Narcissism Bites: When a Narcissist Accuses You of Being a Narcissist
I was so convinced that today was Saturday that even all evidence proving it was Sunday seemed wrong…
(I’ve screwed myself over this weekend…)
At some point in your life, maybe from the very early stages of it, you’ll have a common experience which all human beings encounter, and may encounter often throughout life…
You’ll get accused of being or doing something which your accuser is being and doing.
Your accuser may be aware of what they’re being and doing, meaning they know they’re accusing you of being someone you are not and doing something you didn’t do, and that they are the real culprit…
but they may not be aware of what’s going on, they may genuinely believe their own hype… in spite of the mounting mountain of evidence against their version of events. They are thoroughly deluded and it suits them in all the variations of that theme.
If you have a clear conscience and view of yourself, and are 100% certain that you were not being and doing what you were accused of being and doing,
(perhaps you should patent, bottle and sell that formula because so many humans would cut off their arms and legs, pay a high price, to get some of that)
this accusation will strike you as odd and will make you look at the accuser in a manner which says – before you accuse me, take a look at yourself.
Of course you probably know that your accuser isn’t going to do that due to the fact that they’re accusing you of who and what they’re being and doing. They’re a serial projector, displacer, rejecter… hypocrite. They’re white as the driven snow and everyone else is painted black to make their white look whiter than white – that white is blinding!
And if they can’t see you clearly, see that you are not being who they have accused you of being and are not doing what they have accused you of doing… they’re never going to because they can’t for whatever personal reason they have for being and doing who they’re being and what they’re doing.
You’re a blank screen for their cinema (lacking) verite.
You’re a mirror wherein they get to see their ugly and decide it doesn’t belong to them, but if they see a beautiful reflection… that totally belongs to them, even if it doesn’t and belongs to you alone.
They have their reasons for accusing you, those go deep… it may not be the kind of deep which is spiritual, but who said all things deep needed to be spiritual?
There’s an anecdote which I like to share (anecdotes can be boring, perhaps this one is, but it’s one of those that broke open a suffocating eggshell for me) about being at a New Age seminar, and watching one of the enlightened gurus of that particular workshop have a very unspiritual moment behind the scenes. They had a tantrum about something that an enlightened person wouldn’t bother about – according to their I’m-an-enlightened-person teachings. They decimated their assistant… and their assistant put up with it. This enlightened spiritual guru would have lambasted anyone else for the very thing that they did, they did in such a way that you knew they did this all the effing time and thought it was okay for them to do it (just not okay if anyone else did it) because they were… an enlightened spiritual guru and that shit is stressful!
The way that the assistant reacted to being accused of being and doing what… was all in the mind of their accuser… reminded me of how I behaved with my narcissistic parents when in the same position. If you’ve been through the rigmarole more than thrice, the third time is the charm which lets you know that the normal way of dealing with someone hurling an unjust accusation at you, again and again without them ever changing their routine – it’s your fault, blah, blah, blah – isn’t going to work… ever.
Refuting and refusing their accusation only seems to empower them and disempower you… so, eff it, I’ll plead Mea Culpa and skip the long tedious part where they lecture me about how every fault and flaw in their universe is caused by my existence.
My relationship with your father was perfect until you came along – my mother would tell me. She would also tell me that – I had you to save the failing relationship I had with your father (but you failed to live up to my miracle cure expectations for you). You were conceived as a means to stop us from being selfish – that magical solution worked… not!
Which version of my birth is true? Neither and both – where narcissists are concerned, everything is both true and false. It depends on the moment and whatever they’re building in that moment. What they’re building is a house of cards – they use glue to keep the cards together, stacked impossibly high (but they bought cheap glue because they would never be stupid enough to buy glue that was more expensive and actually glued stuff).
Usually when we’re accused of being and/or doing who we are not and what we have not, our natural proclivity is to defend ourselves. To attack the attack with an – I’m innocent – line of defense. This rarely if ever works if you’re dealing with a narcissist (they’re more stubborn about your guilt than you will ever be about your innocence), and usually only causes the accuser to be more convinced that you’re guilty.
Prisons are full of innocent people, right?
And if you don’t have a clear conscience (not necessarily because you did anything wrong, perhaps because you did do a little wrong or maybe you feel guilty all the time just for being and doing anything…) because your view of yourself is blurry, the boundaries aren’t defined enough (in this particular scenario, or maybe in all scenarios), not yet anyway, you’re still figuring yourself out (and it’s taking longer than you hoped it would) or you’re open to variables and that openness (is a wonderful ability to have) is causing problems… then you’re screwed when it comes to being accused by a narcissist of being a narcissist, because you’ll pause to wonder and during that pause they’ve moved all the furniture in the room you’re in, and now it’s a jail cell.
During that infinitesimal pause you took to self-reflect after an accusation, as any normal non-narcissist human would do, wondering if perhaps you were being a bit narcissistic…
The narcissist has taken your pause to be confirmation of their delusion. If you hadn’t paused… that would still work as confirmation for their delusion. You can’t win this battle because you have no say in it, it’s all going on in the ‘special’ mind of the narcissist.
If a narcissist accuses you of being a narcissist:
- This is normal for narcissists. They’re always a quick draw McGraw when it comes to applying labels to people. One minute you’re labeled as a hero and before your eyes naturally blink you’re a villain. Either way they’re convinced of the truth of their accusation – and being told you’re a hero by a narcissist is an accusation (they hate you for it with the same intensity they love you for it – love/hate is the same thing for them, hate is actually a little bit more important – if they hate you they love you all the more). If you think that them thinking you’re a villain is bad… remember what a burden being a hero for them was. Sure it felt awesome being considered a hero, how special you felt… but how many times can you save them from themselves before they prove that you’ll eventually fail and fail and fail… some hero you turned out to be!
- This might not be as bad as it seems. You’ve actually got more power for a narcissist if they see you as a villain. If a narcissist is scared of you, that’s a good thing even if for you anyone being scared of you makes you very uncomfortable.
- Don’t try to reason with them using logic. Your logic is illogical to them, and they’ll back that up with ‘science’ – narcissists love science… fiction. Arguing with a narcissist is like arguing with quicksand once you’re in it and sinking.
- They’ve done more research online than you have on Narcissists, they have the same access which you have to the same info but they’re more greedy about it. They’re more obsessed with narcissists than you ever will be. And the way they do the same research you do is not in the same manner – for them everything they read is a weapon against others. They’re the only non-narcissist in a world full of narcissists, and they’ve got so much ‘proof’ that it’ll tie you up in knots trying to point out that their proof is flawed… if they think you think they’re a narcissist… they might think that’s a good thing as you’ll be as obsessed with them as they are (and will be so obsessed with them you’ll ignore yourself – result!)
- If a narcissist accuses you of being a narcissist – they’re giving you a loophole through which you can escape their sticky clutches. Question is – Do you want to escape them more than you want to prove who you are not?
Awhile back (yes, another anecdote) I had someone comment on my blog to the point where my blog stats rated them as a top commentor.
They first commented to share their story because I’d shared my story, as many people do. Someone opens a door for us… we step inside.
Their story was extremely dramatic, more than mine which really isn’t that dramatic (in spite of my parents view of it, and how I sometimes feel about it). They had grown up in an abusive family, but that was just a tangent to their main story. They were in a relationship with someone they had identified as a narcissist, not just an ordinary narcissist but a malignant one. The relationship was abusive, but they stressed how subtle the abuse was – they saw it but no one else could see it, and they had to put up with it because… lots of reasons.
That’s a common experience where narcissistic abuse is concerned (a narcissist would know this).
This abuser was a Machiavelli (more than Machiavelli was), and they were terrified both by their attraction to this persona and their repulsion. They were caught in an impossible situation and screamed for help (a bit like Penelope Pitstop).
We discussed this story over the course of many comments, and they received support from me (as best as I can do that sort of thing without wondering if I’m being had by a covert narcissist – are you my mother?, and also I suck at sympathy. Empathy I can do but it’s not always what people expect of empathy) and other commentors (who did it much better than I did).
This person had our attention.
Then they disappeared for a time.
When they came back their story had changed – their abuser was… no longer an abuser but the only person who understood them, and they had a very special relationship with them which was far better than their relationship with others.
My alarm bells had been ringing long before this moment. There were quite a few anomalies… things said which struck me as being the sort of thing a narcissist would say which a non-narcissist would never say…
(they kept asking about my blog stats and seemed more interested in them than I was, and kept referring to their comments as blog posts inferring that they were blogging on my blog – I had a case of narcissistic hackles rising about that, which often happens to me when in the presence of a narcissist, but maybe that was just me being a bit possessive – this is mine, MINE, MINE!!!!… wasn’t it?
Old issues being triggered… my mother was always appropriating my stuff as hers, and I really haven’t gotten over that kind of invasion. She once shared her new passion – poetry – with me. She hated poetry but suddenly she was writing it. Her poems were basically rewritten versions of the poems I’d written which I’d stupidly shared with her).
But… you never know, especially online.
It was actually while observing this commentor’s interaction with another commentor that… the alarm bells became clearer and the red flags showed their colour.
It was in a simple question asked by one and ignored by the other that the sound and colour was clearest.
A narcissist often gets exposed by their inability to deal with the simplest of things.
The question – Why? Why are you doing this or that?
Non-narcissists have no problem with this, and may even welcome a why even if it pokes… in fact they may long for those moments which provoke self-reflection.
Narcissists will react as though they’re a boil which you’ve lanced when you ask them to self-reflect. The puss which spews out… isn’t self-reflective.
They crave complications, and run like a vampire from garlic (in a schlocky horror film) if you ask them for a simple answer to a simple question about themselves.
But I still deliberated. It’s not easy to decide that someone you know (especially casually… so you don’t really know them) is a narcissist. It’s one of the hardest conclusions you may come to in the relationship arena.
But for narcissists… accusing someone else of being a narcissist is a piece of piss. Let the witch hunt games begin!
I was struck recently while indulging in a bit of celebrity gossip by what Jennifer Garner said about Ben Affleck – she said that she didn’t want anyone hating him on her behalf, as she didn’t need that kind of support, and she didn’t hate him, in fact she admires him, just not all of him. He made some very human mistakes, but how they affect his relationship with her is no one’s business but her own. She didn’t want help dealing with it.
In a world where we can use social media to wage our wars and find allies to help us attack someone… it’s really refreshing to hear someone say – this war, if it is one at all, is private. I’ll deal with this on my own, thank you.
If a narcissist (and you’re certain this person is one) has accused you of being a narcissist (and you’re certain you’re not one)…
Stop before you react.
Pause for thought.
Is this a battle worth fighting,
or are you actually better off stepping out of it, even it it means accepting an accusation by tacit consent, shrugging off the accusation, and letting them live in their folly without you participating in it?
Do you need to fight this battle for yourself or are you just fighting it out of reactionary habit. They started it and so you’ll fight… but you have no real sense of commitment to it, not like they do.
Of course, where narcissists are concerned, nothing is ever simple…
and once they start something they never back down, unless they disappear (that’s their version of backing down, but they still claim a win from doing it).
Chances are if they accuse you of being or doing something, of being a narcissist and doing narcissist stuff…
They will recruit others to help them confirm this accusation.
That’s where they really get us and where we lose all sense of perspective.
Even intelligent empathy flies out the window as we find ourselves unable to understand why others would allow themselves to get caught up in the delusions of a narcissist…
Yeah, yeah, yeah… we got caught up in their delusions, we may have even witch-hunted the people they told us had hurt them, we may even have believed that everyone except them was a narcissist (and of course we were also an exception at the time while we were in their you’re a hero special forces…)
Especially karma of the narcissistic kind.
But you will survive this and come out stronger, wiser… and with more empathy for the plight of being human.
Real empathy requires self-compassion…others eff up, you understand this, you eff up like others do, you understand this.
If a narcissist accuses you of being a narcissist…
Time to go within and sort things out there, forget trying to sort them out elsewhere…. especially on the territory which the narcissist inhabits. They didn’t accuse you of being a narcissist after a long, hard, troublesome ride through the land of decisions thought out at length. They didn’t quiver at their accusation… they didn’t wish they weren’t making it.
They now have a whole new drama and identity because of it – this shit is awesome!
If you think your accuser should take a look at themselves before accusing you – remember you’re an accuser too, even if yours is justified.
I’m a do me, you do you…