones, hail literally the size of baseballs, funnel clouds, dust storms, flash floods. We get single digit temps in the winter and triple digits in the summer. Our severe weather often comes out of nowhere, a calm sunny day with nothing unusual in the forecast and then WHAM.

                  However, it is probably due to living where the high plains and the high desert meet, not to any vortex. 🙂

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