I’ve done a post on – Answering Questions About Narcissists – and one on – Answering Questions About Capricorn – so I thought I’d do one on something which both of those have in common – they’re people.
Now I know there are those who would prefer to think of Narcissists and Capricorns as not being people but some other type of being, like an evil demonic beast, because then they don’t have to feel bad about saying and thinking bad things about them and can keep their own self-image intact in its goodness, kindness, niceness while destroying someone else’s image. While calling for the extermination of all Narcissists or Capricorns they can still see themselves as empathic, compassionate, and caring souls.
Been there, done that…
(I’ve been both the person who has forgotten and the one who has been forgotten)
so I’m not being as judgmental as I sound (although I am judging myself for sounding judgmental which is why I found it necessary to say that I was not being as judgmental as I sound…
and I’m judging myself retrospectively for having been judgmental about those in my life who have made me want to exterminate them with words, thoughts and deed – it really sucks when someone makes you want to kill them, oh the fantasies which spring from that… and you end up seeing yourself as potential killer with all the uncomfortable extras that come with that – from being who you thought was a good person you go to being almost as bad as – maybe worse than because this is a choice and option in your case, you know right from wrong fairly clearly, even in your confused by anger and pain state, but for them, if they have a disorder they can’t help it and may not even realise they have a choice and an option – the person who inspired you to go down this dark alley into your shadows, into your inner underworld, deep into your dark side, the kind which would enjoy killing with bare hands because you want to feel them die, and might even do it again if it went well the first time… as in you got away with it).
I often get comments on here, particularly on my Narcissist posts, which… knock me over with praise. I get more of those than I do ones criticising me (for existing and daring to share myself when I should, according to those critics, shut up, disappear and perhaps die). I sometimes use the critical ones in a post because I find that to be a constructive use of negative space (I have no idea what that means, it just sounded rather good in my head as I wrote it)… it’s an offshoot of a method I use to deal with the shit narcissists say – analyse it, deconstruct it, see how it says more about them than it does about you, but don’t forget that your reaction to it says a lot about you and may give you insights which although uncomfortable may be liberating – freeing you from an old pattern, reflex, or just giving you an awareness that makes you that trendy thing known as ‘mindful’.
You may wonder why I don’t write posts inspired by positive comments… I’m wondering that right now and I may do just that. That’s a really good idea, thanks for giving it to me!
Many of you thank me for having shared what I have shared and for helping you during a difficult time.
Some of those people who make those praise-filled comments may get a bit annoyed with me when I reply, especially if in my reply I say – I did nothing, you did it all yourself.
Some of you have said – just accept the compliment!!!
However I’m right too – You did do it all yourself. You took what I shared and used it to make a difference for you. If you’re recovering from a relationship with a Narcissist it’s important for you to – stop thinking other people are doing stuff for you, that they have this power over you which they either use to help you or hurt you, and start seeing how much you do for yourself, how much you have the power over how they affect you and stuff like that.
Understanding how much personal power you have is… one of the blessings in the curse of getting involved with a Narcissist.
If you’re recovering from a relationship with a Capricorn – the same applies.
Ditto if you’re recovering from having to deal with a people.
(This is so me – and so say all of us!)
This is a far longer introduction than I intended to write. All I actually wanted to say in the intro was that I’m not claiming to be a people expert, at least not more so than all of us are because – we’re people. The questions which we have about people, they’re ones we can answer for ourselves simply by reflecting upon why we do what we do – that’s usually why other people are doing what they do (although not always).
Sometimes we’d rather not think that way if we’re not proud of ourselves for doing what we do or did. If we did something to someone else during a vengeful moment… and someone else does something similar to us… OUCH!
Whether they’re doing to us what we did to them or someone else… requires a little bit of analysis, both self and other analysis.
For instance – We ignored someone because they annoyed us and we wanted them to feel our wrath by wiping them off the face of the planet, as far as we’re concerned they don’t exist… Who!?! Don’t know them, don’t care to know them, I have dust specks on my clothing which are more important to me than they are… and I just wipe those off.
Maybe we were just making a point for a period of time, teaching them a lesson we hoped they would learn so they would be nicer to us or not so to us whatever it was which upset us, which wasn’t really as long as the consequences of our actions have have caused it to drag on and escalate into not what we intended or wanted form this… maybe it drags on for so long no one can recall why it started or really knows why it keeps going – it’s the relationship problem energiser bunny.
A great series of articles on this subject:
How to End the Fight You Can’t Remember Why You Started
The Dynamic That’s Poison for Any Couple
Intimate Relationship Dynamics III (it’s interesting how the last title of this series just couldn’t be bothered to follow the example of the others – that’s us after a long slogging battle with someone. It’s no longer the fight about who said what or was late, didn’t do that thing, etc, it’s now fight #3,597,048)
With neither person really winning or losing since both are locked in a constant limbo of fighting about nothing and everything. This is our relationship now… but we can’t accept it, we want it to be what it once was (which it most likely never truly was… the further we get away from the origins, the more the origin becomes idealised, fantasy, illusion, delusion).
With both sides trying to ignore each other… sometimes successfully….
This worked well for us (maybe, or maybe not because the person who was supposed to ‘feel our pain’ personally when we ignored them wasn’t bothered by it at all…) and we’re secretly pleased with ourselves for being so ‘evil’ – we’re not really evil and we’re really sad and sorry for being so cruel but they pushed us over the edge and we fell.
But now we’re paranoid, our arrogance has been subdued, our positive has just discovered the negative, our optimism is turning a bit cynical, we’ve just found out that our self-esteem has a price which we’re not so sure we wanted to pay… we didn’t expect this side effect. Does it mean that every time someone ignores us they’re doing it deliberately and to punish us, make us feel their pain for some wrong we’ve done to them (or which they’ve decided we’ve done to them).
…sometimes dismally failing because they poked us in a place which they know we can never ignore
(they know their ‘enemy’… they know us but not in the way that we wanted them to ‘know’ us,
and we should know our ‘enemy’ too…
is it really them or is it us?).
Before you started using ‘ignoring’ as a weapon you didn’t think of it as a weapon, that it could be used that way and by anyone who had access to it (which is everyone), and therefore didn’t think others might use it as one (perhaps you were one of those who was blissfully unaware that when someone in your life didn’t speak to you they were just on holiday or busy or something… you kind of forget about them anyway ’cause you were on holiday, or busy or something…
But after you used ‘ignoring’ as a weapon (and perhaps for a moment thought you had discovered something which no one else knew about or used), suddenly everyone is wielding that knife, that gun, that explosive device… and it’s pointed at you.
Before when people ignored you you just thought they hadn’t noticed you… how rude… or were being rude for others reasons. Maybe they were busy, shy, a typical introvert (which you maybe are too so you get it…), or maybe they’re… planning a surprise birthday party for you even though they don’t know your birthday (did they found out what it was because they care so much about you…), but it’s months away… and passed without them batting an eyelid (you were kind of upset about that, but pretended not to be).
Whatever… you just said whatever when people didn’t notice what and who (you) you thought they should notice…
(you told yourself something like this – told yourself it wasn’t about you and… were probably right – particularly if the people ignoring you are narcissists)
Since you’ve used ‘ignoring’ consciously and deliberately to make a point, sometimes a sharp one, with someone else… whether they noticed you not noticing them or not…
Now when people ignore you…
Where narcissists are concerned – Is their ‘Silent Treatment’ the same as our ‘No Contact’? Are they giving us the silent treatment because they think we’re the narcissist and thus their silent treatment is them doing no contact? Do they think our no contact with them is the silent treatment?
Where Capricorns are concerned – If a Capricorn is ignoring you… probably best not try to get them to stop ignoring you. Wait for the process to end naturally
(for more on Capricorns and their incredibly annoying to other people (and sometimes to each other and themselves) ways – Capricorn Truths and Capricorn and Scorpio Truths)
(image which is actually a gif via Capricorn and Scorpio Truths – this actually reminds me of me and my Virgo, but we’re playing a video game and arguing with each other about who is taking the whole ‘scorched earth’ tactic of gaming a bit too far and ruining things for the other player)
my intro went on and on… and never actually progressed out of an intro into the Q & A which I had imagined I was going to do and have a bit of fun doing…
guess I’ll stretch this out and do it my next post.
I’m going to get my questions from search terms in my blog stats as I did with the other Answering Questions posts… but I’m open to suggestions as well as shares of any other kind which connect to this idea.
Want to ask and answer a question and have me share you Q & A – share it in the comments below and specify that you want it shared in a post.
Have you written a post which is this but not my version of this – link me up in the comments.
Have a question which you want my sarcastic Capricorn narcissistic self (you didn’t think my insight into Narcissists and Capricorns came just from observing ‘other’ people who fall into those categories, did you? Albeit I have spent a lot of my life being in the audience of Narcissist theatre thanks to my parents. The Cappy stuff is just me navel-gazing and reading astrological interpretations about me – my sign… which is a narcissistic thing to do.) to answer, then ask and I’ll do my best (which could end up being my worst, especially if I’m being silly and serious at the same time) to answer.
This is a blog, a personal one, this is my blog… mess happens. Join in the fun, the chaos and occasional clarity of it… or don’t, just ignore me and it (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean, say no more).
(I grew up with this as well as with narcissists…)
What’s it like then… being a people?
Hmm…. I’m one of those commenters that you described. I think what I felt thankful for more than anything was feeling — maybe untrue or true — that someone out there perhaps empathized with my pain.
There is a very good you tube video out about the difference between sympathy and empathy. (I can’t remember if you posted it or of it was posted elsewhere) They give an example.
A person falls into a dark hole and says, “I’m in a dark place. I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know what to do.”
The empathic person climbs down into the hole and says, “Hey, I know how you feel. I’ve been there to. I’m glad you shared with me.”
The sympathetic person stays up on the surface and shouts into the hole, “Wow, it really sucks to be you. Well, at least you didn’t break any bones.”
They try to put a silver lining on everything, as if that’ll comfort us. It’s a case of good intentions with poor results. Now we feel bad for complaining at all about our problems to the “sympathizer”.
Sympathy makes us feel worse. When we complain about our problems, most people give their sympathy. They don’t empathize.
When I complained about my dealings with that narcissists, most of the people I talked to got this owlish look and just said, “Hm… that sounds rough. Yeah, she’s awful. Good thing you got off light.”
Sympathy. Sucks to be you.
One thing I really liked about reading your blog and some of the others was when I read it, I didn’t feel “sympathized” with, I felt empathized. Empathy can heal our hearts.
So I guess I was thanking you for at least feeling like you empathized with me.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
That’s a great analogy showing the difference between empathy and sympathy. Fairly certain it wasn’t me who posted that video you mention, might have been shared by someone else in a comment if it’s on my blog, sounds interesting – if you have the link I’d love to check it out.
I think the two things often get confused because there are similarities and overlaps between them, and people who have empathy are usually also sympathetic.
While I have a similar reaction to sympathy as you do – I don’t want it, it annoys me, I’d rather have someone offer a practical solution to whatever the problem is – I have finally begun to understand why some people like to receive and benefit from sympathy. For some people it provides reassurance, it strokes them, calms them. When someone says ‘poor you’ to them they feel cared for, nurtured by the caring, acknowledged in their suffering and it eases their suffering. They hear – sucks to be you – as a confirmation of how they’re feeling. In that moment they agree that it sucks to be them. They get comfort from someone else confirming this.
The sympathy/empathy issue is a great subject to explore.
I suck at giving sympathy and suck even more at receiving it – I’ve had quite a few arguments with friends about this. They are the ones who have helped me to understand the purpose and effect of sympathy. But even though I understand it better I still don’t want it and suck at giving it, but I will make a concerted effort to give it if someone needs it (like an aspirin for a headache, an antacid for indigestion, chicken soup for the soul with a cold) because they need it, it soothes them, and therefore it’s not about me and my issues with sympathy.
Empathy on the other hand I can do without effort. It comes naturally and is a pleasure to do.
When you shared your story with me I related to what you related. I’ve had similar experiences. I’ve met ‘amazing’ people only to later get burned by their shine and what hides behind the shiny exterior. I know the frustration of watching other people falling for a narcissist and thinking the narcissist is who they’re pretending to be. I know the challenges of seeing what you can now see and of trying to show that to others and of others rejecting it, you, and turn on you for it. I know what it’s like to tell your story and have people look at you as though you’re nuts, and placate you because they’re scared of this crazy person they perceive you as being.
Empathy can definitely be healing in many ways – it helps when dealing with the whole narcissist confusion conundrum to understand those who are still in thrall of the narcissist. You were once in their shoes, so you know why they can’t see what you now see. And you can understand why some people can’t deal with your story when you tell it, why they go all owlish and offer a sympathy as a biscuit to go with tea, because you’ve probably done that to others in the past when they tried to tell you a story that just made them sound crazy when telling it, but you probably didn’t realise you were doing it. Now that you’ve had this experience you will have greater empathy both for those going through what you’ve been through and for those who are in that place where you once were.
Painful experiences are deeply disturbing, but also deeply meaningful… when our heart breaks it opens wider 🙂
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Definitely. Thank you for the thoughtful response. Here is the link to the You Tube video on it:
Ah, it’s Brene Brown, she’s very good at putting things into perspective. Thank you for sharing that it’s an excellent look at empathy 🙂
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