I once craved an eclair.
It wasn’t the first time I’d experienced that kind of craving.
I have always had a thing for eclairs, especially coffee ones… with coffee creme patissiere inside (if it has ersatz cream inside – it’s a fraud eclair!)
I even wrote a song all about my eclair craving. I’m that dementedly in love with a food stuff! – This condition is known as Flangiprop.
I once had such a craving for an eclair that I thought myself through the whole process of going out to get one, spending what I knew was too much for one, eating it, very slowly in spite of my desire to wolf it down, and it disappearing far too quickly for the price, the effort, and… how little it would fill that eclair-shaped hole inside of me.
I thought it all through to the point where I almost believed I’d done it without actually having done anything other than think about it. I could taste eclair without having tasted an eclair in ages.
I never bothered going out and getting that eclair. I had been there, done it… without being there and doing it.
This little story struck me at the time as being significant, and stuck with me, because it is incredibly silly.
It showed me rather starkly how often I don’t do things because I overthink them. Not only do I overthink, but I argue with myself every step of the way.
A bit like this cartoon:
I know exactly why I overthink, and argue with myself over each thought – spend enough time with a narcissist and you too can have this problem!
It’s like playing chess 24/7/365 (366 in a leap year) only without the usual rules of the game – those keep changing and you have to constantly update your mind with the new and improved system the narcissist has devised to beat you.
Stop playing the game… says a clever person who has never had the pleasure of playing mental chess with a narcissist. You look at them with utter befuddlement, slap your head, hug them and thank them for stating the obvious which hadn’t occurred to you over the course of the eons that your mind has been working overtime trying to figure out how to do exactly that.
This is not an option. You can try not playing it, and you have tried doing that, but narcissists don’t register that little detail as it’s not actually allowed according to rule #4 billion and six, with penalties for being an idiot who thinks you can just walk away from the game outlined in paragraph 300.
And no, that rule does not apply to them, they can leave the game at any moment, be gone for years and will expect you to still be there if and when they decide to come back. If they don’t come back, they have spies to check on you to make sure you aren’t breaking the rules of the game. That would be dishonourable of you, you’d be cheating and you wouldn’t want to do that, now would you!
This clip from this film shows a classic mental chess game with a narcissist:
The first rule of dealing with a narcissist – Make sure you’re not the one who is the narcissist.
If you’re a narcissist you will do everything in your power to not be the narcissist and to prove that everyone else is. And you will prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt because you’ll transfer all your shadows and doubts onto to others.
Let them have it because you don’t want it. You don’t want the bad stuff, you want the good stuff!
You’re the good, not the bad or the ugly, and the few bad things you do can be justified with such righteousness that you’ll cannonise yourself.
Even if you momentarily entertain the thought that you could improbably be a narcissist, you’ll have an excuse list so long that it may look like you’ve got every disorder in the DSM except NPD… which is quite cool because it proves how unique you are – Everyone is a narcissist these days, that’s so last season… but you, you’re a disorderista of the swishiest variety. It’s rather useful to own these other disorders as if anyone tries to force you to face something which you don’t want to face you can simply blame your behaviour on a disorder. It’s not your fault, it’s the fault of the disorder which was given to you by someone else – so it’s actually their fault.
If everyone you’ve ever met is a narcissist… including the person who serves you coffee in a busy coffee house who keeps forgetting that you’re a special snowflake, and just because they have to serve hundreds of caffeine-deprived people in the space of an hour (these are irrelevant details) that doesn’t justify why they don’t understand that you’re more important than everyone else and need ultra-sensitive treatment or you’ll have a sad for which you will never forgive them even if you can’t recall their name or what they look like…
If you’re always the victim and never the victimiser…
If everyone else is the problem except you…
If you’re surrounded by narcissists, but somehow you’ve never wondered about the free diagnoses you hand out so liberally… and what that means about you…
Someone recently shared a story with me about their friendship with a person(a) on Facebook who posts articles about narcissistic parents, narcissistic abuse, and how to protect yourself from narcissists by spotting the ‘red flags’ which identify them.
This someone was treated by this Facebook ‘friend’ to a whole slew of ‘red flags’ including a final discard… and yet guess who ended up wondering if they were a narcissist, and guess who was convinced that they didn’t have a narcissistic bone in their body.
The second rule of dealing with a narcissist – If you think you’re the narcissist, double, triple and quadruple check that opinion. Especially the source of it – narcissists love to make you out to be the narcissist.
These days the moment you label someone a narcissist you get the kind of support from others which you don’t even have to work for – the witch hunt is on and working in the narcissist’s favour.
They can be convincing, because they convince themselves of it first, and will get you to believe it, because they believe it themselves and because everyone has narcissistic tendencies… and if you’re not a narcissist you will worry yourself into doubter’s hell about the slightest narcissistic behaviour you find in yourself, and you will tear yourself apart trying to ‘fix’ what is wrong with you.
Once it occurs to them to label you a narcissist, everything falls into place for them. They can’t fathom how come they didn’t realise you were narcissist before (this just proves how innocent and good they are)! OMG, it all makes sense now! All those times you said no to them when they (made an inappropriate and unrealistic demand) asked you for a tiny favour… and you made them feel bad for doing it!
They can excuse their shitty treatment of you using one word – Narcissist – against you.
You’re a narcissist, narcissist, narcissist… they will keep repeating, nagging you to death, and feel self righteous while doing it.
You’re evil incarnate, a monster, not human, a Machiavellian villain who has been masquerading as a hero… no wonder you didn’t save them from all those dragons and perils! You are all those dragons and perils!!!
They will use every article they find about narcissists against you, and they will research the condition thoroughly because:
a) – It gives them ammo for their you-destroying gun. When you bent over backwards to please them – Love-bombing. When you decided to stand up for yourself after they accused you of something you didn’t do – Gaslighting. When you were ill and they needed you to cater to their needs – Playing the victim.
b) – They need to know how to not behave, how to adjust their persona, and how to prepare their defense should you decide to flip things around on them – narcissists are known to twist things around to suit them and they need to protect themselves against you doing that.
c) – They need to learn exactly how a victim of narcissists experiences a narcissist as they need to incorporate all of that (and I do mean ALL of it) into their story when telling (recruiting) others about how you, the narcissist, abused them, the innocent victim. They need to become the victimiest victim in the world (kind of like they need to always be the smartest person in the room) as they can’t allow anyone to harbour the slightest doubt or to dismiss them the way that they regularly doubt and dismiss others.
When I was about 18 months old, my father suffered from an almost fatal case of blood-poisoning. It was almost fatal because he passed out at the wheel of his car and crashed into a ditch – thanks to a hitchhiker who found him, managed to get the car out of the ditch and drive to the nearest hospital, my father was treated. However he wasn’t out of the near death experience woods.
It took him months to recover, and during that time he was psychotically delusional due to the poison in his system. I only know about this because my mother liked to tell me this story. My father never spoke about it.
Each time my mother told it, it got more and more dramatic, with her as the central character – the star! The tragic figure, the martyred saint (her favourite role), who was surrounded by horror, by evil, by villains who were trying to kill her innocent beauty, and yet somehow lived to tell the tale (over and over again and again) – so, she was a heroin of mythic proportions.
I apparently had German measles at the time (which was inconsiderate of me as I needed care, I was also displaying weakness which made her look bad, and I should have known before I got such a childish and irrelevant illness that it would be a nuisance to her – and I wasn’t doing it right, when she got German measles as a child she almost died!)…
I once floated off with the tide when left in a flotation device for infants in the sea (I think that I was probably making a bid for freedom with my tiny legs kicking desperately)… my mother only became aware of this after several annoying beach-goers disturbed her to inform her with their stupid judgmental concerns that her child had almost crossed the Mediterranean and perhaps she should stop sunbathing… why do people feel the need to stick their noses in other peoples’ business!?! She only did something about it because otherwise it might ruin her perfect mother image.
During the time my father was on the verge of death, my mother found herself in such a precariously Damsel in Distress position that you’d think she preferred it to other positions…
He kept accusing her of poisoning him, and his family (who selfishly with evil intent) visited him regularly (hoping he would die so that they could claim his fortune and cut his wife and child out of their share) believed him (a crazy person!).
My mother wasn’t totally delusional about my father’s family – they did hate her, and they did love him more for his money than anything else.
My father was the eldest of a big family which didn’t have a responsible father and had an hysterical mother who once chased her husband to the station where he was catching a train to elope with his mistress while carrying a meat cleaver in her purse… just in case, you know…
My father replaced his father, even though his father was still around (except when he was in jail), as head of the family. His siblings became his children. His mother became… dependent upon him. He was adored and hated for this for a variety of behind closed doors reasons.
One family myth tells the tale of a mother who decided to treat her eldest child badly because when she had her next child she didn’t want it, but she was a good Catholic in a good Catholic country so… she felt really guilty about having such thoughts, for having feelings, and made penance by hating the child she loved and loving the child she hated.
Other children were born, and they were all loved more than the first because… penance never ends. This was not a secret in the family… or outside of it.
Is it any wonder that my father developed the kind of – fuck you world, you’re all a bunch of assholes – attitude that he had. He figured everyone was out to slice a piece of him off, get their pound of flesh, and they didn’t care how much it hurt him, so why should he care how much he hurt them.
Seems logical. Even if it is twisted.
Some theorise that a narcissist is created by being spoiled… there are many ways to spoil a child.
My father rarely spoke about his childhood unless it was to give credit to those who helped him develop a natural talent which enabled him to drag his way out of poverty and amass a small fortune (especially by today’s standards) which allowed his family to live well.
His went against family pressure to seize it, his hands bled for it, his heart died for it, it was his… and they wanted it, felt entitled to it – fuck the details of it!
My mother never let them forget the details of it, because the moment she joined forces with my father – he belonged to her and she owned the copyright to his being and everything connected to it.
Once a narcissist has a relationship with you – you belong to them, and should be grateful that you do because you didn’t exist until they noticed you.
You – they will study you until they know you better than you know yourself, they will obsess over you and tell you that this is true love… everything is wrong with you, but don’t worry, they’re going to fix all of that and turn you into a monument of themselves.
That’s what artists do.
They take something shoddy which has potential and destroy it to recreate it in their image.
They have multiple persona disorder, and after they’ve touched you with their magic, so will you… one of the personas which they usually don’t have is that of a narcissist, but you… you will be given this one…
and you will be forced to accept it.
extract via Sado-Masochism and the Self by Andy White
Someone has to accept it… and it will never be them.
End of part two…
Part one is here (click here)…
There may be a part three where I actually make a list… but… I don’t know yet…